Shehechiyanu is a Jewish blessing that is recited to mark a new experience or a special occasion. Our current host Rita grows an abundance of fruits, vegetables and herbs on her sprawling property including mango, banana, plantain, tomato, cilantro, ayote (squash), red pepper, two types of basil and oregano.
Rita afforded us many shehechiyanu moments this past week as we tried fruits and other garden-grown items that our palettes had never tasted before. It is very exciting that there are still natural foods in this world that I have not yet heard of, let alone tasted. In a way, this dispels the ‘been there, done that’ feeling that many adults start to have as they realize that the majority of their ‘new experiences’ are behind them.
Some of the new items that we tried are:
- Nance, a small yellow fruit resembling a large cherry that tastes like licorice
- Maranon , a flower out of which grows the cashew nut) that is very sour and stains
- Cas, a yellow fruit with white flesh and seeds inside that is very tart. (We also tried cas ices, which are delicious! The cas ices were sweetened with sugar and there has been a conspicuous lack of high-fructose corn syrup in the products here.)
- Guayaba, a white fleshy fruit that has a moist, gummy consistency and smells very fruity
- Toronja Jam, a grapefruit-like fruit that is dry inside and mixes with molasses to make preserves
- Potato or Banana Mango, a small mango with a light-colored and non-thready inside (delicious!)
- Gallo Pinto, a traditional Costa Rican breakfast dish of rice, beans, onion, pepper and cilantro. (This one doesn’t grow from a tree, but is nevertheless fantastic!)
Rita has been grilling us on these different plants and bushes, so we’ve gotten pretty good at naming the fruits and where on the property they come from. I’m loving all the newness, but any type of mango (and there are so many varieties of it!) gets my vote hands-down.
posted by amybetho