LP10 – Ang Prutas, Bow!

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An Entry to Lasang Pinoy 10 – Food Memories from your Childhood hosted by Buhay Cucinero.

I did try thinking about other food memories from my childhood but couldn’t single out another one that could trigger more fond memories than those I’ve already written months ago in a meme with the same theme.

My dad, who has such a green thumb, planted lots of fruit-bearing trees around our home that one may get lost finding it. Star apples, coconut trees (including macapuno, freak coconut full of soft meat), chico, santol, mangoes, papaya, guyabano or soursop, atis or sugar-apple, banana (finger-like senoritas & cooking variety saba), guava, & even kamias or bilimbi.

So let me just do a list and elaborate more on how I remember these fruits. . .

Star Apples
I would normally bring a plastic bag with me, climb the tree and pick the fruits. After harvesting a bagful, I’d make myself comfortable standing on a branch and leaning on the trunk, pick a fruit for myself and eat it right then and there. Cut it cross-wise and see why it is called star apple. How do you eat one? It can be done by pressing the fruit to open. Of course, juices will fall through your fingers and from your lips but that maybe the best part of it.

This is how I perfected my pull-ups with 360s using a branch from a chico tree! I did that since I was about 4 until the time I was taller than the height of the branch itself and broke it eventually. Eating the fruit is so easy. Just gently press it to open and bite unto it. Don’t eat the skin and the seeds.

Check out Kai’s blog on how to eat a ripe mango. Unripe mangoes, of course, are best eaten with alamang (shrimp paste).

I remember one summer when it was still safe to leave kids home alone while parents work all day. We were given one important rule: never leave home and play with the neighbors. With that we played at home to our hearts’ content. It was during those days when I couldn’t bear watching my siblings running on the roof of our house (it was a split-level bungalow) until I couldn’t take it any longer I asked them to show me how to climb the mango tree and join them. I maybe about 6 or 7 years old. It was so terrifying but I did manage to make it – a foot on a branch, a hand grabbing another one. . .

. . . An hour earlier than usual, my brother saw a figure a block away and shouted: Ayan na si Mommy! (Mommy’s here!) With that they both climbed down the mango tree. I was left there afraid to be found crying up on the roof and all alone. My bro instructed me to go to the lower half of the gable roof that’s concealed from my mom’s view. Silently as possible I slid down from a papaya tree! Imagine the bruises on the inside of my thighs.

As dessert, papaya of course is best served cold.

Guava and Coconut Trees
Like I said in the meme I remember those times when we didn’t have to buy macapuno from the grocery stores but find them occupying most of the kitchen shelves, the majority of containers untouched. With the abundance of fruits in the house, Dad – being a wonderful cook – made guava & macapuno jams for us & brought some to their offices to sell to their friends.

Though not a favorite of mine I had my share of eating guava that some variety can be as hard as stone a kid may break a baby tooth and when overripe a worm or two may be seen wriggling from a not-so-obvious hole. Another reason why I don’t like eating fresh guavas. . . the seeds get into your molars. Nonetheless, we eat them up on the roof. And nope, I never climb a coconut tree.

Nothing much to say about it as I am not so fond of too sour fruits. Given a seed to suck I tried looking at my reflection in a mirror and saw my face in its ugliest form. I even swallowed a seed accidentally. Santol though is my sister’s favorite. She eats them with a dash of salt.

Guyabano juice! That’s how I remember this fruit though we also eat them as it is.

So sweet and tasty, ripe atis is also not a favorite as I am so lazy splitting its flesh while inside my mouth to take off the seeds and spit them out.

Turon, maruya, banana-Q, fruit salad, saging con yelo, banana split, let me count the ways. . .

Is this a fruit? Most of the time kamias were dried for days under the sun and stored to be used to cook dishes such as sinaing na tulingan though there were more than a dozen times when we would all hang out in the garden sinking our teeth into salt-sprinkled kamias.

On Sundays we usually go out around our area for a walk with Dad. Here’s where we tried wild fruits such as kamachile and aratilis. Kamachile is a huge tree with green fruits similar to snow peas. Well that’s how I remember them. Inside of it is white – not sweet, not bitter, a bit bland but we kids were adventurous to try them. Aratilis on the other hand is what I call the Philippine cherry – red skin that’s easy to burst with juices and inside is sweet with an unusual texture.

By the way, my sketch shows only the fruit trees but not the various tropical plants and flowers around the place. Ever tried sipping nectar from santan flowers?

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

18 thoughts on “LP10 – Ang Prutas, Bow!

  1. what i miss star apple and santol! not so into atis too! tamad! unless it has bigger seeds
    i remember that santan sipsip! e did you ever make bubbles with gumamela?

  2. Oh gosh, yes, I miss them all too! I can’t wait until I get to taste some real tropical fruits again :cool: malapit na (x-fingers) Too bad it won’t be mango season anymore but right now, I will take anything I can get my hands on. gimme fruits anyday!

  3. Nice floor plan! I used to climb our guava and star apple tree. And my mom would scream her heart out when she cought me on the tree with my friends. Mom would also make dulce with ripe guavas. Super sarap lalo na pag kakagaling sa fridge! :grin: I also used to sip the nectar out of satan flowers, esp the ones planted sa oval ng church namin. :razz:

  4. Wow, that’s an amazing floor plan you’ve got there! I can imagine running through the whole area as a kid, enjoying the fruits I could grab along the way. This stirred a lot of memories for me too. Atis! Chico! Star apple! Kamias. Those fruits do bring me back.

  5. Hi Iska,

    Kumusta ka na? Sarap naman na buhay mo – sana magkapitbahay tayo I’m sure baka dun na rin ako matutulog sa tabi nga mga puno�Ķnaalala ko tuloy si Juan Tamad!

    Great memories and I’m sure nakuha mo yung pagiging masipag ng Tatay mo dahil panay din ang trabaho mo eh!

    Ingat Iska and keep in touch okay!


  6. ces, oo naglaro din ako ng gumamela :)
    JMom, goodluck sa bakasyon sa pinas! i am so excited for u! when was the last time u went home?
    Zita, looks like pareho tayong makukulit na batang babae noon a
    Toni, pls share naman ng yung memories about these tropical fruits…
    xtin, lam mo ba naginagawa din namin yang matulog sa ilalim ng mga puno? :) it was really fun! maglalabas kami ng katre. afternoon nap tapos nun diretso meryenda ng fruits!
    hi mira! the LP icon is for all of us to use :)

  7. I like the layout of the house and also it���s nice to really plant fruit bearing trees around the house since it is also benefit the owner with nice fruits and stuff

  8. iska! you could have been drawing my house and yard too! (or to be more specific, my parents’) kulang lang kami coconut, santol at poultry. pero lahat n’ong ibang punong meron kayo, meron din kami. so my legs were scarred all over growing up, kaka-akyat sa mga punong ‘yan. i LOVED this post – hindi pa tapos ‘yung sa ‘kin (hahaha) but i have some of the same elements too. i sometimes wish our kids could have had some of these experiences too. salamat for joining us for LP 10!

  9. There was a place in batangas-a farm.No more like an orchard. We would climb the fruit bearing trees as high as we could and start picking the goodies. The fruits that was too high for me to reach, I shot the twig of the fruits with a BB gun ;}

  10. charles, it’s really nice (& wise) for dad! imagine what we all did as kids :lol:

    jane, i am also craving for fruits right now…

    dba stef? sarap pag madaming puno/prutas anytime of the day? i hope ur kids wud be able to experience the same joy we had when u visit ur hometown…

    hi chef! thanks for visiting my site and congrats on the round-up! back in batangas where my mom grew up, i wasn’t able to climb the trees. our folks were always around hehehehe so the katiwala did the picking for us :smile:

  11. Yes Iska! I tried many, many times, sipping nectar from santan flowers lalo na pag naglalaro kami nang bahay bahayan nung kapitbahay namin. I cherish those moments. Those were the days! Looking back I could only say… how I aged!

  12. Nice floor plan! I used to climb our guava and star apple tree. And my mom would scream her heart out when she cought me on the tree with my friends. Mom would also make dulce with ripe guavas. Super sarap lalo na pag kakagaling sa fridge! :grin: I also used to sip the nectar out of satan flowers, esp the ones planted sa oval ng church namin. :razz:

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