Monstera deliciosa is a flowering plant native to tropical rainforests. It has been in-troduced to many tropical areas, including Hawai’i, and has become mildly invasive. The fruit of Monstera deliciosa grows up to 12” long and 2” in diameter, and looks like an ear of corn covered with hexagonal shaped green scales. As the fruit ripens, these scales fall off releasing a strong, sweet scent reminiscent of pineapple or ba-nana. The fruit is considered edible and safe for humans, but make sure you eat it ripe; unripe monstera fruits contain needle-like, crystalline structures can irritate the mouth and throat.
HOW DO YOU EAT IT?
The fruit is deemed ripe when the first scales begin to lift up and a sweet odor is exuded. The ripening process can be accelerated by placing the fruit in a paper bag and setting it aside until the scales begin to pop off. The remaining scales can be brushed away to reveal the edible flesh underneath. The flesh, which is similar to pineapple in texture, can be cut away from the core and eaten. Monstera has a fruity taste similar to jackfruit and pineapple.
WRITTEN BY DANIA NOVACK-KATZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELLE T.M. LEE
WHAT IS IT?
Hops are the flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus. They are used as a flavoring and stability agent in making beer, to which they add a bitter, zesty, or citric flavor. They also find use in a variety of other beverages and herbal medicines. The hop plant is a vigorous, climbing perennial, usually trained to grow up vines in fields commercially known as “hop gardens.” Many different varieties of hops are grown around the world, with different types being used for particular styles of beer.
HOW DO YOU EAT IT?
Hops play an important role in balancing the sweetness of malt with their natural bitterness, and contribute a variety of desirable flavors and aromas. In addition to adding flavor to beer, hops are also brewed for their antibacterial effect over less desirable microorganisms.
WHAT IS IT? The açaí berry, a small, round, black-purple drupe about 1” in size, looks similar to a grape, but smaller and with less pulp. It grows on a palm that can produce up to 900 fruits at a time. Ripe fruit is usually a deep purple color, though some va-rieties of açaí can be green. Underneath the skin, a thin layer of pulp surrounds a single large seed about ½” in diameter. The seed makes up about 80% of the fruit. Açaí palm trees typically yield two crops a year and are harvested during the dry season, between July and December. Apart from the use of its fruit for food or beverage, the açaí palm has other commercial applications. Leaves may be made into hats, mats, baskets, brooms and roof thatch for homes, and the trunk wood, resistant to pests, can be used for building construction. Açaí seeds can be ground for livestock feed or used as a component in organic soil. The seeds are a source of polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids.
HOW DO YOU EAT IT? In the general consumer market, açaí is sold as frozen pulp, juice, or the ever popular açaí bowl topped with fresh fruit, nuts and other local toppings.
WRITTEN BY MICHELLE T.M. LEE PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIEKO HIROKOSH
Buddha’s Hand resembles a hand in prayer, unlike any other citron varieties the fruit’s “fingers” contain only the white pith part of the fruit and sometimes a small amount of acidic pulp, but many of the fruit are completely juiceless and some are seedless. The shrub or small tree has long, irregular branches covered in thorns. Its large, oblong leaves are pale green with white flowers that are tinted purplish from the outside and grow in fragrant clusters.
The fruit may be given as a religious offering. According to tradition, one prefers the “fingers” of the fruit to be in a po-sition where they resemble a closed rather than open hand, as closed hands symbolize the act of prayer. In China, the Buddha’s Hand fruit is a symbol of happiness, longevity and good fortune.
HOW DO YOU EAT IT?
Unlike other citrus fruits, most varieties of the Buddha’s Hand fruit contain no pulp or juice. Though known mainly for its “exquisite form and aroma”, the Buddha’s Hand fruit can also be utilized as a zest in desserts, savory dishes and cocktails. We suggest making candied strips, infuse in booze, sugar or salt or simple use it as a table décor, it will spark converstion.
The rollinia tree originated on the banks of the Amazon, and thrives today in Hawaii’s warm temperatures and nutrient-rich soil. The fruit it bears—aptly-named Rollinia deliciosa—is gaining popularity at farmers’ markets and on the gastronomy scene.
Resembling a mythical dragon egg, rollinia is sweet and tangy on the palate, with a pudding-like consistency. While the scaly exterior may look tough, the fruit is extremely delicate.
To eat, cut in half from the stem down. Spoon the soft, white flesh out around the core and discard the black seeds and skin. The creamy texture makes it an ideal addition to smoothies and packs in lots of protein. For the more ambitious, whip up a rollinia soufflé or take a cue from its native Brazil, where it is fermented for wine.
WRITTEN BY RYAN BURDEN PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELLE T.M. LEE
After maturing on the tree for 12 months, coconuts change color to grey/brown before falling from the tree. Given adequate moisture, they sprout in one to four months.
Split a sprouted coconut in half using a machete or axe and you’ll fi nd a white, spongy center, sometimes referred to as a “coconut apple” or “queen’s bread.”
The edges of this living embryo are rich in enzymes and coated with pure, unadulterated coconut oil. This oil is the rich, healthy fat that the mother tree has gifted the new seedling to give it the energy needed to put down its fi rst roots and create its fi rst few sets of leaves.
Delicious and delicate, this jungle snack is something everyone should try at least once. And since sprouted coconuts are in reality baby trees, it is a snack best eaten with utmost reverence and appreciation.
In closing there is a responsibility when eating and enjoying a sprouted coconut. You take the life of a coconut tree that could have the potential to feed a village. So when eating one sprouted coconut be sure to also plant a coconut tree.
Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated species in the Moringa genus, which is the only genus in the family Moringaceae. English common names include: moringa, drumstick tree (from the appearance of the long, slender, triangular seed-pods), horseradish tree (from the taste of the roots, which resembles horseradish), ben oil tree, or benzoil tree (from the oil which is derived from the seeds). It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree, native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern In-dia, and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seedpods and leaves are used as vegeta-bles. It can also be used for water purifi cation and hand washing, and is sometimes used in herbal medicine. Many experts say that consuming the leaves raw, cooked or pre-pared as a tea has many health benefi ts.
“Meli Kalima,” the Hawaiian translation for “Honey Cream,” aptly describes the unique flavor and characteristics of this pineapple vari-ety grown at Frankie’s Nursery in Waimanalo, Oahu. “Meli” describes the fruit’s rich sweetness and “Kalima” the flesh color and its dense, creamy texture. Grown exclusively at this one location, Meli Kalima is a hybrid with a patent pending. Sold without the crown (top) to ensure it can only be propagated by Frankie’s Nursery.
Star Fruit: Averrhoa Carambola is a species of tree native to Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
This popular winter fruit is also cultivated throughout non-indigenous tropical areas. The fruit 2” to 6” in length and oval in shape has five or more distinctive ridges running down the side. The skin is thin, waxy and smooth and turns yellow when ripe. When sliced in cross sections it resembles a star, hence it’s name.
The entire fruit is edible. It can be eaten raw or juiced. It can also be dehydrated and is most often used as edible décor as in fruit salads or in a drink.
Star Fruit contains caraboxin and oxalic acid which are harmful to individuals suffering from any type of kidney disease.
Native to the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, Australia and India, this evergreen tree is famous for both its foul smell and its medicinal properties. A member of the coffee family, it has historically been used to dye textiles yellow or red (purplish brown).
Noni is one of the most-used Hawaiian plant medicines and in Samoan cultures all parts of the plant are used, not just the fruit. Though medicinal benefits have yet to be fully substantiated in clinical trials, it is believed that drinking Noni juice as well as using other parts of the tree can help in the alleviation of the following ailments, to name a few: colds, flu, diabetes, anxiety, cancer, inflammation, hypertension and depression.
Because of its wide-spread popularity, Noni juice can be found in most grocery stores in Hawai‘i and the trees are everywhere. Juice is best drunk when combined with a sweet fruit to help with the smell.
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