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Perfectly Homemade Apple Pie

I recently visited my parents in upstate NY during apple season. They have more than 20 unknown varieties of cute apple trees with little tart apples of varying sizes, shapes and tastes. Adam was visiting with me and begggggged me to make apple pie. Then I made 4 more. This pie recipe is classic, really good and doesn’t involve a lot of processed ingredients. In my crust recipe I cut the butter with 50% coconut oil. Obviously you could leave out the coconut oil and use all very cold butter and this recipe should work great. I encourage people to try using just coconut oil for the crust. I haven’t been that adventurous yet.

My mom had this cute apple peeler and corer, it was definitely a time saver with the super small apples on their farm.

Recipe for the Apple Pie

Yield: 1 apple pie in 9” inch diameter pie pan, with a top and bottom crust

Equipment: Pie pan, food processor

Ingredients for the pie crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups white flour (plus another cup or so for rolling out the dough)
  • 1/2 cups salted butter ice cold, chopped (plus another tablespoon or two for dabbing under the top pie crust.
  • 1/2 cup solid coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp or less salt
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water or less
  • 1 egg beaten (for the egg wash)

Steps for the pie crust:

  1. Mix cold butter and coconut oil in food processor with flour. I roughly chop frozen butter and flash freeze the coconut oil first. Pulse the mixture for 2 -3 seconds at a time until it becomes crumbly. Maybe about 30-40 pulses. You want there to be small chunks of butter and coconut oil.
  2. Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl and add the icy water teaspoon or so at a time, mixing gently with fork until the dough becomes uniformly moist but not sticky.
  3. Stick your hands into ice cold water and dry them, gently mold dough into a ball (mixture will be crumbly, be patient and gentle). Then wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Apple Pie Filling Recipe

Ingredients for the apple pie filling:

  • 3-4 cups sliced thin apples that are cored and peeled.
  • 1/4-1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour
  • Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Steps for rolling out the pie dough:

  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm for a few minutes  (2-5).
  2. Set up a well floured surface to roll the dough and flour the rolling pin. To make it easier for yourself, is this is your first time in a while with pie dough, you can lay a piece of wax paper down and flour that.
  3. Separate the dough into two, one part should have a little more dough for the bottom of the pan.
  4.  Roll the dough out gently for a first time, it will crack a lot and be very crumbly. After a couple of rolls, turn it into a ball again and then roll it out again on the wax paper. Adding more flour on the wax paper and the rolling pin as necessary. Be careful not to warm the dough with your hands too much. Handle as little as necessary. Remember you want chunks of butter and coconut oil to make the pie crust flaky. Try to roll it out until it at least a ½ in more than the diameter of your pie plate when it is upside down. Add more flour as necessary during the rolling making sure the bottom of the dough isn’t sticking too much. You can turn it over a few times during this process. Then fold in half and gently place into pie pan. Set aside in the fridge
  5. Repeat steps for the top of the pie crust. When finished place on a plate in the fridge and For the bottom of the pie pan, roll out half of the dough . Roll it out until it looks at least a 1/2 inch – 1 inch more than the diameter of the bottom of your pie pan. Place carefully in pie pan. Roll out the second half for the top of the pie.
  6. Add the juice of 1 or 2 lemons to a large mixing bowl (discard seeds).
  7. Wash, core and slice the apples, tossing them in lemon juice as you add them to a bowl.
  8. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup and gently toss until the apples are evenly coated.
  9.  After your bottom crust is in place, put the apples carefully in the pie pan, adding a little flour     as you go. Right before you put the pie top on, add small dabs or little pinches of butter under the top of the crust.
  10. Make a few slits in the dough, and gently wash with beaten egg.

    7. Bake in preheated oven at 350° F for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

apple pie recipe katies tropical kitchen

apple pie katie's tropical kitchen

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Passionfruit is beloved for its sweet and tart tropical taste

Lilikoi or passionfruit is one of the most popular and most common fruits here in Hawaii. Even though a lot of people have a passionfruit vine in their backyard, these fruits never grow old in the hearts of tropical residents and guests. They also grow subtropical climates too (there are slightly different varieties). Still, in California they are not very common where these little fruits with long shelf lives sell for $20 a pound in specialty store. I’ve never bought one in 7 years of living in Hawaii.

Sometimes you or your friend’s vine is bumping sometimes it’s not. Right now, November 2017 our vines are dropping over 20 fruits a day. If you’d like to buy some fresh passion fruits (Big Island only) or passionfruit seeds online please contact me and check out our farm website, www.ainaexotics.com.

Detailed information on Passionfruit

Latin Name and family: Passiflora Edulis And Passiflora Edulis F. Flavicarpa (tropical)

Other names: maracuyá parcha in Spanish , grenadille or fruit de la passion in French, maracujá in Portuguese, and lilikoʻi in Hawaiian.

In Hawaii there are various varieties of passionfruit that are somewhat common, and always called lilikoi. Purple Lilikoi and Yellow or Common Lilikoi are both Passiflora Edulis. However things called lilikoi in Hawaii are a different species. For example,  Jamaican Lilikoi is Passiflora laurifolia (it has a different shape, milder taste and aroma and a soft outer skin). And Giant lilikoi or Giant granadilla, is Passiflora quadrangular is.

Jamaican Lilikoi
Giant Lilikoi

Characteristics of the passion fruit’s fruit: 

The fruit is almost round or ovoid, and it is usually 1-1/2 to 3 inches wide. It has a tough, pithy rind that is smooth and waxy. Inside, the aromatic pulp is like membranous sacs containing orange-colored, pulpy juice. One passion fruit can have more than 200 small, hard, and dark seeds. The yellow variety of passionfruit has generally larger fruit than the purple.

Yellow or Common Lilikoi (Passionfruit)

Passionfruit Taste and Culinary Uses:

Passionfruit has a characteristically sweet and tart, aromatic, tropical flavor.  The purple variety is less acid and less tart and contains more juice than the yellow variety. It can be eaten in so many ways. In Hawaii lilikoi is a very common flavoring. Most often you see lilikoi syrup (for pancakes or shaved ice), lilikoi butter, lilikoi cocktails, passion flavored iced-teas. Many people use it in desserts like lilikoi frosting, glaze, lilikoi flavored cheesecake, mocha, or ice cream. Passionfruit pulp can be frozen in ice cube trays overnight and then stored in the freezer for a quick addition to a smoothie. Papaya is even better with fresh lilikoi pulp than with lime. We’ve also really enjoyed eating Rollinia (Rollinia deliciosa) pulp with fresh passionfruit pulp. Chef’s use the tart taste for marinades and other accompaniments to main dishes.

Check out these recipes which incorporate passionfruit: green smoothie love, guava passionfruit green smoothie, fresh papaya and passionfruit, oat flour banana bread with passionfruit cream cheese frosting

Passiflora edilus Harvest and Storage

Passionfruit ripens on the vine in 80-90 days after pollination. They change from green to yellow, orange or purple.  They then fall to the ground and their hard outer shell protects their integrity. Then it is best to wash, dry and store them at room temperature where they may last up to 2-3 weeks. They will become crinkly, but as long as they don’t mold or get too soft they are still delicious and edible and sometimes even more sweet. Refrigeration may prolong life if they are completely ripened and have sat at room temperature a few days after falling from the vine.

This is a unripe purple lilikoi fruit hanging from a vine in on our farm

Health benefits of Passionfruit:

The pulp of the raw passion fruit is 73% water, 22% carbohydrates, 2% protein and 0.7% fat. In 100 gram serving, one can find 36% daily value (DV) of Vitamin C, which helps it’s anti-oxidant properties. Lilikoi also has 42% dietary fiber in one 100 gram serving, this helps to strengthen and regulate your digestive system and relieve or prevent constipation. Also, Passion fruit is rich in Vitamin A and Carotenoids, which help with eyesight. Furthermore, it contains a lot of potassium, which helps reduce blood pressure and increase circulation. In addition, the oil of the passion fruit flower and seeds is medicinal used as an emollient, anti-inflammatory, and to help aid sleep. One can make a fresh tea from the flowers to help with insomnia.

Growth patterns of Passiflora edulis:

Passiflora edilus is a fast growing vigorous vine. Not a tree! It grows best in tropical and subtropical climates. These plants like full sun, except in extremely hot climates where partial shade is ok. Passionfruit can grow in many soil types but it prefers light to heavy sandy loams with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. They have shallow roots, but extensive roots so heavy mulching is preferable.

In the United States Passiflora edulis grows well in parts of California and Florida and Hawaii. The vine can extend 15 to 20 ft. per year and the life of a vine is usually 5-7 years, with productivity declining in the later years. The flowers are fragrant and 2-3 inches wide. They are best pollinated by carpenter bees, but honey bees do ok and wind is also a suitable method of pollination.

This picture shows the passionfruit vine has completely taken over one of our invasive trees to use as a trellis

For planting, fresh seeds are best and germination occurs usually in 10-20 days. However, once the pulp is rinsed from the seeds and the seeds are dried they start go dormant. Once they are dormant they take a long time to germinate or special practices to break the dormancy, like using fine sandpaper or soaking in citrus juice. Propagation can also done by cuttings with 3-4 nodes or by grafting. Pruning not only helps keep the vine from spreading too much, some believe it also produces more vigorous growth which will result in a larger harvest. They require regular watering, with really good drainage.

Resources/Further Reading

  1. http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/growing-passionfruit.html
  2. https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/passionfruit.html
  3. Morton, Julia F. Fruits of Warm Climates. Creative Resources Systems, Inc. 1987. pp. 320-328.
  4. Ortho Books. All About Citrus and Subtropical Fruits. Chevron Chemical Co. 1985. pp. 66-68.
  5. Popenoe, Wilson. Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits. Hafner Press. 1974. Facsimile of the 1920 edition. pp. 241-245.
  6. Samson, J. A. Tropical Fruits. 2nd ed. Longman Scientific and Technical. 1986. pp. 2291-295.
  7. Vanderplank, John. Passion Flowers and Passion Fruit. MIT Press.1991. pp. 85-88.
  8. http://oilhealthbenefits.com/maracuja-oil/
  9. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/passion-fruit.html

 

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Gluten-free Salmon burger – Salmon Croquettes

salmon burger

This is the first salmon burger recipe that I have felt confident posting. Canned Wild Alaskan salmon is a staple in our house. It is relatively inexpensive, especially when bought in bulk at wholesale stores like Costco. We get 6, 6oz cans for about $13. That’s 36 ounces, 2.25 pounds, equalling less than $6 a pound for wild salmon.  It is already cooked and it is easy to incorporate in quick meals like my salmon salad recipe, a quick pasta or mac and cheese, or even my fried rice dish. But we get sick of all those options so every once in a while I have to make salmon burgers, or salmon croquettes as Adam likes to call them.

Health Benefits of Wild Salmon

I like including Wild Alaskan salmon in my monthly diet. Often, the frozen fillets at the store are disappointing and the smoked salmon packages are severely overpriced here in Hawaii. Wild Salmon has so many amazing health benefits. Salmon is high in omega-3s and Vitamin D,  Vitamin B12 and B3, and B6.  It is high in selenium, a great source of protein, and a good source of potassium. Wild Alaskan Salmon is also low in mercury and it has less exposure to bisphenals and heavy metals. Moreover, the pink rosy pigment in salmon is  an phyto-chemical or  carotenoid, called astaxanthin. Studies in animals show that Astaxanthin acts as a antioxidant and reduces inflammation and tissue damage.

Is the Burger a Croquette?

This recipe isn’t for a plain, gooey, salmon burger. Instead this salmon creation is breaded and shallow fried in healthy oils. My recipe also is not traditional for either the salmon burger category or the salmon croquette category. Potato is one of the main ingredients in croquette recipes across cultures. Chefs mix mashed potatoes with poultry, meat or fish, adding onions, herbs, and milk or eggs, etc. Then they bread and deep fry the croquettes or patties.

salmon croquettes katies tropical kitchen

My salmon croquette recipe skips the potato (although you could try adding potato and cut out adding the breadcrumbs into the mixture). Instead of potato, this croquette recipe uses egg and just a little breadcrumbs inside the mixture.  Then they are coated in breadcrumbs before giving them a solid shallow fry in olive oil or coconut oil.

Like many of my recipes this one is simple, easily made with several ingredients that you are likely to have on tap. The salmon burgers are flexible, you can leave out the carrots, add red pepper, chop fresh herbs etc. Oh, of course they are also gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce and gluten-free breadcrumbs.

salmon burger recipe katies tropical kitchen

Recipe for Gluten-free Salmon Burger

yield: about 8 burgers about 3 inches diameter by ½ inch thick

special equipment: maybe a blender for making your breadcrumbs

Ingredients:

  • olive oil or refined coconut oil for sauté and pan-fry
  • 2 cans of salmon (Wild Alaskan, boneless and skinless is preferred), drained
  • 2 stalks celery chopped fine
  • ½ large carrot (or 1 small carrot) chopped fine
  • 1 small onion chopped fine
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped garlic (2-4 cloves)
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped fine
  • 2 eggs beaten lightly
  • 1 large pinch of salt (½ teaspoon or so)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
  • ½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs for the mixture and another 1 cup or so for breading the outside of the burger. (I save the end or slices of our gluten-free bread, add a little bit of uncooked quick oats and blend on high until fine).

Steps:

  1. Pour enough olive oil to cover the pan and sauté chopped onion, celery and carrot and garlic for 5-10 minutes until carrots are soft. Add the chopped parsley for the last 2 minutes.
  2. In the meantime add canned salmon, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and bread crumbs and mix well
  3. When the sautéed vegetables are done, add them to the salmon mixture and check for taste (salt, pepper, soy etc).
  4. Then add the egg and ½ cup of breadcrumbs
  5. In a separate bowl place ½ cup or more breadcrumb mixture
  6. Form salmon patties and fry lightly on each side until golden brown about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  7. Serve warm or cold with whatever side dish you feel is appropriate

 

Resources:

HealthWatch: Pink Chemical In Salmon, Flamingos May Be Powerful Supplement

https://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-your-canned-foods-safe-to-eat-a-bpa-free-buying-guide/

 

 

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How to cook taro root using a pressure cooker

This simple recipe explains how to cook taro with a pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can boil it, but it takes much longer 1-2 hours. You must be careful to fully cook all parts of the taro plant because it contains calcium oxalate. This will make your mouth feel numb, itchy, scratchy and very uncomfortable, with possibly worse side effects if you eat too much or are very sensitive.

Taro, or known in Hawaii as Kalo, is an amazing plant. The roots, stems and leaves are all edible and have unique distinct character.  It is also extremely nutritionally dense. Compared to a potato, the taro root has more fiber and is a good source of calcium, potassium, and Vitamins C, E and Bs as well as trace minerals.

Taro is most known in Hawaii for Poi, a slightly fermented paste of cooked and mashed taro. However, taro is used to make many more things. You can dehydrate it and make flour, you can eat the steam stems as a vegetable, and the cooked greens are versatile in curries, wrapped around meat, in soups etc. This staple crop for tropical climates cannot be over estimated.

Recipe for how to cook taro with a pressure cooker

 

Equipment: Pressure cooker and steam basket to go with it.

Steps:

  1. Wash and scrub taro. I like to peel mine before I cook it because I feel like the scruffy skin would clog my pressure cooker. However, many others like to scrub it real good and clean the skin off after it is cooked.
  2. Cut into fist size pieces
  3. Place steam basket in pressure cooker
  4. Fill water up to right below the steam basket
  5. Place taro into basket and secure the lid
  6. Bring to pressure (you will notice the steam start coming out)
  7. Reduce to medium heat and cook 30-45 minutes depending on how much you have in there and how big the pieces are.
  8. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 or more minutes
  9. Release the pressure and wait until all steam has been released.
  10. Open the pressure cooker, the taro should be soft, showing a few cracks, and also be easy to slice with a knife.

There are so many ways to prepare taro. We just started harvesting them on our farm and have done little experimenting. One easy way to prepare cooked taro is just to slice it and fry it in a shallow pan with 2 tablespoons or so of oil. Just add a little salt and pepper to each side and fry each side until crispy (about 3 minutes on each side). Another recipe that we’ve made several times is our taro millet vegetable burger recipe.

 

I also found these recipes while doing a few searches.

http://www.quericavida.com/recipes/taro-root-fritters/d9c2d0c4-9bb5-4d14-959c-1f1a1a8203e4

http://raygrogan2-ivil.tripod.com/tarogrowcookeat/id9.html

http://www.kumuainafarm.com/taro-kalo-burgers/

If you like eating tropical starches that are easy to grow and gluten free- you may also like breadfruit. Here is a link to my breadfruit pancakes.

Ulu
Ulu (breadfruit) pancakes
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Easy Fried Rice recipe (gluten-free)

easy fried riceThis easy fried rice recipe is a perfect way to use left over rice, meat and vegetables. It can be made vegetarian and gluten-free making it a flexible meal to serve for guests with allergies and vegetarian principals. I make this recipe at least once a week, sometimes more. It’s great for using up whatever garden veggies I have and any other left overs (like ground beef, turkey, chicken etc). You can even add canned salmon or tuna to this. You can make this a veggie stacked as you desire or just put a little in there for color if you are low on produce. I would not try skipping the ginger, garlic, or onion, and especially not the soy sauce and the eggs. Hope you enjoy and make lots of easy fried rice recipes!

If you like other meals that can be made with flexible ingredients, try my frittata recipe.

 

Recipe for Easy Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • some sort of cooked meat (chopped chicken, ground beef, even canned fish, turkey, or just vegetarian)
  • 1.5 – 2 cups cooked rice
  • ginger – 1 inch piece peel and chopped into large pieces
  • garlic, 1-2 cloves chopped
  • chopped veggies (onion, carrot, celery, peppers, cabbage, etc.)
  • soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • a little maple syrup

Steps:

  1. In a large pan heat olive oil and then add the chopped veggies
  2. Sautee in olive oil until tender (5-10 minutes depending on vegetables)
  3. Add ginger, garlic and meat if using stirring consistently to avoid burning the garlic for another 3 minutes.
  4. Next, add 1-2 eggs to the pan and stir constantly until cooked, scrambling them in the vegetables.
  5. If you need more oil add it and then add the rice and stir until heated and combined
  6. Add a few splashes of soy sauce and a SMALL drizzle of maple syrup
  7. Stir until combined, taste and then add more salt (and/or more soy sauce) and some fresh ground pepper to taste .

 

 

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Italian Almond Pear Cake (gluten-free)

I found out about this classic Italian Almond Pear Cake recipe when asked to make a cake for my Grandmother’s 93rd birthday this past September. My brother had just harvested several pounds of pears from a tree my Italian grandfather planted many moons ago. The unique part about this recipe is how little flour it uses and how the pears are placed on top of the cake batter, allowing the cake to rise around the pears. Many recipes you will find online for this type of cake call for a springform cake pan. In my experience this is unnecessary. Just butter and flour your typical 9″ diameter cake pan. This recipe is simple and easy to throw in the oven and impress your guests.

Recipe for Italian Almond Pear Cake

Equipment: Hand mixer or standup mixer, cake pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup almond flour or ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup flour or  an all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • ½  teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 ripe pairs, peeled and cored and cut into large pieces (halved if possible)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • powdered sugar for garnish
  • sliced almonds

Steps:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Butter and flour a cake pan and set aside
  3. Cream butter and sugar
  4. Add the eggs one at a time
  5. Then add vanilla to the butter, sugar, egg mixture.
  6. Next, in separate bowl mix the flour, spices, and baking powder
  7. Then add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture.
  8. Once it is uniformly incorporated spread evenly into the bottom of the floured cake pan, it should only take up an inch or less
  9. Arrange pears on top of the batter, as the cake rises it will rise around the pears
  10. Bake in oven for 30 minutes and remove, add the almonds on top. Place back in oven for another 5-10 minutes until knife or tooth pick come out clean.
  11. Let it cool, remove from pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

inspired by:

If you like this kind of recipe you may also like :

Banana Brownies

Healthy Carrot Cake with macadamia nut frosting

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Cauliflower Cheddar Soup (no milk or cream)

I developed this healthy cauliflower cheddar soup recipe while visiting the mainland. Like so many of my recipes, Adam bugged me for months to make him Cauliflower cheese soup. I finally came through for him. This recipe comes out savory and super creamy. I don’t drink milk or use cream so unlike many recipes for this type of soup I didn’t add any extra dairy beyond the cheese. This soup is great for cheesy soup lovers who cannot tolerate the lactose in many types of cheese but can tolerate cheddar. It is also gluten-free and can be prepared vegetarian.

And yes, I know first hand that cauliflower isn’t easy to grow in the tropics. However, some talented farmers and gardeners are able pull off small crops and small heads in parts of the islands. But in the store they are largely unaffordable costing up to $10 for a head of organic cauliflower.  Hopefully our talented farmers will get better at growing and we’ll be able to enjoy more of them in Hawaii.

This soup goes great with toasty or fresh bread. Try my easy recipe for rosemary garlic focaccia bread or grandpa’s sourdough bread recipe

If you like this type of recipe you may also like:

winter squash bisque (gluten-free, dairy free, vegan and delicious)

coconut red pepper and squash soup (dairy-free, gluten free and vegan)

 

Recipe for cauliflower cheddar soup

.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Equipment: Regular blender or immersion blender

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 2-3 potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 quart chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Sauté cauliflower, onion, potatoes, garlic in olive oil, stirring frequently to avoid sticking, add a little more oil as necessary to prevent sticking
  2. Once the onions are soft, add broth (should just cover the veggies) and bring to a boil until potatoes are tender (15-30 minutes depending on how small they are chopped).
  3. Let the soup cool until it safe to put in blender and then blend on high until creamy and uniform.
  4. Return to pot (rinse it out first) and heat on low
  5. Add cheddar and stir until combined
  6. Test it and add more salt and pepper.

This recipe was inspired by a few posted recipe’s including

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3327/cauliflower-cheese-soup

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cauliflower-cheese-soup

 

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You must try Chico (Sapodilla) fruit

Latin Names: Manilkara Zapota, Achras sapota,

Family: Sapotaceae

Other names: Chicle tree, Zapotillo, Dilly, Nispero, Chico Zapote, Sapota, sapota, sapodilla, nose berry, sapodilla plum or chikoo sapotem, chikoo, ciku,

Varieties: Alano, Brown Sugar, Prolific, Russel, and Tikal.

Characteristics of Chico:

 

Chico is round (almost egsapodillag shaped) with a tapered end.   The diameter is 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) and its length is 2-2.5 inches. Its pulp ranges from yellow to brown and it is smooth and sometimes a little grainy in texture. The skin is papery or “scruffy”. There are usually 1-6 seeds which are black, sort of oval, with a little spike, and 3/4” or less long.

 

Taste and Culinary Uses of Sapodilla:

This fruit is aromatic, sweet and floral, and consequently it tastes sweet like brown sugar and maple syrup. The texture is similar to kiwi, juicy, gel-like and also granular. It can be eaten raw, in salads, sorbets, smoothies, juices, pancake batters, baked pies, etc. Moreover, in any of these culinary applications you can try adding a splash of lemon juice to enhance flavor.

Caution: the latex and tannins of unripe fruit may cause mouth ulcers, itchy throats, and difficulty breathing.

chico, sapodilla

 

Harvest and storage:

Chico is harvested about 6 months after flowering. To be sure it is ripe there are several clues. 1. The skin turns lighter brown and separates easily from stem (without oozing latex). 2. The color also changes from yellowish to brown. 3. You can scratch the fruit to make sure the skin is not green beneath the surface. 4. When it is ripe the skin yields to gentle thumb pressure.

A whole bunch of mature, unripe chicos can be cut and hung. Kept at room temperature the fruit will ripen in 5 – 10 days. Ripe fruit is good at room temperature for a few days. However, it will last longer  if refrigerated. Additionally, the frozen pulp stays good for a few weeks. When buying chicos in the store look for fruits that have smooth skin without bruises, cuts, cracks or wrinkles.

Shipping: Chico is durable if picked hard, can transport for a few days.

Health benefits:

Chico has 200 calories per cup or 100 g provides 83 calories. It is relatively high in Vitamin C (39.33%), Dietary Fiber (33.68%), Iron (24.13%), and Copper (23.00%).  Sapodilla is known to relieve stress, prevent colds, prevent anemia, reduce arthritis, and heal wounds (homeostatic qualities, it helps to stop the loss of blood). It is antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and an anti-parasitic agent. It is also a sedative used to relieve stress and anxiety. Chico contains significant amounts of folic acid,

Chico recipes from other sites:

Chikoo Melon Shake Recipe (http://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/health-benefits-of-chikoo.htm)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopper chikoo
  • 1 cup chopped muskmelon
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • Ice cubes as required

Ciku Smoothie (http://tropicalfruitfarm.com.my/pdf/Sapodilla-Ciku-k.pdf)

  • 125 ml milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp brandy
  • 125 ml ciku pulp
  • 4 cups of ice.

Sapodilla growth patterns:

In general, chico seedlings bear fruit in 3 to 8 years, while grafted trees bear in 2 to 4 years. Although these are slow growing trees they may reach up to 100 feet tall. However, grafted chico varieties tend to be shorter in height. Generally speaking, they bear prolifically about 2 times per year and live 50-100 years.

Interesting Facts:

Wild sapodilla trees are known for the chicle (latex) that was was originally used as the base for chewing gum.

Resources:

  1. https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/sapodilla/
  2. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/sapodilla.html
  3. http://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/health-benefits-of-chikoo.htm
  4. http://www.ijrap.net/admin/php/uploads/1389_pdf.pdf
  5. http://tropicalfruitfarm.com.my/pdf/Sapodilla-Ciku-k.pdf
  6. http://www.healthbeckon.com/sapodilla-chikoo-benefits/
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Starfruit taste, culinary uses, health benefits and growing info

Information on starfruit

Latin Name and family:

The latin name of starfruit is Averrhoa Carambola, it is in the Oxalidaceae-Wood-Sorrel Family. Other names for starfruit are: Carambola, kambola, caramba, five corner

starfruit from the farm

Characteristics:

Starfruit ranges from about 2.5 to 6 in (6.35-15 cm) long and up to 3.5 (9 cm) wide, with 5 ribs so that it looks like star when cut crosswise, yellowish-green with high water content. The outside skin is waxy, green-orange-yellow. It has up to a dozen seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inches (6-12.5 mm) that a thin, flat and long. Sometimes there are no seeds.

 

Taste and Culinary Uses:

The fruit flesh is juicy/high water content, it is also crisp, and slightly yellow flesh when fully ripe. The sweetest varieties contain little more than 4% sugar. The fruit is most commonly, washed chopped (so it looks cool) and eaten as is, including the skin. Apart from that many people use them in fruit salads, smoothies, juice and as garnish. Many cultures use the fruit in other prepared cooking applications. many applications such as stews, curries, preserves, sherbets, cooking the green fruit or slightly under ripe fruit with various dishes, salted, stewed, pickles, relishes etc. The fruit juice has been used to remove iron rust stains. Here is a list of recipes of the Fairchild Botanical Gardens: http://www.virtualherbarium.org/tropicalfruit/carambola-recipes.html

Harvest and Storage:

This tropical fruit is tasty when picked ripe or fall to the ground ripe. The fruits naturally fall to the ground when fully ripe. For marketing, they should be handpicked when they are green with just a little yellow. Refrigeration after harvesting prolongs life, but can impede proper ripening.

Health benefits:

Starfruit is high in vitamin C, and has very high antioxidant qualities. (Fisheries, 2008). In Sri Lanka, India, Brazil and China the fruit is used to treat a variety of conditions including bleeding and halt hemorrhages, fevers, diarrhea, eye afflictions, kidney and bladder upsets and vomiting (Morton, 1987).

Contraindications:

Starfruit contains oxalic acid, avoid if you have kidney disease, kidney failure or are on dialysis, may interfere with some prescription medications.

Growth patterns:

Starfruit is tropical and sub-tropical, it grows up to 20-30 feet, (6-9 m). It thrives in any tropical low lands and bears from seed in as early as 3 years. Grafted trees will fruit in 10 months. It grows well in elevations up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m). Additionally, starfruit likes even distributions of rainfall throughout the year and does not tolerate flooding, thus it needs good drainage. They are relatively pest-free except for fruit flies.

If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in: Rolliniamamey sapote or check out our page for info on tropical fruits and foods.

Resources:

  1. Permacopia Book II. D. Hunter Beyer Dr. Franklin Martin.
  2. Hawaiian Organic growing Guide, Shunyam Nirav. (1992)Oasis Maui inc.
  3. Morton, J.F.(1987). Fruits of warm climates. Miami, Florida, USA
  4. http://ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=1377
  5. .http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb/AFTPDFS/Averrhoa_carambola.PDF