New Papaya Tree

IMG_3330My newest papaya plant is full of fruit. This tree is only 7’ tall so the fruit will be easy to pick once they are ripe. Papaya is also called lechosa and fruta bomba in Spanish. In Australia and some countries of the Caribbean, it is called papaw or pawpaw. The mature fruit can weigh up to 20 pounds!

The Papaya Whisperer

IMG_3354 (3)I am so thankful to my gardener for helping me cut down these large papayas from my very tall papaya tree. I just couldn’t maneuver the fruit-picking pole between the high hedges and the electrical wires to get at these beauties. He got them easy…although a fourth papaya was accidentally knocked into the yard of my NeighborWithCameras. We weren’t able to retrieve it because there is a wall protecting their side yard from mine, not to mention the security cameras trained on us. I hope they are grateful for the tasty treat that fell out of the heavens onto their grass!

A Common Plant

IMG_3136(2)Do you recognize this leaf? It belongs to a common plant, grown in many people’s yards. It’s a Monstera Deliciosa, also known as Ceriman, Split-Leaf Philodendron or Swiss-Cheese Plant. I first wrote about Monstera last July when mine began to fill with fruit. What’s special about Ceriman is that it is one of few plants that flower and fruit in full shade. And most people don’t know that they can actually eat the fruit. Monstera can also be grown in a planter, and as a houseplant, though it is unlikely to produce fruit like this.

If you want to use the fruit, Monstera is best grown at temperatures of 20–30 °C (68–86 °F). It requires shade and likes high humidity.  The fruit begins to ripen when the hexagonal green scales start to lift off naturally. It takes about a week for all the scales to come off, so one piece of fruit is harvested over several days–not all at once. As the scales come off, you scrape off the moist flesh underneath, which is what you eat. With the piece of fruit in the picture it took 9 days for all the scales to fall off. Since I wasn’t going to use it right away, I scraped the flesh off into a container and froze it every few days, until the entire fruit was finished ripening. A warning is warranted here—don’t force the scales off! You need to let it ripen naturally to the point where the scales lift-off on their own. Then you can eat the flesh underneath. If you eat the flesh before it is fully ripe, it could cause severe irritation in your mouth and throat. If you do this once (as I did the first time I attempted to eat the fruit), you won’t do it again!

Monstera is high in potassium and vitamin C. It tastes like a blend of pineapple and banana. Here are some of my recommendations for how to eat the ripe fruit: mix it into a fruit salad, add it to smoothies, put it on granola or on top of oatmeal, sprinkle it on salads.

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Farm to Table

IMG_2740 (2)I recently had the pleasure of attending one of Chef Allen Susser’s Vegetarian Farm-To-Table Dinners at The Café at Books & Books, Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami. I was so entranced with the delicious food and lively conversation at the table—dinner is served “family-style” with everyone sitting together—that I almost forgot to take pictures. I only managed to get this one photo of one of the appetizers and I’m not sure what all the ingredients in it are… but it was VEEERRY TASTY! (Chef Allen, if you are reading this, please let me know what is in this delectable dish.)

The tables where set up in the plaza, in the middle of a small Farmers’ Market. We were served 5 courses–all made with locally-sourced, fresh ingredients–while listening to live music. And there was also free-flowing wine. After the meal, some of the folks from the Farmers’ Market talked about what they produce. Part of Chef Allen’s vision with these events is for people to learn where the food comes from and to meet/support the local farmers. The Farm-to-Table Dinners are every Monday night at 6:30 and the Farmers’ Market starts at 4. If you live in south Florida, I highly recommend coming to one of the Dinners and/or visiting the Farmers Market. I’ll be there this Monday, again, and I promise to take more pictures!

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Frenchboro Flower

IMG_1421 frenchboro (2)“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.”

–  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Highest Version

orange flower (2)I came across this great quote from fellow blogger Madeline Johnson: “What would the highest version of myself do in this moment? What would the bravest, most fearless, strongest, happiest, calmest version of me do right now?” Good to think about for a few days…

I photographed this flower in the medieval walled town of Concarneau, France. Anyone identify it?

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Flowers of the World

IMG_1491 (2)I love beautiful flowers and take lots of pictures of them while I am traveling in the U.S. and all over the world. They don’t grow abundantly in Miami. It’s just too hot in South Florida for a large variety of flowering plants. Here’s one from a recent trip in Maine. It was taken in Bar Harbor. Can anyone identify it?

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Blueberry/Banana/Pineapple Smoothie

57 (2)In a large blender add 2 cups blueberries and 2 ripe bananas. Then fill the rest of the blender with equal parts pineapple and water and/or ice. If you don’t have fresh pineapple, you can use pineapple juice instead.

I want to thank everyone who has read my posts during my 100-Day Project of writing about edible gardening—stories about plants & people. This is the 100th day! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your comments and have learned so much from you while reading your blogs and remarks. It’s also been such a pleasure to meet so many of you in the blogging community. I’m going to take a couple of weeks off from writing now to think about how I am going to continue… Perhaps I’ll post once or twice a week or change focus a bit. Please feel free to let me know what you’ve liked or not liked…

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Banana Flower

59 (2)The first bananas are growing on my Goldfinger Banana plant. This plant is approximately 12’ tall. When the high winds started in Miami due to a possible impending storm, I decided to cut the flower off so that the plant wouldn’t be so top heavy. Banana plants don’t do well in high winds; they tend to topple over. The flower weighed close to 3 pounds!

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Pomegranate

16 (2)My little pomegranate tree is starting to fruit. This is a dwarf variety, good for growing in planters. It does best in zones 7 through 11. The tree reaches a height and width of approximately 3 feet.

 
 
© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.