Sunday, April 30, 2017

Vegan Month of Food April 2017: What's In Season Where I Live?

Hello friends! Our prompt for Vegan MoFo April 2017 is "what's in season where you live?" You already know I live on an island in the Florida Keys. This is a subtropical climate, with very poor growing conditions generally speaking. Despite this, back in times when the settlers here lived off the land, pineapple plantations, Key limes, bananas and other tropical fruits were abundantly grown and shipped out of the area. That is no more, but we do have pockets of little gems here and there, one of them being the Grimal Grove which is an historical tropical fruit grove on Big Pine Key. We've spoken about the Grove before, and you've even seen videos with me for this blog out there. So, for this post I immediately called up the wonderful, knowledgeable and good natured Patrick, founder of the reborn Grimal Grove. It sort of went like this:

Me: Patrick, what's in season out at the Grove RIGHT NOW!
Patrick: Bilimbe, Mamey Sapote, and Jaboticaba
Me: Huh?
Patrick: you heard me.
Me: Uh.... ok.

Poof, 3 days later, all the fruit appeared.... actually I went out to the Grove, and he showed me jaboticaba growing on the tree. You gotta check this out:

This is an extreme close up of Jaboticaba growing at the Grimal Grove.
The fruit is about the size of a grape, has 3-4 seeds inside,
is very thick skinned, very high in tannins.
Jaboticaba is a shrub, the fruit grows on the branches and the trunk.
It looks like bubbles when you see it.
It's freakishly spectacular!
This is a bilimbi tree growing at the Grimal Grove on Big Pine Key.
The bilimbe is really great for juicing, among other things.
Patrick and I actually picked it off the tree for MoFo, but....
sadly my schedule got the worst of me, the bilimbe turned
before I could complete my recipe.
Next time for sure!
This is my mamey ripened and cut up.
It yielded just over a pound.
There was 1 very large black smooth seed inside.
The outside is reminiscent of a coconut, but not as
hairy or hard.
Mamey are ripe if they dent in slightly when pressed upon.
Exceptionally creamy texture.
This is one I REALLY love, totally new to me!

When I got the mamey, Patrick told me it will take a while to ripen, he wasn't kidding! It took almost 2 weeks sitting on my counter. When it finally did ripen, I cut it open... never seen one before, had no idea what to expect. He told me there was a large seed inside, as always he's right. The mamey is a berry technically, and grows up to 10 inches. The texture is exceptionally creamy. I was prepared not to like it (no idea why I felt that way) but when I tasted it, I LOVED IT! The texture so creamy, combined with a flavor to me of very mellow cantaloupe, maybe some apricot and sweet pineapple really surprised me. I sliced the mamey up and froze it for a smoothie. Looking on line, I learned that mamey is a staple food in Latin America, and I even found a reference that it's high in protein thus extra recommended for vegans and vegetarians (I guess that author is on the protein train with the rest of the world?) Both these fruits are noted to be known for anti cancer properties. Jaboticaba is off the charts with it's potassium content, noted to be good for heart health, as potassium is a vasodialator thus may lower blood pressure and other risks to good health.

So, being that today is the last day of April, I had to get my contribution here up by midnight for this prompt. I looked for mamey smoothies, and found a great recipe from It included sweetened condensed milk, but I used Let's Do Organics usweetened condensed coconut milk as that's a brand new offering from Food for Thought in Marathon (OMG, it is SOOOOOO good!) If rum is your jam, I can imagine some rum added in. After I shot the video, I added in some frozen bananas too because, well... because bananas. I've learned I absolutely LOVE mamey. The addition of unsweetened condensed (coconut) milk apparently is a very Cuban "thing." Extra bonus points here for me ... we're closer to Cuba than we are to Miami, remember?

I used the jaboticaba to make jelly. I pulled a link off I modified the recipe using 3# of fruit, and it yielded about 3 QUARTS of jelly in the end. I didn't "can" mine, I'm allowing it to set up overnight, and then I think I am going to try it in pastry pockets and give them away. Any jelly left I'm giving to Patrick and his beautiful wife Angelica, hopefully I'll have some left and it will be good enough once it sets up that they'll enjoy it.

Recipe links are at the end of this post.

Here's my video for this month. I hope you enjoy it. If we were just a teensy bit closer to June, we'd be showered in mango, but it was not meant to be.  A mango! A mango.... my kingdom for a mango!

Links for the recipes: (this is the site I used 2 years ago when I veganized the Cuban bread...remember that one?)

Well, there it is. Another raggedy video from me at the awesome bed and breakfast I call home. Hope you enjoyed it.... I'm sure we'll be back in May for a prompt, and hopefully for another post or two about some of the other things we've been up to around here.... it's been BUSY!

See you soon. Vegan love. xo