A short break from the European Trip posts to highlight whatâ€™s in the market now and should consider savoring at the peak of the seasonâ€¦ This will be followed by a few local posts, then my entry to Lasang Pinoy 10 on Wednesdayâ€¦then back to more European trip posts. There is a lot of santol in the market and in backyards at the moment (we just harvested 20-30 kilos from our small backyard tree last Friday) from the small sour varieties to the largest sweet Bangkok varieties. I have written about the fruit before, even had a post on santol jam which is the closest local conserve we have to membrillo or Spanish quince paste, but the easiest way to enjoy the santol bounty is in santol juice. When you have the fruit up the wazoo, peel them, chop a few throw them into a pitcher with water and some simple sugar syrup. Let this steep in the fridge for at least 6-8 hours and enjoy with lots of ice. I havenâ€™t tried this, but it just occurred to me this might be nice if you add some tanglad (lemongrass) to the sugar syrup to add another layer of flavorâ€¦ this is really easy and surprisingly tasty and refreshing.
Also in the markets now are huge fat duhat that will not last much longer. We also have a duhat tree in our backyard and we are already at the annoying stage when birds munch and steal the fruit and drop them as they fly away from the tree staining our terrace with huge splats of purple dye. Hmmm, this reminds me that I gave permission to a Polish researcher last year to use my duhat photos for a graduate thesis on how light refracted through different fruit dyes and juicesâ€¦I wonder how that turned out. At any rate, buy a a kilo of duhat (which I have NEVER EVER seen in Western markets, by the way), wash well, put in a plastic bag and throw in some good rock salt and toss gently. Pour into a nice bowl and munch awayâ€¦ yum, definitely one of the benefits of living in a tropical country!
I also saw a lot of sineguelas in the market the other day. Not sure if this is the tail end of the season but take advantage of the summer fruit anyway. Particularly since the La Nina effect this year is forecast to be bringing buckets and buckets of rain in a wet season that threatens to submerge us all in floodwaters or at least suffer with mold spores. In Batangas, there is a bumper crop of Indian mangoes and they can be had roadside for just PHP8 a kilo. You can tell the finest Indian mangoes by the shape of the â€œbuttâ€ of the fruit (the stem end). If the stem is a little embedded or buried because the fruit bulges out, then that is a sign of a meaty and sweeter fruit. If the stem is the most prominent feature and the meat rolls down from there, you have purchased second rate specimensâ€¦ at least thatâ€™s what the wise roadside women selling the mangoes directly under their trees tell me. With the bounty of Indian mangoes you can eat them peeled with bagoong (shrimp paste) or salt, brine them with a salt solution or cook them into a nice mango chutney that you can store for several months in the fridge. My daughter likes to buy a sack of them in Batangas (about 50 kilos for PHP200 or just PHP4 a kilo) and she re-sells them in front of our house in Manila for PHP10 a kilo to augment her weekly allowanceâ€¦
So get out there and buy whatâ€™s in season! Support our local farmers! Stock up on Vitamin C to help ward off the flu in the rainy season up ahead! Please click on links indicated above for more details on each of the fruits that I have identified to be in the market at this time…thanks!