Saturday, April 6, 2013

HG 101

I'm hard pressed to come up with anything more fun than gathering sustenance from on the ground, under the ground, in trees, in bushes, and the sky above. Our garden is plodding slowly along, but that hasn't stopped us from reaping a rich harvest of mulberries, plums (tiny sour ones really good for pickling), coconuts, loquats, veggies (carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, etc. from neighbors. Ours our growing too slowly), passion fruit (well, about five), and custard apple. This plot of rented land came replete with fruit trees. We are waiting for the mangoes, jack fruit, guavas and avocados. It is only a matter of time when we declare war on the monkeys.
The plums came from our neighbors' orchard which they are no longer tending. We all went one morning and picked as many as we could. We rubbed them in salt, soaked them in sugar water, and put them in the refrigerator. A perfect snack.
We are surrounded by custard apple orchards, so every now and then, someone gives us some.
We have one avocado tree, whose little thumb sized fruits I just encased in bags today. We hope to have more avocados from the same neighbors (let me just say kind, good friends) who let us pick their plums. They let us help bag their trees these few days. They said if all goes well (no big typhoons or anything), there will be more than enough avocados for both families.
Today, I took a short walk up the road. There are coconut trees everywhere. We already ate all of our mature coconuts, and none have dropped recently. So when I saw a whole row of dry, brown coconuts, I couldn't resist. I took one in each arm and headed back home. We hacked one open with an ax, chopped out the flesh (ate some), sterilized it in hot water, put it in the blender with warm water, squeezed the liquid from the pulp with a cheese cloth, and admired the creamy off white milk.
We have the gathering part down; now we just need to work on the hunting.
I love Taidong


  1. Wow. I must show this one to my Farmer - he will positively drool!! Are custard apples the same thing as cherimoyas? We LOVE ... !!

  2. No drool, but lots of exclamations. :) Scott says "sounds fantastic! I have a potted mango here, and dream of unlimited mangos. Jackfruit!! Do you have guava? Ours did well in a pot ... till I froze it this year. Are you familiar with white sapote?" (Obviously Scott would love to be living a double life in the tropics somewhere.)

  3. Ha! You guys need to come visit. I'm going to attempt jackfruit jam, if the monkeys will let me. We saw three this morning. (I think they are stealing eggs) Yes, we have guava trees, but I'm not sure if we will get much from them. Again, monkeys. We do, however, walk up the road and pick some from the tree that no one seems to care about... Let me look up cherimoya and sapote... Hmm, the cherimoya looks similar to the custard apple. Custard apples have more defined segments. There is also a fruit that is a cross between a pinapple and custard apple that looks almost the same. Not sure if it is. They are all delicious. White sapote! I've never heard of it, nor have I seen it in these parts! Suddenly I want to try one. Did they have them in Japan? I can't believe you guys are succeeding at mango and (almost) guava! Amazing. Hats off to Scott for his perseverence!

  4. Scott writing: That would be awesome to visit your tropical fruitopia. White sapote is an american subtropical fruit that is soft fleshed and tastes like light caramel and pear. They go splat when they hit the ground, so are usually picked hard-ripe. Both white sapote and cherimoya are California grown. There are a lot of different custard apple cousins. We can grow a cold hardy one here in PA called pawpaw. All the others are subtropical--cherimoya, soursop, sweetsop, atemoya, rollinia, etc. Do you have kiwi vines?

  5. Hi Scott! Sorry; I just found this post now. I wonder if I can get blogger to alert me to new posts. So we should be able to grow the white sapote here, right? I need to look into that.
    No, we don't have kiwi vines (didn't know kiwi grew on vines :P), but I would love to grow some if possible. All the kiwi we buy are imported, so I have a hunch there must be some obstacle to growing them here.