Monday, July 16, 2007

Queenly fruity delights

J is all smiles when her "kung-kung" appeared with a bagful of mangosteens which are in season now.

The old man started to reminisce about how it used to be so cheap when kampung folks would sell them by the basket at RM10 by the roadside. There can be upto 500 fruits in that one big rattan basket alone!

And a few years ago, he could still buy them at RM12 for 100 of them in a plastic bag.

Today, he paid RM2.50 for a bunch of 10 fruits and managed to get a Ringgit off for buying 4 bunches! Whoever says local fruits are cheap? Not when you consider that someone might be paid 10 mangosteens for an hour's work of tapping rubber in a mosquito-infested plantation!

Judging from how expensive these fruits are getting, the mangosteens can literally live up to their "queenly" tag!

Anyway, I noticed 2 weeks ago that the local night markets were flooded with mangosteens from Thailand. It seems like a pity to me that these days, when you buy local fruits, it is most likely not "local" at all.

Which is why I always make a point to ask the fruit vendor where the fruits come from. I think it is important that we support our local growers so that our agriculture industry can survive and thrive.

It would be very sad if nobody wants to plant local fruits commercially because it just isn't profitable enough to compete against the cheaper imports, wouldn't it?

So, J and her little brother had a happy afternoon today, eating mangosteens grown by local folks in Jelebu.

And I made the same mistake I did last year - I was too slow to remind them not to wipe their purple-stained hands onto their shirts. Oh well! :-)


From the Wikipedia:-

Before ripening, the mangosteen shell is fibrous and firm, but becomes soft and easy to pry open when the fruit ripens. To open a mangosteen, the shell is usually broken apart by scoring it with a knife; one holds the fruit in both hands, prying gently with the thumbs until the rind cracks. It is then easy to pull the halves apart along the crack and remove the fruit, taking care with the purple, inky exocarp juice containing pigments that are an avid dye on skin and fabric.

From me:-

The locals don't use a knife to open the fruit. What we normally do is to hold onto the stem of the fruit and pull the top off. Using both thumbs and fingers to hold the fruit upright, we "pinch" it until the rind cracks and then pull the halves apart to reveal the white fleshy fruit.

And yes, you really must be careful with the juice from the rind because it is almost impossible to get the stain off fabrics.

And do you also know that you can tell how many sections the fruit contains inside by just looking at the bottom of the rind?

Try it!

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Blogger Maverick SM said...

This is my most favoured fruit...till today!!!!

16/7/07 23:18  
Blogger Helen said...

Welcome back!

I love mangosteen but according to my mother, it's not too healthy for women to take. Plenty of discharge wor.. Any truth in it? lol

A lot of local fruits are getting more expensive because nobody is planting them or their land are used for other purposes.

Take the famous Tambun Pomelos. THey took back the land and send most of the farmers off. WTF? The land in Tambun is suitable for growing Limau Bali and it is one of the main attraction in Ipoh. The tinmines are gone.... now Limau Bali too.... what has Ipoh got to offer?

18/7/07 00:06  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Mave: My girl J will surely give you a "thumbs up"!! ;-)

Helen: I'm probably not the right person to ask about food taboos - I ate lots of pineapples & watermelons and drank coconut water throughout my pregnancies & didn't suffer for it! :-)

Oh, I love Tambun pomelos! But they are really getting so pricey these days - and hard to come by over here. And you're right - one day Ipoh will probably be famous only for it's Ipoh White Coffee, huh?? Duh ...

18/7/07 16:28  
Blogger H J Angus said...

ipoh famous for kuay teow (sp?) and cheap food(maybe not so cheap now!)

popiah in theatre st is one of the best in Malaysia.

Sadly I seldom get back to my hometown.

As for mangosteens there were about 10 trees where I stayed and I used to pluck baskets.

Only recently I bought some in JB at RM10 for 3kg and it works out at RM0.30 each.

24/8/07 17:51  

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