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!

Making Dehydrated Treats

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Dehydrated Star Fruit

I have wanted a Food Dehydrator for some time and had begun researching which one to buy. So when I read my sister’s email a couple of weeks ago, “What do you want for Christmas?” I replied with a model number. Sure enough, Santa promptly delivered the much-anticipated Food Dehydrator… thanks to my sister & her husband! For my first batch, I sliced-up fresh star fruit, papaya and banana. These fruits were all from my trees. I also sliced some fresh carrots; and lastly I added some frozen string beans. I assembled all the pieces on the trays, stacked them on top of each other, put on the top, set the temperature and turned the gizmo on. I checked the progress every few hours. It was not a quick process. I was surprised that it took approximately 12 hours for everything to be fully dried.

Of all my friends and family who tasted the assorted foods I dried, most people liked the star fruit the best. It just had a great texture and taste. It was a huge hit. The papaya and banana were also excellent. Now for the failures: the carrots felt and tasted like leather; and the string beans had a strange chewy consistency. I’m not sure what I did wrong with the carrots. As for the string beans, I’m going to try fresh beans next time, instead of frozen, to see if this makes a difference.

Happy New Year everyone. Make it a great one!!!!

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!

Strawberry/Papaya/Banana Smoothie

FullSizeRender (2)Love smoothies! I drink some sort of fruit concoction every morning, usually made with at least 3 different fruits; so I get a whole bunch of different vitamins & nutrients in one glass. If I don’t DRINK fruit, I’ll EAT the whole fresh fruits throughout the day.

SMOOTHIE RECIPE: Blend equal parts strawberries and papaya, plus 1 or 2 bananas, with water and/or ice to desired consistency. If you want to make this as a shake instead, substitute the water/ice with milk or yogurt or ice cream (nut, soy or dairy–whatever your preference is).

 
 
© 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.

Come Get Me

01f3ae0e246a (3)There are three papayas left on the tree from the latest crop: one ripe & ready to be picked, and two still growing. This tree was already in my yard when I moved here. It’s quite tall so it’s a little difficult to pick the fruit. I’ve planted a couple more trees. One of them I started from seeds from a tree in my old place. It is just starting to grow little fruits.  The other is only a seedling, started from seeds I got at the Fairchild Tropical Garden. Papaya is very easy to propagate. All you need to do is plant the seeds that come from the middle of the fruit. For more information about papaya, a picture of a cut fruit and a recipe click on  Papaya/Soursop Smoothie or Shake or click on my easy Papaya/Carambola Smoothie Papaya/Carambola Smoothie

© 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.

Papaya/Soursop Smoothie or Shake

IMG_0774 (2) papaya cutYesterday’s smoothie was Papaya/Carambola. Today I made one with Papaya, Soursop and Banana. Papaya is often called Fruta Bomba or Lechosa in Spanish. It has the consistency of mango but is a deeper color. Soursop is the fruit of Annona muricata, and is commonly called Guanábana in Spanish. The scooped-out pulp is sweet and creamy. Here in South Florida, many people use the Spanish common names of fruits. If you were to say “Soursop” they would look at you quizzically, but then you say “Guanábana” and they’re like “Yea, I know that fruit…”

RECIPE Ingredients: equal parts Papaya and Soursop, 1 or 2 Bananas (optional), enough water or milk to blend to desired consistency. You can use fresh or frozen fruit. The milk can be dairy, soy or nut milk–whatever your preference is.

Directions: If using fresh fruit, cut the Papaya & Soursop lengthwise. Slice the peel off of the Papaya and Soursop and peel the Bananas. Discard the peels. Discard the seeds from the Papaya and Soursop. Put all the ingredients in the blender and add water if you want a smoothie or milk if you want a shake. The bananas aren’t necessary, so if you don’t have any or don’t want to add them, that’s perfectly okay. I like to blend several fruits, if I have them, to maximize nutritional value.

Soursop (guanabana)
Soursop (guanabana)

© 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.

Give Fruit: Make People Happy

IMG_0777 (2) papaya carambolaToday was the day that Jorge, the gardener, and his assistant came to do yard care. They maintain most of the yards on my street on a bi-weekly basis. It was a hot, humid day, as usual. Even though they have a cooler full of water in their truck that they go to, to satiate their thirst; occasionally I make a pitcher of fruit smoothie and leave it on my back patio for them. When I’ve been around to see them drink it, I’ve noticed that they don’t guzzle it down fast, standing up. Rather, they serve themselves a large plastic cup from the pitcher and go sit in the shade to savor the refreshing drink. It kind of reminds me of my macaw. When I give him something to eat he particularly likes, he doesn’t devour it on the spot. Instead he carries it to the highest perch in his cage and there he’ll proceed to eat. I think he can better watch his surroundings from the high perch and make sure no one takes away his prize.

The fruit concoction I made today was a Papaya/Carambola Smoothie. The Papaya, I picked from my tree in the morning, and the Carambola (Star Fruit) I had picked a few months ago and frozen. It so happened that Ryan, the plumber, was in my house this morning doing some work in my kitchen during the smoothie ritual. So he received the first cup before I took the rest of the pitcher out to the gardeners. Ryan had never tried papaya before and was surprised by how sweet and tasty it was. I didn’t watch the gardeners, but I suspect they found a cool place to sit and relax while sipping their libation. And they probably had smiles on their faces.

RECIPE: Slice the papaya length-wise, scoop out the seeds and discard them. Slice the Carambola and discard the seeds. I put equal parts of the Papaya & Carambola in the blender and add enough ice & water to get a thick, creamy consistency when it is blended.

© 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.