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Kurma's South American Tour

Cooking With Kurma > Travel Diary > South America

Part Four: S„o Josť do Rio PrÍto, Brazil

[1 2 3 4 5 6 7]   Images below are thumbnails. Click on them to see a larger version.

click for larger imageI 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.

click for larger imageBrazilian 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.  

click for larger imageSuccess! 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.

click for larger imageBut 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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