Part Four: S„o Josť do Rio PrÍto, Brazil
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had a ball, wandering from stall to stall, and my shopping was punctuated
with new discoveries every few yards. There are many varieties of
oranges in Brazil, including limas (which are not
limes, but a bittersweet orange) and laranja-lima,
also called laranja-do-céu (heaven's orange).
The tangerinas were very, very sweet. Avyakta
told me that limes are called limão galego
and lemons limão Tahiti. I was especially looking
forward to finding cashew fruits, which I had never set eyes upon.
pineapples are called abacaxi. They are white inside
but several degrees sweeter than anything I had tasted in Australia.
Brazil is one of the largest producers of apples in the world. I
saw some pretty nice looking papayas too. These are used in a fabulous
Brazilian dessert called creme de papaya, which I
was hoping to try. But I could not find anything too exotic at these
markets. Perhaps I would have to visit more tropical areas of Brazil
to find things like the famous fruta do conde, jaboticabas,
and acerola. Maybe next visit.
I fell upon a stall with fresh cashew fruits. Amazing things! They
looked from a distance like a cross between pears and peppers, but
close-up they looked quite unique. Attached to one end of the large-egg-sized
smooth fruit lobe was what looked like a cashew nut sewn up in a
dirty wrinkled leather pouch. The cashew nut, enclosed in the pouch,
is the seed of the fruit.
between the cashew and the tough leathery pouch is a powerfully
acrid substance containing cyanic acid. Removing the nut is generally
done under controlled conditions, because the fluid can give painful
blisters if touched. This is why you never find cashews for sale
in their shell. The fruits are very popular with monkeys (who in
their jungle-wisdom steer well-clear of the nuts, God bless 'em).
And of course humans harvest them for the famous nuts, and turn
the fruits into a subtle-flavoured whitish beverage, cashew-fruit
juice, which you'll find on every Brazilian supermarket shelf alongside
the orange juice.
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