Monday, July 13, 2015

MY FAVORITE FRUIT I'VE NEVER HEARD OF

by Kate Collins

My friend and I drove forty five minutes yesterday to go to one of the biggest indoor markets around, a home and garden center so large it takes up a city block. It's in a tiny town near Lake Michigan, called Sawyer, Michigan, that is known for -- Ta-Da -- the Sawyer Home and Garden Center. We try to go a few times a year to get produce not widely available. But they have

many other things, too: unique kitchen items, a winery, a huge candle shop, a garden shop, a clothing shop, a gourmet grocery shop that sells home baked pies in three sizes, and one of the largest nurseries I've ever seen.

This market is a destination. While we're out that way we work in a meal in New Buffalo, Michigan, situated on Lake Michigan, a town that has a whole street of boutiques, and call it a great day.

On this trip, among other things, I was looking for peaches and found more varieties than I knew existed. A Saturn peach shaped like a bagel? Who knew? And then I discovered a new fruit and knew I had to buy some. It's a mango nectarine and I've got a photo of two here on the right of a regular white flesh California peach. It has a mango-ish flavor and is deliciously sweet, easily a dessert.

While on vacation in Paris, my husband and I tried their fresh figs. As I'd only eaten dried figs, (not a fan) I didn't think I'd care for them. And boy, was I wrong. They are one of my all-time favorite fruits. Unfortunately, in my area in the Midwest, it's impossible to find them. California figs are close but we don't get them here either.

These mango nectarines also made me think back to another fruit I discovered a few years ago that I'd never tried, a persimmon. Wow! I was in love. And then they kind of disappeared from my grocery. I tried a star fruit once and wasn't crazy about it. But it made me wonder what else I'm missing that I've never tried and/or heard of.

Have you ever tried an offbeat fruit? Or a mango nectarine? What would you recommend I try next?


30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you tried an ataulfo mango? They are bright yellow when ripe, tend to ripen evenly which the bigger mangos never seem to do, fit in your hand, and peel easily. Since they come from Mexico, and western Oregon has a big Hispanic population, I can find them in the grocery store where I shop plus the various Mexican grocery stores in town. They are sweet and high in fiber. Cordella

servedogmom said...

Have you ever tried Mangosteen or Mangosteen juice? That is really good and is known for positive health benefits. It is called the fruit of the Gods in some countries, At times Whole Foods and/or Trader Joe's in the Chicago area and/or Milwaukee suburbs sells fresh figs. So you might come across it at some time in the future.

Lynda Turpin said...

I LOVE fruit. I grew up (in central CA) with fig and persimmon trees. My mom used to make fig jam, and I have a cook book that is just persimmon recipes. Persimmon cookies (a soft, spice cookie) are amazing. A few years ago I tried my first Rainier cherry and was hooked. They're harder to find and more expensive, but worth it. I like nectarines, but have never heard of a mango nectarine - sounds interesting.

Margo Bittner said...

Have you tried donut peaches? Sometimes they are called saturn peaches - they look like the planet Saturn with the pit in the middle as the planet

mary kennedy said...

Kate, I love to go to these outdoor markets, they are so much fun and I always get new ideas. I had a spectacular "white peach pound cake" at a party the other night and will get the recipe. I didn't even know there were white peaches and I saw some the next day at a Farmer's Market. Not sure what the difference is (besides the color) but the cake was incredibly good. Will post the recipe if I get it from the hostess.

Maggie Sefton said...

Yummy fruit. One of my favorite things about Summer. All these wonderful fruits are ripe and in season. Outdoor markets are in full swing. Fresh tomatoes and peaches, pears, apples, and every kind of berry spring up In Fort Collins. I gorge myself. I'm especially partial to the purples and the yellows----like dark sweet cherries, peaches, nectarines, and mango, mango. Love it. Oh, and I don't think I've met many berries I didn't like. I love them. Blueberries, strawberries. And, now, I think I'll finally try a persimmon. Thanks, Kate. :)

Kate Collins said...

I've never heard of that one, either, Cordella. They sound delicious! I'll have to look around for them.

Dawn Pryor said...

You need to try plumcots, also called pluots. These are a tasty cross of plums and apricots. I am not a fan of either fruit on its own but I do like the plumcot.

Kate Collins said...

I've heard of Mangosteen but nothing more. What does it taste like? We're getting a Whole Foods (actually in a neighboring city) so maybe I can find figs there. I think they have a short season when they're available.

Kate Collins said...

Lucky you, Lynda! Figs and persimmons have to be two of the sweetest fruits out there. I wish they were more common in the Midwest. I love anything with a texture like a peach. The mango nectarine tastes very peachy to me. I loved it.

Kate Collins said...

Funny you should mention them, Margo. I saw them for the first time at this market. Do they taste like regular peaches?

Kate Collins said...

I buy white flesh peaches but have never run across an actual white peach! I'd love that recipe. Anything with peaches in it is a winner in my book.

Kate Collins said...

Maggie, you will be amazed at the persimmon's taste. It's like thick honey. And I'm with you, there's hardly a fruit I don't like, although I'm not a big fan of blackberries. Those seeds!!

Kate Collins said...

Dawn, I've tried pluots and didn't know they had another name. Thanks for mentioning them.

Dru said...

I'll be the odd-ball one here, but I'm not up to adventurous fruits.Give me an apple, orange, banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, cherries and I'm good.

NoraA said...

During the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippor) at one of the "festive" meals we have the blessing of the new fruit. It has to be a fruit you haven't eaten in the last year. Most of the fruit and vegg stores in the community go out of their way to challenge each other to find fruits that no one has heard of yet. So I'd say yes, I've definitely tried unknown fruits every sing year for the last 42 years.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Plumcots make a great little cake!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

What a delish post! Like Dru Ann, I am not adverturous, but the Little Mister loves to try new and exotic fruits. We'll be on the hunt for the mango nectarines.

We are both VERY jealous of your market experience.

Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Rocco Dispirito in "Now eat This!" has an absolutely fantastic peach and blueberry cobbler recipe which I make once peach season is in swing. Cordella

Kate Collins said...

Steady as she goes kind of girl, right, Dru? ;-)

Kate Collins said...

That is awesome, Nora! I would love to have grocers here do that.

Kate Collins said...

Come on over, MJ! Field trip!

Kathleen Costa said...

I'm not very adventurous, but during one of my many trips to Hawaii I tried "star fruit." It really was delicious...sweet and juicy! Eat it by itself or include it in a mixed salad! kat8762@aol.com

Aurian said...

I am not a fruit lover, but I love looking at all the strange fruits and vegetables from all over the world that are found in the "foreign" grocery shops around here. My favourite is the Dragon Fruit. Like a grey kiwi inside, and outside is hot pink a bit like a artichoke.

Kate Collins said...

I'll have to try it again. When I tried it years ago, it was dry, but maybe that was the grocers' fault!

Kate Collins said...

I've never seen a dragon fruit. Sounds interesting.

Darlene said...

I love fresh figs! I am a basic fruit eater, plums Bing cherries, bananas, But I tried an Asian Pear and really liked it! Its kind of crunchy and really juicy.

Laurie Fancy said...

Love fruit, especially berries! Can't think of any fruit that I don't like. Ever heard of Tayberries? It's a fairly new berry I hadn't heard of until recently; a hybrid of raspberry and blackberry -- colour and shape of a long raspberry, with the taste of a sweet blackberry. Can't wait to taste them!!

Love persimmons too! Actually had them a couple of years ago at an Asian buffet set out for dessert. I tried one and went back for more... probably ate six! Totally ignored the cakes and other sweets. :-)

Robert Giddings said...

I live about an hour up I-94 from Sawyer. There are some decent wineries in that area too. This is a great area for fruit. Blueberries and raspberries showing up now. We don't see a lot of exotic fruits. September will bring peaches, grapes, then apples.

Kate Collins said...

Michigan peaches are my all time favorite fruit. You live in a great area!