RECIPES WITH FOODS CURRENTLY IN SEASON:
Clementine & Mandarin: Recipe Coming Soon
Pomelo: Recipe Coming Soon
Persimmon: Persimmon (“Lotos”) Smoothie
CLEMENTINE & MANDARIN: It is now December and the height of amazing clementine and mandarin season. I am not sure I have tasted better clementines and mandarins anywhere else in the world. If you are like me, you may have often wondered what the difference is between these two types of orange goodies. Clementines are a type of mandarin. Mandarins have been grown in China for 2000 years, where they were (supposedly) actually deemed a fruit only suitable for the upper echelons of society. For this reason (apparently) they were only exported to Europe in the 1900s. Clementines are usually smaller, sweeter, and have fewer seeds to mandarins. They also have a very thin easily peeled skin. When these are in season in Cyprus, they are some of the tastiest I have eaten. It makes me understand why they would have been a fruit only suitable for high society. I remember trying one for the first time I spent a Christmas in Cyprus. I brought my bathing suit. Some books. And spent most of my time gorging on clementines, mandarins and drinking nescafe. I don’t suppose much has changed. You can find fresh clementines and mandarins just about everywhere. And they are literally falling off trees at the moment.
POMELO: It is also pomelo season. You can tell a pomelo tree from the others, because as the pomelos ripen, the branches hang lower and lower, as if they were about to snap. It is a tree carrying bowling ball sized fruit. A pomelo is a large citrus fruit that grows throughout Southeast Asia and lots of islands in the South Pacific, including Tahiti and Fiji. Did you know that it is one of the “parents” of the common grapefruit? In fact, grapefruits are a hybrid made by crossing a pomelo with an orange – which I think is an interesting fact. The pomelo is often used in Asian cuisine. In Cyprus it is more commonly enjoyed just on its own, as an after-meal fruit. When I was in Thailand, I used to stop by a grocery store on my way home – where they would peel a pomelo for you – and take home a whole fully peeled pomelo. I would then sit and catch up on my emails and devour the whole thing. There are obviously lots different ways to enjoy pomelo, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend my feast technique. I will write some of these up as the website develops.
OLIVE: It is still olive season, which runs until about the end of December. Now that the olives are ripe, it is time to make olive oil. The last couple of weeks I have been posting articles on how to make olive oil. You can find these here and here. There is still a third article to come in the series “Olive Oil Explained”, which will explain a bit more about the different types of olive oil. You can find this here.
PERSIMMON (“LOTOS”): It is persimmon season in Cyprus. This is probably the last month when they are in season. An interesting fact about the persimmon is that it is technically a berry not a fruit! (A gigantic berry!) They are rich in Vitamins A, B and C. They are a deep orange, waxy fruit which is similar to a tomato in shape. Persimmons which have dark-colored flesh are always sweet and non-astringent and should be eaten before they become too soft. Varieties with light-colored flesh have astringent taste until they soften. The astringent taste is due to the presence of a large amount of tannin, the same substance found in tea. It is said that persimmons have laxative and diuretic properties. They are a delicious sweet fruit – reminding me a bit of a combination of mango and plum. They are pleasant to enjoy on their own, once you have peeled the orange skin, but I believe they make for an even better ingredient in smoothies – particularly with banana and coconut. That’s it for this month in the village, but I thought I would leave you with a couple of pretty shots from my visit:
…and lastly, but not least, when visiting the village for your fresh fruits and vegetables, never forget to stop at the tavern on the way home!