I’ve written about fruit in Kauai before, but there is so much to be had right in my new backyard that I am inclined to write about it again. This new place in Kalaheo had a vegetable garden already started.
So I got right at it and cleaned it up. It’s already giving me roma and yellow pear tomatoes and tons of Hawaiian hot peppers, which is great for me because I like things spicy.
I can mix up a guacamole from pickings in the yard, buttery green avocados, colorful little hot peppers and tiny tart key limes.
The banana harvest hangs from the ceiling of the deck, and serves up enough bananas for all of our needs. These are small sized bananas but have much the same flavor and texture of the bananas I was used to in the supermarkets on the mainland. Chris likes these best. I prefer the custard-like sweetness of a fat apple banana, but i’ll always enjoy those that are free.
Papayas have many uses. They can be eaten raw and are melon like. Papaya can be used green and cooked like a squash or a root vegetable. The seeds are edible and can be used as a black pepper substitute and to make a wonderful papaya seed salad dressing that is very popular here. For tough meat…..unripe papaya can be used as a meat tenderizer. The unripe fruit also contains a latex. The stalks can be used to make rope. They are rich in beta carotene and vitamin C. It seems if you have papaya you need little else.
The trick with figs is letting them fully mature on the tree. A fig picked too soon will ooze a white liquid from the stem and never ripen completely. Remember the birds are keeping and eye on the ripening figs too. It can be quite a contest to see who gets them first.
Wax or java apples, hang from a tree just off our deck. In my research I found the white or “pearl” wax apples bring the highest price at market. Our’s are free. They are of unusual flavor slightly acidic and sweet with a moist crunchy texture. It doesn’t taste like an apple, nor does it have the flavor or the density of an apple. It’s refreshing and juicy. To eat, the core is removed and the fruit is served uncut, in order to preserve the unique bell shape presentation. In island cuisine, the fruit is frequently used in salads, as well in with lighty sauteed dishes.
How to grow a coconut palm:
Find a coconut. Stick it in moist soil – half buried – for a month or two and if a shoot doesn’t emerge then it is a sterile seed. No time to waste fooling around month after month with sterile seeds. Do it the Rene way, find one already sprouting, throw it in a pot with dirt, place on deck, water and enjoy.