Saturday, March 16, 2013

What Tastes Like Cinnamon And Vanilla.....

What tastes like cinnamon and vanilla, has the texture of a pear, is round with brown sand paper-like skin and grows on trees?  Why it's a Nispero of course.  This tropical fruit native to China and Japan has fragrant white flowers that grow into a delghtfully tasting unusual fruit.  Nispero also goes by the name sapodillo or loquat and the trees thrive nicely in warm, tropical climates like Panama.

Who would have known how
wonderful these are!

Last year soon after we moved into our house in Chame we noticed these brown, fuzzy fruits popping up on a tree in our backyard.  We asked around but no one seemed to know what they were or how to eat them, so we let them wither away and die.  One day we had to meet with the previous owner of the house in Panama City and I remembered to ask him about this unknown fruit. He confirmed them to be nispero and raved about how sweet and luscious they tasted. 

So far this season we've only found a few ripe enough to eat so far.  We're trying to get them before they hit the ground and our fruit loving doberman devours them.  The nispero look similar to a kiwi but are round in shape and smaller.  Once cut open there are two large black seeds that need to be removed.  The brownish, yellowish meat of the fruit is simply scooped out with a spoon and enjoyed.  It's almost like eating a cookie with the goodness of a fruit.

One nispero has just 20 calories, is high in vitamins and minerals and especially high in dietary fiber. While Clyde and I shared one today for lunch his comment as he was eating was "I can't believe this taste is coming from a fruit."

Our mango trees are in bloom with sprigs of lovely brownish-orange flowers that will turn into thousands of tasty treats in the next few months.  Cashew nuts have popped up on our cashew trees which will bear yellow and red cashew apples that dangle from each nut.  Although the cashew apples aren't too good for eating, the nuts can be roasted using extreme caution.  The cashew nuts are surrounded by toxins and must be handled with care.  Our chickens seem to enjoy eating the cashew fruits so at least they won't go to waste.

Recently Clyde pointed out a strange plant near the back of our house that seems to be bearing fruit.  The fruit appears to be noni fruit which according to it's proponents supposedly can cure cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, HIV, rheumatism, psoriasis, allergies, infection and inflammation.  Still others believe the fruit can relieve sinus infections, menstrual cramps, arthritis, ulcers, sprains, depression, senility, poor digestion, colds, flu, headaches and scratches to the eye. According the the website of the American Cancer Society, there is no reliable clinical evidence that indicates that noni can cure cancer or any other disease in humans.  But studies on animals have shown positive results and research is just beginning on humans.

Clyde is busily working outside these days building boxes which will eventually turn into kitchen cabinets.  After a short four months full of problems Panamanian style, his shipment of teak wood has come in for the kitchen project.  Eventually we'll be knocking out the old counter top and cabinets to make room for the new teak cabinets and granite counter tops.  We'll put in a dishwasher, new sink, faucet, stove hood and more to give us a brand new kitchen in this old Panamanian style house.

The unfinished cabinet boxes

The cabinet boxes painted
plus teak trim applied

A couple of the drawer fronts
clamped up

When he's not building something Clyde's been strumming on his twelve-string guitar.  He pulled it out of the closet, dusted it off and tuned it up in order to sing at a local restaurant on Thursday night.  The restaurant had offered a contest for all local guitar players.  Clyde said the challenge was just to get thru it without being booed off the stage.  After all this is the first time he had played in almost two years. 

He changed the words of a popular song to localize it, and many of the people in the crowd thought he wrote the song from scratch.  Perhaps this is the start of a new career, as Caribbean Clyde takes to the streets strumming away in a tropical serenade....along the gringo trail.

Shamelessly stole this picture from

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