A Fruit Tree Journey Through Taiwan

Fresh fruit

Season Of Sweet Baby Green Mangoes

Taiwan is a Taiwanese fruit lover's paradise. This is an island of plentiful fresh fruit in season. Taiwan grows extraordinary and delicious fruits. These are some of the best in the world. Taiwan has a rich volcanic soil which is a farmers delight. The island is also so small, that all produce travel

There is always ms for short distances. The Taiwanese are privileged to enjoy some of the best bananas, and melons of all kinds. Here you can enjoy guavas and mangoes that are fresh in their season.more than enough fresh fruit in the Morning Market for all those who desire. Picked fresh off the tree, it left for the market just a few hours earlier. Everything is ready to eat and fresh. The most amazing thing you will see is bin after bin of fresh fruits and vegetables. Even the large supermarkets have fresh produce that the farmers brought early in the morning. This island is indeed a fruit lover's paradise.

One of the many amazing fruits growing in this fruit lover's paradise is the Baby Green Mangoes. These are so sweet to taste, they almost melt in your mouth. They are perhaps one of the sweetest mangoes in the world. Taiwan is famous for their juicy fruit that is served over a bed of ice. This island delicacy is a giant mound of frozen mango and ice covered with fresh mango. This is the perfect fresh drink on a hot tropical day. If you are guests at an island ceremony, it is not unusual to see a huge oversized mound of shaved ice with the fresh mango over the top. The Taiwanese love their frozen mango specialty. It is an island delight!

persimmons

Fresh Persimmons

Fresh persimmons abound throughout the island. There are ample of this fresh fruit for all. There is nothing like a bowl of fresh persimmons for breakfast. Persimmon juice is fantastic. However, it is not the fresh persimmons that Taiwan is best known for, but the dried. The area of Hsinpu, with its many hills and very dry weather, together with a strong wind that arrives each fall, makes this area the dried persimmon capital of Taiwan. They have many persimmon trees and a super suitable condition for making dried persimmons naturally. The wind and the sun make this a perfect art of love.

bitter melon

What Is This Warty Strange Fruit?

Bitter Melon is a tropical and subtropical fruit. It is grown for it’s very bitter but edible and valuable fruit. This strange fruit has a very warty exterior and is oblong in shape, much like a cucumber. It is about the same size of a very large cucumber. It is perhaps the world's most bitter tasting fruit. Regardless of its taste, it is often combined with other foods and is widely desired on the island and mainland China. Only in recent years, are other countries starting to discover the many benefits of this strange fruit.

Bitter Melon is an excellent weight-loss fruit. It is a major ingredient in many commercial weight loss products. With so many desiring to lose the added pounds, why not learn the art of cooking with this island powerhouse?

In Chinese Medicine, Bitter Melon has been used for centuries in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. It is favored throughout China for it's a natural way to lower blood sugar levels. While not much research has been done in Western Countries, it is a safe fruit to use in your cooking.

A favorite way to use this amazing fruit is in stews, soups, and stir-fry dishes of many kinds. It also pairs nicely with curry, peanuts, and coconut. This is a basic curry recipe using coconut and bitter melon. I also like to add some raw peanuts:

 

Bitter Melon and Coconut Curry

Bitter gourd1 medium gourd

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp

Dry red chillies – 2 (you can use more or less)

Curry leaves -1 sprig(Find in Asian or Indian Markets)

Onion – 1 medium sliced

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Chili powder – 3/4 tsp (Use hot or mild, according to taste)

Green Chilies--2 (Use hot or mild)

Tomato-- 1 chopped

Coconut -- 1 Cup

Plain Yogurt--1 Tablespoon

Coconut Oil--2 Tablespoons

Salt to taste

Cut the bitter gourd lengthwise, remove the seeds, wash and slice them.  Apply salt and yogurt and keep aside for 15 minutes.  Heat oil in a pan and fry the bitter gourd pieces till golden brown.  In the same oil, simmer mustard seeds and cumin seeds.  Add dry red chillies and curry leaves.  Then add onions and saute till they turn pink.  Now add the spice powders and saute for a minute.  Add tomatoes and green chillies.  Saute till oil separates.  Now add coconut milk and fried bitter gourd pieces.   Mix well and heat through.  Add more salt if needed.  Switch off the flame before it boils. Serve over rice and sprinkle raw peanuts on top if desired.

(Basic recipe taken from saltandspice.org with my modifications and notes.)

Another way that is just catching on is adding it to your morning smoothies. Many things have even more nutrition when used in their raw state. Here is an excellent way to use it in your morning smoothie:

Bitter Melon Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ – 1 small bitter melon
  • ¼ pineapple
  • 1 pear
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash all produce well.
  2. Remove the skin from the pineapple.
  3. Cut the bitter melon in half longways, scoop out the seeds and white flesh with a spoon and juice the outer green of the bitter melon.
  4. All all produce through juicer and enjoy!

SUBSTITUTIONS:

  • Bitter melon – cucumber, grapefruit, winter melon
  • Pineapple – apple, green melon
  • Pear – apple, orange
  • Celery – cucumber, zucchini, chard (silverbeet)
  • Lemon – grapefruit, lime

Servings: 1

 (This recipe is found on the website: REBOOTWITHJOE.COM)
Olives

Taiwan's Preserved Olives

Another unique delicacy is Taiwan's preserved olives. These olives are candied. They are a very sweet and spicy dried fruit. Very fragrant and delicious! There is also a red spicy olive that tastes nothing like an olive. This candied olive has a crispy crunchy texture to it. It is slightly sweet with a mild spice flavor. The plain olive cannot be found here with these salty and sweet Taiwanese Delicacies.

There are many different Olive Trees grown in Taiwan. Some are best used fresh and others canned. Still, others can be dried for use in standard recipes latter. What is notable about the olives that are used for candied olives, is that any variety can be used.

The best way to do candied olives at home is to place 1 cup any kind of olive in 2 cups water. Bring the olives to a boil and cook 2 minutes and then strain. Repeat 6 times with fresh water each time. For the 7th time use 1 quart of water and 2 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Let the olives remain in the syrup overnight. In the morning, drain and roll each olive in sugar and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in a sunny spot on the table to dry. (If you have a gas oven, you can dry in the oven. The pilot light is the perfect temperature.) They are finished when dry and crispy.

This is the perfect treat for a cold winter's night in front of the fireplace. If you think outside the box, there are many Asian treats that you can make in your home. And of course, on your next trip to Taiwan, be sure to taste their candied fruit. The olives are the best!Dragon Fruit

Taiwan's Superfruits

The Longan and Dragon Fruit has been used for thousands of years for good health throughout Asia. Today, the world over, we call them Super-fruits! What has been used throughout Asia for centuries is just now coming to the attention of Westerners. There is a whole world of fruits out there that most people have never heard of. Here are a couple of favorites.

Longan is a fruit that is slightly smaller than a Lychee. It has a brown skin which is smoother than the skin of the Lychee. The Logan and Lychee taste quite similar to one another. The Longan tastes wonderful and has been used for a tonic fruit for centuries in Asia. This delightful fruit when peeled is white. It has been considered an anti-aging fruit in Chinese Medicine for centuries. They also used it for various sexual disorders. Longan fruit has been used successfully by the Chinese for thousands of years medically. This small fruit contains a wealth of powerful antioxidants. It is also very low in calories. Many Taiwanese consider this the perfect fruit. When traveling in the countryside, you will often see several of these trees around their small country homes. The Longan Fruit is one of today's superfruits!

Another one of the incredible superfruits of Taiwan is the Dragon Fruit. It is red on the outside with little horns all around. The most common color of the inside fruit is white with tiny black edible seeds. These are extremely good, but wait till you taste the yellow fruit with black seeds. Just when you think that this tasty fruit can get no better, you will taste a magenta one with the same black seeds. This is the king of the three different varieties. It is also the hardest to find.

These spectacular cactuses have a most amazing flower that mysteriously only blooms at night. If you can catch a glimpse with your flashlight, you will find them to be very beautiful. The bloom opens in the night and dies at the break of day.

A perfect breakfast plate in Taiwan may have a Dragon Fruit, a large Pomegranate, a green Orange, and a huge Persimmon. Taiwan is indeed the Kingdom of Fruit. As a tropical country, all the tropical fruits grow beautifully there. The center of the island has mountains that are near 4,000 feet, making it perfect for fruits that also grow in more temperate zones. There is nowhere else that has so many different types of fruit trees thriving naturally. Taiwan is a land of Superfruits. The Dragon Fruit is just another of the many fruits that grow and thrive on this small island.

Papaya

The Papaya Tree

Our fruit tree journey cannot end without highlighting the Papaya Tree. Though there are so many more fruits that grow and thrive on the Island of  Taiwan, the Papaya is a superstar. The Papaya Tree is perhaps one of the world's favorite fruit trees.

The Taiwanese Papaya is actually a dwarf variety that grows to only around 7 feet or a little more. This is in comparison to the non-dwarf varieties that tour over the others, at around 15 feet.  This papaya is red with the black edible seeds. The scent of this papaya is heavenly. This papaya is well liked by farmers, as it is easier to pick the fruit. There is less chance of crop damage when the fruit is lower to the ground. The Red Lady Papaya is a fast grower and a mega producer. When planted from seed, it will usually produce the second year.

These sweet and delicious fruits of the Red Lady Papaya Tree are smaller than the fruits from the larger trees. They also have a stronger fragrance and are sweeter to taste. They are giving Taiwan a higher yield, as they fruit more often. They are another one of the superfruits of Taiwan.

Our fruit tree journey through Taiwan has been amazing. There are very few places in the world where you can indulge yourself with so many different superfruits at the same time. Taiwan is indeed a fruit lover's paradise.

So what is on your breakfast plate? I think small papaya, some fresh dates, a few figs, and a green orange sounds great. There is nothing like starting the day with a plate of garden fresh fruit. Some freshly baked bread with freshly made butter and tea will complete this perfect island treat.

Are you ready for a Taiwan fruit adventure? Anytime, is a good time, to begin your superfruit journey.

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