Monday, August 04, 2008

Some fruiting plants in our yard right now.

Today I'm including a few pictures from the fruits and flowers in our yard right now. (Click on the pictures for a larger, more detailed view.) This year is so different from last year when the late frost and drought killed off everything that blossomed or fruited. The picture of the Zinnia is "just for pretty." Our pear trees are heavily laden with fruit, bending down the branches. Our figs are just beginning to ripen, and we're going to have so many that we won't be able to eat them all. The purple Amaranth (there is a green variety) is a "first time" experiment my husband is trying this year, so we have just a few plants to see if they thrive or not. (In the background of the picture of the Amaranth there is the gate leading to my poultry yard. You can see how stepping into my poultry yard is like stepping into a different and hidden world.) Amaranth is a grain, and is high in protein. My husband says of this plant, " Although allegedly indigenous to the New World, it is quite common in Europe and Asia. Amaranth comes from the Greek amaranthos (αμάρανθος) the "un-withering," or “fadeless” (flower). Another Greek favorite of this fruit is more colloquially known as “vlita” in Greece [Gr. βλήτα pronounced ‘VLEE-tah’]. " If we can get them to thrive, perhaps we will have an alternative source of grain if we need it. Perhaps. Finally, one of many "hands" of Pawpaws on our three Pawpaw trees. I love this fruit. I think it tastes like a cross between Pineapple Guava and Grapes, but others might not agree. It is soft and "custardy" inside and just lovely to eat. My husband says of this fruit, "This is now a rare North American fruit since it is an understory plant. When the Eastern forests' original, indigenous, old growth was cut down, the saplings of the Pawpaw could not tolerate the direct ultraviolet light from the sun and died. During the nineteenth century, the Dept. of Agriculture made very good efforts to improve the taste and varieties of this fruit. Unfortunately, they do not transport well and must be consumed within several days of becoming ripe. So, with the advent of mass transportation of fruits and vegetables in the 20th century, there was very little economic interest in the Pawpaw. It is historically interesting that during the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific Ocean there arose a circumstance in which the party was starving. They asked the Indians in the area for help, and they directed them to a grove of Pawpaws for sustenance. Thusly the success of this Expedition was directly linked to a North American fruit that is unknown to most people. The nutritional value, including protein, anti-bacterial, and anti-carcinogenic qualities are significant and are still being explored. Its scientific name is Asimina triloba, and is in the "custard apple" family. All of its relatives appear to be native to the tropics, which is evident by the fruit's appearance."

Something to think about:

If you are praised, be silent. If you are scolded, be silent.
If you incur losses, be silent. If you receive profit, be silent.
If you are satiated, be silent. If you are hungry, also be silent.
And do not be afraid that there will be no fruit when all dies
down; there will be! Not everything will die down. Energy will
appear; and what energy!

--St. Feofil, the Fool for Christ


  1. What absolutely Beautiful fruits!! I wish I lived closer to you as I would take some of those figs off your hands. My grandmom used to have a fig tree in the yard when we lived in the middle of the city of Philadelphia.

    Sigh. What a lovely memory.

    I am not familiar with the pawpaws. Can they be found in a foodstore? I wonder if I would be allergic to them? Hm...

    Another potential fruit to explore!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. No, Philippa, I doubt that you'd find Pawpaws in a food store. They do not transport well, and must be eaten within a few days of becoming ripe. The tree can be found growing practically all over the "lower 48," though, so if you're lucky enough to know someone who has a Pawpaw tree in their yard, you might be able to wheedle some fruit from them. As my dh said, though, the tree is becoming rare because it is at "second story" tree and since most of the forests of this nation have been cut down, they cannot live in the direct light of the sun.

  3. I've never actually seen a PawPaw, just know the song! Awesome.

    What do they taste like?

  4. Mimi, to me they taste like a cross between a Pineapple Guava and Grapes. If you've never had a Pineapple Guava, it is a very fresh taste with just a hint of a pineapple-y taste. Pawpaws taste very fresh and cool like white grapes with a hint of pineapple. Their insides are soft with a custardy texture, so you eat them by cutting them in half and scooping out the fruit with a spoon.

  5. Interesting. I'd have never guessed that was their taste. They sound so wonderful, sigh! Enjoy!

  6. Love Paw-Paws! We are unable to find any around us, and no one seems to have any at the Saturday Farmer's Market we have on the square during the summers. Sigh. It's been a looooong time since I had one. Will have to investigate if anyone we know around her has a tree.

    Figs are good, though. Think I'll risk my black thumb and my usual "no yard work" dictum, and try putting in a fig tree next year.