Fruits Galore

Fruits in Hawaii

Fruits in Hawaii

After spending two incredible weeks in Hawaii, I miss the island life. It’s not just the weather that I miss but it’s access to fresh and exotic fruits such as rambutan, yellow dragon fruit, white pineapple, lilikoi, papaya, apple banana, ice cream banana and cherimoya.

When we were on the Big Island, we frequently visited the farmer’s markets and eagerly picked up fruits. It was a bit like a treasure hunt, looking for our favourite, mine being the yellow dragon fruit and my wife’s papayas. In between, we were picking up rambutans, star fruits, passion fruits which they call lilikoi’s (3 for $1) and a new fruit that we recently tried, the cherimoya.

Last year, our visit to the Big Island introduced us to the sweet tasting yellow dragon fruit. Unlike the pink dragon fruit that is sold in Canada and is awfully bland, the yellow variety is full of sweetness. The meat is white with black seeds and has the same texture as the kiwi fruit. ($5 per pound and is worth every penny of it.)

This year, we tried the cherimoya which is the green fruit pictured in the right hand corner. Cherimoya’s range in size, from a small tomato to a small watermelon. They need to be soft and almost mushy before eaten. When sliced open, the cherimoya is white with black seeds which are to be discarded. The meat is like custard, smooth and silky and really, ┬áreally sweet. Almost like honey sweet. The meat is custard like and you can almost eat it with a spoon. Its origin is not from Hawaii but from Brazil. Same goes for rambutans where the origin is from Thailand. (4 for $1)

On our second week, we flew to Kauai and found all the farmer’s market locations. Lucky for us, there was one happening every day but in different parts of Kauai. There, rambutans were plentiful and fresh as can be. The freshly picked rambutans are soft and sweet, unlike the ones that are imported from Thailand and sold in Canada. Have anyone tried the white pineapples before? If not, try one next time you run into one. We did and was pleasantly surprised that a white pineapple is less acidic.

Apple bananas and ice cream bananas were also new to our palettes. Super sweet and firm. Now, do you know why we miss Hawaii so much?

Fresh Rambutans available

Rambutan

Rambutan

I love summer across Canada because of all the available fruit. Among the local fruits, I enjoy shopping at T&T in the NE for exotic fruit. This week, people are scrambling and loading up on rambutan.

Rambutans are from Thailand and are hairy looking fruit. To eat it, you have to peel away a shell to reveal a white skinned fruit. It’s a lot like lychees, another exotic fruit but from China. The rambutans are more firm and less sweet. Some people rather have rambutans than lychees but I think it’s close.

This time of year, we are lucky to have these fruits flown in fresh. Most of the time, they are only available frozen. It’s not bad eating rambutans that way but fresh is always better.

 

 

Buy Groceries at Sobey’s and Fly Business Class

Sobey's at Strathcona

Sobey’s at Strathcona

One of the best ways to fly internationally is in business class. There you are invited to the front of the plane where individual pods are assigned to travellers like you. It’s nice on a long trip to be treated like royalty or you can adjust your seat and convert it to a bed. You can either sit up and watch your personal entertainment device or lie back and sleep the miles away. Have I convinced you to fly business class? If so, sign up.

The place to sign up is at Sobey’s in their club Sobeys program. Every time you shop there, you can earn Aeroplan points. The thing I like about shopping at Sobey’s is when they have promotional days such as their Dollar Days. I have to admit, I hate broccoli, however for a buck a bag, I can stomach that. It’s actually pretty good in Chinese dishes like Beef and Broccoli or a hotpot with chicken, tofu, celery, green onions, carrots and mushrooms.

Many times a week, Sobey’s will have sale days where they will encourage some bulk buying on your part. As a reward, they will give you additional points. Last week for instance, I purchased two bottles of salsa verde (to make chili verde with pork). From that purchase, I earned 25 points. If you like tea, they were giving you 100 points if you bought 4 boxes. My pantry is full of tea and coffee so I skipped this deal. Bottom line is that everyone needs groceries and a vacation. It makes perfect sense to shop for groceries, earn your Aeroplan points to fly business class on your vacation.

Persimmons at Superstore

'Jiro' Persimmons

‘Jiro’ Persimmons

I’ve learned that some people have never eaten a persimmon. But then again, a lot of us haven’t eaten a durian including myself. Persimmons on the other hand are more popular with the asians but I’ve also learned that persimmons are now grown in Italy and other Mediterranean countries, Middle East and in the US. Originally, persimmons were cultivated in Japan then in China. When persimmons are ripe, they are very high in glucose content.

The ‘jiro’ persimmon can be eaten at any time but are not as sweet as the ‘hachiya’ persimmon. The meat of the ‘jiro’ persimmon is more firm like a green apple. It is slightly sweet and quite pleasant. The other persimmon is only sweet when the fruit is ripe. A ripe persimmon is one with a clear almost cracking skin.

Persimmons are not popular until October when they can be purchased for as low as 50 cents per pound. They are at its premium at the moment, sold per unit. But for persimmons lovers, the ‘jiro’ variety are available at Superstore for 88 cents each when bought in pairs, otherwise $1.28 each.