It’s no secret that I love food. Nor is it a secret that I sometimes find myself totally in awe of the amazing beauty that occurs in nature. The vibrant colors, the interesting yet somehow perfectly symmetrical shapes…it really is kind of crazy to think about.
However, just like people, not all foods are naturally beautiful. Today’s post is dedicated to some of the unpretty members of food society, because they should know that I love them anyway.
First, let’s say hello to fava beans. Being a huge fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, I’ve eaten favas (or “fool” [ha] as they’re sometimes called) many a time. But I had never actually cooked them myself until yesterday. Whole Foods had fresh favas in the pod on sale and I just couldn’t resist. So I bought them and brought them home. And found myself looking at this:
They look like a witch’s fingers. Unpretty.
And they have a weird, soft texture when you hold them. Also, I had no idea what to do with them. So I turned to the trusty interwebs and learned that to prepare favas, you must first take them out of the pods.
Yeah, the inside of the pods is weird and fuzzy.
Then, you parboil them for 3 minutes in a pot of salted water. After three minutes are up, drain the boiling water and immediately shock the beans by dumping them into a bowl of ice water. Let them sit for a minute or two. Then pull them out and slide off their outer coating with ease.
Here they are with coating still on:
After pulling off the coating, you are left with this:
Beautiful, deep, vibrant spring green. See? Inner beauty is a real thing. From this point you can either eat them raw, put in a salad, or saute them up with a little salt and garlic and enjoy that way. A+.
Next up is a cherimoya. A what?! So, a little backstory…I saw this on the Vegan Favorites blog two days ago and thought three things: 1) what in God’s name is a cherimoya? 2) How cool is it that there are still so many fruits and vegetables in the world that I’ve never even heard of? and 3) Hot damn, that thing looks weird. It looks like an apple and an artichoke had a deformed baby. Anyway, in the VF blogpost they described the cherimoya as tasting like a cross between an apple and a banana. Huh?? Also, they mentioned that it was only available in the Bay area for a very short time each year. So I’m thinking, well, if ever I do travel to California, I’d like to try this wacky fruit.
Then yesterday I go into Whole Foods and wouldn’t ya know…they’ve got cherimoyas. And a little placard description that characterizes the taste as being a cross between a pineapple and a banana. Now my curiosity was really piqued. And…they were $8.99 a pound. Eight friggin ninety-nine a pound! So that, my friends, was my May Whole Foods splurge.
I brought the fruit home, and took the above photos. We stared at each other for a few minutes. Then I went to talk to the interwebs again. Turns out, this fruit has its own website. Yup. Cherimoya.com is a real thing. Unpretty fruit celebrities do exist.
Unlike the fava beans, the cherimoya is not pretty on the outside or the inside. Here is the fruit:
Plus, it’s a huge, messy pain to eat because you need to remove the seeds. This is the refuse left from me extracting the edible pulp of one fruit:
But what does it taste like? you ask. Let’s just say that after I took my first bite I actually laughed out loud. It tastes like all of the things the descriptions promised, and I also think it tastes like eggnog. Or, more specifically, it has a creamy texture and faint nutmeg flavor. I know, weird. If, like me, you live in a place that maybe once a year gets a shipment of unusual produce from the west coast or some tropical region (my Whole Foods was also selling fresh starfruit and passionfruit yesterday…I have never seen those here before), my advice is to snatch it up. Trying new things is so much fun, and so worth your time and a few extra nickels. Who knows, you might just discover that your outsides are cool and your insides are blue…
Yeah, it’s been in my head since I came up with the idea for this title’s post yesterday: