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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Curious Clementine

It is time to re-enter the realm of the English supermarket. Don’t worry – there are plenty more tropical surprises to come but for now let’s hold the mustard. The word on the street is that Asda house some of the finest Clementines (Citrus Reticulata) in the UK. This is the type of rumour that excites livewithfruit so without further ado let’s crack on with the Clementine.

The Clementine presents a formidable challenge to any potential suitor. First it requires patience to peel off the waxy orange skin and then the stringy white bits need careful plucking. The reward however, is bountiful. Pleasingly acidic and beautifully refreshing the tender segments provide a much needed pick me up in the November cold. The Clementine is an absolute jewel of a fruit and the sparkle continues long after eating.

The effect this fruit has had on Europe is profound, being loved and loathed in equal measure. The Clementine is very popular in France both as a fruit and as a girl’s name. However, in Germany it is considered to bring bad luck and must always be eaten in twos. The Italians consider the Clementine to be a symbol of fertility yet in Spain it is frequently part of buffets at funerals. Livewithfruit continues to be amazed and humbled by the role fruit can play in different cultures and identities. This first week has been a blast, let’s hope for many more!

Disappointing Dragon fruit

Today marks a week of livewithfruit and a big thank you to all you lovely readers and subscribers. To mark this occasion we have a fruit with a powerful name. It is time to enter the Dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus). Wow what a title! Surly livewithfruit is in for a treat!

Er well no not really. What a disappointment this fruit proves to be. Granted it looks incredible and when cut the seeds speckle the white flesh like a thousand stars. The Dragon fruit is a window into a far off tropical world. However, the grim tasteless reality quickly brushes aside any lingering hopes of a dip into the equatorial sunshine. Dull and mushy this fruit is a big disappointment and offers no depth of flavour at all.

The Dragon fruit is the edible version of those disillusioned folk who buy a Saxo and invest in a noisy exhaust and go faster rims. They make a scene and everyone notices them. Unfortunately so much investment into exterior appearance can never make up a fundamental lack personality or sense. They are the Dragon fruits of society.

Introducing the Rambutan…

Livewithfruit is shaking with excitement. The greengrocer has delivered and then some. Today we depart from the normal. Today we enter the unknown. Today we are presented with the first of six exotic fruits. Drum roll please and give it up for the Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum). The name comes from the Malay word for hairy and there is no way to get round the fact that this fruit looks like a red testicle.

So first it is a tentative slice with the knife to reveal the pearl coloured flesh of the fruit underneath the skin. The internet reliably informs the flesh to be nibbled avoiding the stone. This advice was followed to the letter. As for the taste it is simply mildly tropical and sweet. The shock factor of this fruit is it’s certainly in its exuberant exterior and not in its pleasant but slightly underwhelming taste.

There are five more strange fruit left given to livewithfruit by his exclusive London contact. The Rambutan is an excellent start and the specimens in the box are tantalising to the max. One is banned in Chinese restaurants due to its potent smell and the irremovable stain from its juices. (This is actually true) Watch this space!

Boring Banana

Today should have been very exciting for livewithfruit with yesterday’s promise of a selection of exotic fruits from an Islington greengrocer. Unfortunately things didn’t work out and it is with great regret that livewithfruit is forced to present the Banana (Musa Sapientum). Oh the poor old Banana, lying in the bowl with no real friends, always the last milkshake to be chosen and cursed with that quite peculiar smell.

The taste is not complex and provides little to enthuse the connoisseur or even the most amateur of fruit tasters. Purely functional this fruit delivers its vitamins with barley a nod of acknowledgment. Yet perhaps this is perversely its strength. Sometimes livewithfruit wants his essential B12 without a party, glitz or glamour. Indeed after a long day a simple Banana can act as a familiar comfort blanket. Dull but dependable, bright but boring the Banana can just about hold its own.

However, the past has not always been so predictable. The Banana was very nearly classified as a vegetable in the great fruit dispute in 1913. The following year a group of Serbian nationalists assassinated Archduke Franz-Ferdinand who was an avid supporter the vegetable claims. By the end of the summer Europe was consumed by conflict.

A punch with a Peach is better than none

It is with great excitement that livewithfruit is, and will be reporting from the big smoke until Saturday. The vibe is intense. The city is alive, pulsating even. The streets are paved with dreams and the sky rich with promise. Livewithfruit needs calm and for this there is only one option. Step forward the humble Peach (Prunus Persica)

The Peach offers the eater something refined. It is unassuming in appearance yet is unrelenting in flavour. The curious furry coat is a test for the committed. Ignore this bluff and bite in. Relish the tang of the citrus as its rich, sweet juices rush together to dance over the tongue and ignite the soul.

It is precisely this soul warming flavour that has allowed the Peach to enter the hearts of the British public and become a staple in the fruit bowl. Indeed the Peach reflects the essence of humanity. It is difficult to understand, sometimes bitter yet always sweet at the core.

It is with this rather lacklustre entry that livewithfruit must sign off to meet the deadline. However, discussions with a lovely greengrocer in Islington could yield spectacular results tomorrow… watch this space!

Blueberry bust up

Today folks, it is time to go small. It runs in the family as livewithfruit’s brother is a PhD student in the field of nanotechnology. However, we will be visiting a different field in the far off land of Argentina in which Berries Del Plata grows his Blueberries (Vaccinium ovalifolum) for Sainsbury’s.

It is with a heavy heart that livewithfruit reports its first negative encounter. To put it simply, the Blueberry just doesn’t deliver. There was a complete lack of any consistency or depth of flavour within the 150g packet. Some were sharp and some were sweet but all were disappointing. If livewithfruit had wanted sweet and sour he would have had a Chinese. To compound the pain it cost a whole three of the Queens finest for this abomination. Bah.

As noted before these Blueberries come from Argentina. The frosty relations between the two nations need no further encouragement. In fact, since the opening of the archives on the 1982 conflict it has become clear that one of the factors of Argentinean aggression was the loss of face during the summer of 1981’s South Atlantic summer fruit competition. Argentina was handsomely beaten in all categories by a late entry from a farmer of British Falkland Blueberries.

Grapefruit the Greatfruit

The follow up for the Mango was always going to be a difficult task for any fruit to live up to. However, livewithfruit is convinced today’s fruit to be a solid contender. Please give a warm welcome to the Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi).

Truly the ying to the Mango’s yang the Grapefruit does not teach seduction or softness. This fruit is sharp, ticklish and vicious to the tongue. It is dangerous and uncertain. The acidity of the juice combined with the almost crumbling nature of the flesh is nothing short of a taste sensation. Imagine swallowing a live firework with a gunpowder chaser and you have the Grapefruit.

It is worth giving thanks to the state of Florida for producing today’s example. First arriving there in 1809 this maverick fruit took off and soon became a great American classic. Indeed Abraham Lincoln was so taken by the fruit that he ate one every day, a habit repeated during the Kennedy years. Kim Jong-Il is also evidently a big fan of the Grapefruit after being served one at a banquet with Putin although this is unconfirmed. Livewithfruit will keep a close eye on this story.