Fruits of My Labors

Those of you who have been following my blog posts recall my recent trip to Los Angeles, and my subsequent complaining about jet lag! But nothing keeps me grounded for long, and I was soon in the air again, headed for San Jose, Costa Rica.  The city is distinguished by its Spanish colonial architecture.  The city was great but then I went to the beaches, combing the shores of the Pacific for mementoes. I wasn’t looking so much for seashells this time, but lava rocks, as I scavenged the black sands.

Yes, black sands, imbued with their characteristic hue from volcanic ash and dark stones ground into billions of grains by tide and time. While the silver-white shores of Fort Myers Beach are beautiful, the uniqueness of their ebony West Coast counterparts should be experienced, with one’s own eyes and bare feet. And as always, the ocean is sublime. Jet lag fades after a couple of days, but special places always remain in your heart.

This trip was not entirely focused on rest and recreation. The secondary purpose of my journey was kind of like a delicious scientific experiment, involving exotic tropical fruits. I have a passion for fruit (there may be a pun!) which extends beyond merely eating. Of course I like to sample the “specimens,” but I am drawn to their shapes, sizes, colors and their nutritional and medicinal value. I am mulling over the idea of starting a new blog on tropical fruit, called . . . Well, just wait and see!

My favorite fruit is the cherimoya, or soursop, which looks strange but tastes a lot better! While native to South America, cherimoyas have been successfully grown in other tropical locales, among them one of the vacation rental units at my business in Fort Myers Beach! Some areas in California have also been conducive to growing cherimoyas. Purchasing this fruit in the United States is very expensive, but in its natural environment the cherimoya grows like grass! During my stay in Costa Rica I was able to buy fresh cherimoyas very cheap, as well as plenty of other fruits.

Some studies suggest that cherimoyas have anti-carcinogenic properties and that tea from their leaves has other health benefits. Others claim that cherimoyas are potent aphrodisiacs. I personally agree with Mark Twain, who said that the cherimoya was “the most delicious fruit known to man.” The cherimoya is nicknamed “the custard apple.”

I would be remiss not to mention some of the other tropical fruits that I love: coconuts, granadillas, maracuya passion fruit, lychees, pineapples, papayas, guavas, and mangoes. Like cherimoyas, these fruits have numerous reputed uses and benefits that go way beyond mere gastronomy. I am still in the process of exploring and discovering what this field has in store. This promises to be a fascinating and tasty undertaking.