domingo, 29 de septiembre de 2013

Yaga--the marshmallow fruit!

A few months ago, I was at a friend´s house, and she showed me this huge, spiky, ugly fruit that her husband brought home on a whim.  We had no idea what to do with it, but dug into it, just to see how ugly it looked on the inside. 

It just got more and more interesting--but then came the goo!  Sticky, white liquid (rather like Elmer´s glue, without the smell) seeped out of every invisible fruit vein that me must have sliced through. I think we had to hold it over the sink to let it drain, then we were able to explore some more. 

The ¨meat¨ of the fruit started to look more and more like thin flower petals.  We braved it and tasted chunks, anxiously casting each other glances to see if we´d keel over from eating a part that was (unbeknownst to us) unedible.  No problems there.  The fruit was chewy and sweet.  It didn´t have much flavor, but the faint taste of that fake banana ¨flavor¨ (like that found in banana-flavored gum, popscicles, etc).  I know that turned most of you off, but, fortunately for me, I LOVE fake banana flavor. 

A few weeks after I had tried it at my friend´s house, I went to the store and was almost tempted to buy one.  It was pretty intriguing.  Furthermore, HEB must have gotten tired of people passing over their exotic fruits for lack of knowing what to do with them, as there was a full paper attached to the price sign, explaining what these fruits are. 

First of all, they´re called ¨yagas¨.  To me, they looked like pictures I´ve seen of breadfruit.  However, I´ve never seen breadfruit in real life, so I´ll take HEB´s word for it and call it a yaga.  They grow in Nayarit, a small state on the Pacific coast, just north of Puerto Vallarta.  But, given their breadfruit-y looks, I´m willing to bet that they have their roots in Asia.  HEB also informed me that yagas can be eaten while still green, mature, fried, boiled, steamed, mashed (basically any way one could possibly cook a fruit).  The yaga tree, or fruit--I´m not sure which--also provides latex.  So, if you have a latex allergy, do NOT attempt to eat one.

However, the thing is about the size of a hefty six-month-old baby, and when weighing it out for a price check, found out that it priced out at well over 100 pesos.  As intriguing as it was, I wasn´t going to spend that much on a fruit that I may or may not eat. 

Months have now passed, and HEB is continuing to wise up.  Today, I noticed quarter-sections of yaga.  And the price had gone down.  Considerably. 

Yaga, today is your lucky day.

I bought one.  Hacked into it and cut it up into chunks.  Word to the wise, that sticky stuff is a bear to get off one´s hands, knives, cutting board, etc.  Regular dish soap doesn´t do much to unstick anything.  JabonZote proved to be much more useful.  Pretty intense scrubbing was still necessary, but the gunk eventually came off.  Today.

The flower petal-y parts still proved to be intriguing, but still on the bland and chewy side.  But, while hacking up the yaga, I found the real jewel--each rock-sized seed was nestled in an orange bed of meaty fruit!  This must be the part for baking, frying, boiling, and mashing!  This part had flavor!  And texure that doesn´t make me worry about my digestive tract for the next few days!
Yes, it was worth taking a chance on the yaga.

I tried to talk Clara into it, by describing the flavor like a marshmallow--an honest description.  Contrary to her nature, she actually tried it!  And she said she liked it!  However, she did not have a second piece.  Joey tried a wee bit and, unsurprisingly did not seem overly impressed.

I, however, ate probably more than I should have eaten on a first sitting, so a follow-up post may have to do with what the yaga did to me.  Oops.  But here´s hoping that´s not the case.

So, as long as I´m not in the bathroom all night, I´m looking forward to having more yaga tomorrow.

2 comentarios :

I'm the Mami dijo...

So fun! I havent ever tried those, look like a fun experience. Ou local supers sell the heavier/larger fruits in quarters too, like calabaza de castillo . Otherwise, people wouldnt buy any!

I must look for this, I am way into trying new , weird looking foods. :)

Jill dijo...

Ooo--if you find one, try it! They are really good once you get to the orange parts around the seed!

I am so glad HEB wised-up and cut it up.

Because yes, nobody was buying them.

And I´ve been wanting to try calabaza de castillo. Do you just bake it? Do you add anything to it? Looks like a nice squash to add cinnamon and butter to, like sweet potato. But if you´ve got other [sugar free] suggestions, send them my way!