Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A reluctant ode to Summer

Day 54 since the monsoons started and it's still pouring ... magical! I can't really remember another year when it has done this. At least, not since I started farming and gardening, anyway.
So, do I miss the sun? Do I, like those in colder northern climes, peer up at the sky, wondering when the sun will show up and the rain give us a break?
No way! I love the monsoon.
But I must confess (almost reluctantly and rather guiltily, since I've been going on and on about disliking our summer) that I do miss some of the distinctly delicious trademarks of Summer.
Hmmm, yeah... I didn't see that coming either.

For one, I miss the colour. The flamboyant, in-your-face overdose of tropical colour on every bloom and fruit. Oh, and there's no stinting or stingy witholding; there's just such a generous extravagance of it everywhere! An exuberant copiousness that few other seasons can match.

And the absolutely delicious fruits? Did I mention that? 
Ummm... did I really need to?
I love it when my craving for colour gets flavour as a bonus. Oh yeah, 2-for-1, who could resist that? And with these Wax Jambus I almost wish I could have them as a permanent display on my table (or in my garden, for that matter).
I love the fresh, crisp flavour of these small bell-shaped fruits. So perfect for a hot, humid summer day. Bite into one and you'll know what I mean.
There are more species in the Syzygium genus that are so incredibly delicious  and some are fragrant too! Try them all, if you get them. I know they're not all easily available in Mumbai, but try begging and pleading with friends who grow them or just drop by for a friendly visit to their home when it is in fruit (I did! I know ... greed makes me so shameless! ).

Have you seen a fruit which far exceeds expectations? Well, here it is! The plump  purple globes with green caps are interesting-looking, I admit. But take off the cap, squish it gently in the middle and it yields (if it doesn't, it's no good ). Splitting open to reveal a bright pink inner. Can you imagine how striking that looks? But, discard it... now! For the real star is within... a ring of tightly packed, perfectly white, crisp, fresh, delicately sweet segments.
Simply incredible!
This has to be the absolutely best fruit I've ever eaten. It tastes of the holidays , and childhood and playing on a swing, and huddling under a blanket at night swapping yarns with visiting cousins, and laughter, and gentle times, and...   It makes me nostalgic when I simply think of it. And it is a Summer fruit.
Oh yes, I do see that we need Summer!

Did I forget the Mango? How could I???
Here it is ... sweet Alfonso mangoes from my garden, delicious as only home-grown, sun-ripened fruit can be. It was such a great yield this year that I went berserk hunting for mango recipes. Yes, we really did get that much. And, eat that much.
( And yes, I said that just to make myself think that I can wait till next Summer for the next sweet mango)

Hmmm... how does a fruit that looks so scary, even weird, be so awesome?
Who in the world ever summoned up the nerve to split open one and take that first bite? For it is scary-looking, with leathery skin and tentacles all over. A bit like Medusa. 
See what I mean?
But what you don't get from this pic is just how much I'd walk for a Rambutan right now! To the next tropical country growing it, maybe (hmmm ...I think it'll be in season soon in the southern hemisphere. maybe, if I start right now ...).
Or, till next Summer? Most definitely!

I think I'll just program myself to ignore the blazing heat and dust and miserable humidity next Summer. Just pass the mangosteen and rambutan and other fruits, will you?  


  1. Droolicious!!
    Home grown, sun ripened mangoes!!! Must be heaven I'm sure..

    Frankly speaking I have not tasted the Mangosteen, Wax Jambus, Rambutan.. will def do that come next Summer :)This Summer.. had a lot of Mangoes though..

    And you're right.. wonder who summoned the courage to have the first bite of the Rambutan :)

    1. Oh it is, Priya (feels a bit like hell,though, with that roasting heat).
      Do try to get some of these fruits next summer. Believe me, you'll love them all! Yes, even the scary-looking Rambutan.

  2. i ate lots of rambutan when at home,..they taste heaven sunitha

    1. I know, Lakshmi. And I love them! Lucky you :)

  3. SUNITA...this was the most DELICIOUS post I have ever read/eaten LOL. Yummy! I would love to grow the rambutan and mangosteen here. Hope you froze some of your mango for later :-) I had a bumper crop here as well.

    1. Lol! So glad you liked it, Helen :)
      Yes, the rambutan and mangosteen will grow well for you. I'm growing them myself (they haven't started yielding yet, but soon!)
      freeze thhe mango? I planned to ... I wanted to ... but in the end, gluttony got the better of me :P :D

  4. mm those rose apples and rambutans!

    1. ... and the mangosteens and the gulmohur .... sigh!
      we're like-minded folk, you and I, Sharon! :)

  5. Beautiful photos and lovely text ! thankyou !

  6. The Rose Apples- Jambakkya! It has been ages since I had one Suunita! And Mangosteen! I loved the snapshots and am shamelessly requesting one of thoese Mango-stone's; err... are they available ? :-)

    1. Come to India in summer next year, Shri. I can't imagine being deprived of our summer fruits... you poor thing!
      The mango-stone? Really??? Come and taste the real thing, Shri! (Incidentally, mango-stones or seeds don't hang around our home for very long. They all end up in the Great Big Compost-heap in the corner of our garden. The ones which sprout dont hang around very long either)

  7. Your garden is fantastic and the lovely colours are scrumptious :-)

    1. Thank you so much, Joyful. I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)

  8. These are gorgeous and how beautiful, the Flamboyant!

  9. Loved your post. We at came across an unusual variety of mountain bitter-gourd which we grew to experiment. These are similar in taste but much shorter but such a pale green that you might mistake for white!

    Keep the organic bounty at your table coming. Its a treat to read. Cheers!

  10. Glad you liked this post. Could the bittergourd you grew be the Chinese variety? I haven't grown it before but I've seen pictures of it. Was it as bitter as our regular bittergourds?

  11. oh so lovely photos.. mouth watering..


Hi, hope you enjoyed reading this post? Tell me what you think about this post; I love hearing from you.
But please note ... if there's a link in the comment, it will not be approved for publishing (sorry, but I'm getting way too much spam with links).