Rare tropical delicacies can grow in our climate – with work - East Valley Tribune: At Home

Rare tropical delicacies can grow in our climate – with work

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Posted: Friday, June 1, 2007 3:02 pm | Updated: 6:53 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Many fruits, particularly tropical varieties, are at the height of their season and it’s tempting to snatch up a bunch of them while they’re on sale at your favorite market or ripe on the trees in your garden.

Many fruits, particularly tropical varieties, are at the height of their season and it’s tempting to snatch up a bunch of them while they’re on sale at your favorite market or ripe on the trees in your garden.

But what to do with a pile of mangos?

Jacqueline Janes is a member of the Arizona Rare Fruit Growers club, with many of its members in the East Valley.

AZRFG is a nonprofit club, begun in 1996. Its purpose is “to promote the culture and preservation of fruiting plants that most would not associate with Arizona’s arid climate,” according to Janes. Plants such as plantains, bananas and papayas.

Club members experiment with methods for adapting these rare fruits to our area’s growing conditions, which Janes describes as “somewhat hostile.”

The fruits of their labors are often successful, and tasting these tropical fruits right from the garden is well worth the effort.

Janes and the other club members have been experimenting with their crops for years and shared with us some recipes for using fruits such as guavas, mangos and papayas to maximize their flavors while making sure no delicious fruit goes to waste.

Guava Spread

2 cups guava

1 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoons lemon rind finely chopped

Approximately 2 cups sugar

Procedure:

1. De-seed guavas and slice (use apple corer to de-seed, or cut in half and use melon baller).

2. Place in microwaveable pan.

3. Add lemon juice and lemon rind.

4. Cook until juice forms and guava is soft, approximately 30 seconds.

5. Add sugar to taste, approximately equal parts of sugar and guava.

6. Cook until thickened and moisture is reduced.

Source: Peggy Randolph

Mango or Papaya Salsa

2 cups ripe mango or papaya, diced

2 jalapenos, finely chopped

1/3 cup sweet yellow or red onion, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon vinegar

Juice from one-half lime

Salt to taste

Procedure:

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Toss thoroughly and serve or let stand in refrigerator for an hour to allow flavors to blend.

Source: Robert Messenger and Jacqueline Janes

Robert’s Tortilla Apple Pie

4 medium sized sweet apples (gala, Fuji, pink lady, etc.)

1/4 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon (old-fashioned cinnamon)

1/4 cup cup granulated sugar

3 flour tortillas (large enough to cover an 8-inch pie pan)

Approximately 3 tablespoons margarine or butter

Procedure:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel, core and slice apples into 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch slices and place in a bowl.

3. Add sugar and cinnamon and mix together thoroughly.

4. Spread butter or margarine on one side of each of the tortillas, leaving the outer 1/2 inch unbuttered.

5. Place one tortilla, butter side up, into an 8-inch pie pan, gently pressing it into the bottom of the pan.

6. Place approximately half of the apple mixture into the pie pan and cover with another tortilla, butter side up.

7. Spread remaining apples evenly into the pie pan. Cover with remaining tortilla, butter side up, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges of the tortillas turns golden brown.

Source: Robert Messenger

Sweet Sauteed Plantains

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 ripe plantains, peeled and cut in half crosswise and lengthwise.

2 tablespoons brown sugar (granulated sugar may be substituted)

1/2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon (sometimes sold as Mexican cinnamon)

Procedure:

1. Melt butter in skillet on medium heat.

2. Add plantains and sprinkle half of sugar and cinnamon on top. Saute for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

3. Turn plantains and sprinkle remaining sugar and cinnamon on top. Saute about 3 more minutes, or until golden brown.

4. Remove from skillet, place on serving plate and drizzle remaining sauce from pan over the top of the plantains.

Source: Robert Messenger

Mango Margarita

Yield: 2 servings

1 large mango cut into cubes

4 ounces tequila

1 1/2 ounces triple sec

8 ounces limeade

1/2 tray ice cubes

Procedure:

1. Place mango cubes into a blender and puree until smooth.

2. Add tequila, triple sec, limeade, and ice cubes and blend until ice is crushed completely.

Source: Jacqueline Janes

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