Monday, December 29, 2014

Fruits in Taiwan - Autumn/Fall, Winter 秋冬水果在台湾

Taiwan is famous for its fruits, with wax apples 莲雾 specifically the Black Pearl 黑珍珠 variety,  guava (they call it 芭乐, we call it 番石榴 ) and pomelo 文旦, for example, well-known to tourists visiting Taiwan. Without question, summer in Taiwan, just like summer in agriculture-centric countries, means plentiful of fruits such as watermelon, mangoes, lychees, longans, bananas etc.


But it was November when we visited Taiwan, so what fruits can we get to enjoy? This Red-Flesh Dragon Fruit might not be the peak season but since we have a chance to try it, why not? The Red Flesh Dragon Fruits not only contains more antioxidants- anthocyanins, it actually tastes better than the common white-flesh variety which is typically quite bland.


We were also introduced to a fruit - Grandis Pomelo 大白柚, which has a thick yellow-skin and the flesh is sweet and super juicy, much juicier than pomelo 文旦.


As it is commonly said, the locals (and true gourmands) eat Grandis Pomelo 大白柚 while the layman only knows about the pomelo 文旦.



It seems that November is persimmon 柿子 season in Taiwan. Some of us like to wait for persimmon to give a little to the touch and enjoy it soft and super-sweet while others like them on the crunchy side. Usually when still crunchy, persimmon can sometimes be astringent tangy/sour due to the presence of tannins, but this crisp persimmon I tried in Taiwan is actually sweet, yet not overly sweet. We usually think of Japan and Israel when it comes to persimmon but can I say that the Taiwan persimmon can be equally good?

Persimmon has a high tannin content which makes the immature fruit astringent and bitter. The tannin levels are reduced as the fruit matures.The non-astringent persimmon looks quite like a tomato and is most commonly sold as fuyu. Non-astringent persimmons are not actually free of tannins as the term suggests, but rather are far less astringent before ripening, and lose more of their tannins sooner. They also may be consumed when still firm, yet remains edible when soft.

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