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an unknown fruit/vegetable

I have no idea what this is.

But I do know it’s delicious.

I saw it in the grocery store here in Mexico and knew I needed to try it. One of my favourite ways of experiencing a place and a culture is to put it in my mouth, especially if I don’t know what it is.

Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Confused distinctions break down in the face of themselves when confronted with the object unfettered by concept. And as much as we love background information here on hearthstrung, we also love the pure lack of it.

Call me inconsistent but such is the nature of knowledge in the universe. Or something.

Anyway, this was a confounding one. Shaped like an avocado and about the size of a child’s fist, it had a resistant yet smooth skin, green tinged with pink. Halving it revealed springy, juicy flesh, in a gradient from that pink-tinged green to an interior white, surrounding a hollow centre of fuschia, pulpy seeds.

The taste was just as beguiling. It was, above all, sour. But not unpalatably so. It was like a green plum, with the slight bitterness of green apple skin. The flesh was pliant yet crisp, like a cross between a kiwi and a jicama.

I experimented with it at lunch, slicing it thinly and tossing it with a bit of salt and fennel seeds.

It was a bizarre but delightful combination – the salt tamed the careening sourness, with the fennel seeds adding aroma, a little sweetness, and a fun textural contrast.

I expanded on this idea for dinner later that night, making a salad with adult spinach, these guys, thinly sliced dried peaches, toasted fennel seeds, and a dressing of yoghurt and tarragon mustard.

If you have any idea what this fruit/vegetable is called, let me know! I’m sort of intensely curious.

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This entry was published on Monday, December 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm. It’s filed under day-to-day eats, experiments, food and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

9 thoughts on “an unknown fruit/vegetable

  1. Hi Josh,
    That’s a cactus pear!

  2. Thank you both!! That makes so much sense. It is pear-shaped, and the surface is similar to nopales.

  3. An unripe one. If you eat cactus pears properly they are all red inside and sweet (at least the ones I eat with the Sicilians who love them).
    Marnie

  4. ooh that makes sense. It had that tartness of an unripe fruit. I wonder how ripe this one gets if you leave it out, I’ll have to try.

    thanks for the tip! and happy birthday!

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