Archive for March 2011

A Long Overdue Tribute to Tropical Fruit

March 3, 2011

One of the many advantages to living in the tropics is the abundance of fresh tropical fruit.  It has taken us awhile, but Marisa and I have finally tapped into the bounty of delicious fruits that unfortunately in Virginia are expensive and always out of season.

It all started with fresh fruit juices.  Nicaraguans are whizzes with their juices; pineapple, orange, tangerine, lime, melon, fruit punch, guava, passion fruit plus probably a dozen others.

Marisa and I have enjoyed a steady diet of bananas, which here are smaller and sweeter than the green Chiquitas that we buy up North.  Last week at the market I bought a dozen for about 35 cents.  Lately we’ve discovered that the corner store up the street sells pineapples for about 45 cents each.  These pineapples come from the nearby region of Masaya.  Most are grown using chemicals that cause them to grow and ripen more quickly.  A pineapple plant that grows naturally takes two years to give one pineapple!  In the supermarkets we’ve found cantaloupe, 3 for $1.50, a bag of 25 tangerines costs about $1.00, and one grapefruit only about 15 cents. I’m still trying to convince Marisa on the deliciousness of papaya.

On top of all this ridiculously cheap, deliciously fresh fruit we can buy at the market or at the neighborhood grocery store (yes, it is owned by Wal-Mart), mango season is now in full swing here in Managua.  Every day more mangos than we can eat fall from the tree in the patio that we share with our host family, not to mention that is seems like all our neighbors also have their own mango tree and bring us bags for us to try!  Not all mangos are created equal; we’ve learned that there are at least 4 different species that vary in size, texture, and flavor.  Let’s just say our diet has never been more extraordinary and our bodies have never been more regular!  Next up, avocado season, can’t wait!

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As a side note, it would be a crime not to give a shout out to the Nicaraguan Hot Dog.  It seems that Nicaraguans have maintained the dignity of what in the States I’m afraid has become a dying art.  Hot dogs in Nicaragua only come in foot long sizes and the bun is always soft, some even have sesame seeds.  I like to get mine with everything, which comes smothered in ketchup, mayonnaise, relish, a slightly spicy vinegar sauce, and even jalapeño peppers.  Buen Provecho!

Yummy. (Unfortunately without the jalapeños)