Summer in Panama means many things are flowering and fruiting. At this time of year we see flowers that we usually don’t see at other times, and I see fruit trees covered with flowers everywhere I go. The bougainvillea are spectacular and I need to spend a day pointing my camera at them very soon.
Mangoes are one of my favorite fruits. If a little dog (perro) is a perrito, is a little mango a mangito? We have mangitoes everywhere so it might be a bumper crop this year. Last year I picked up enough to freeze and enjoy all year, and I plan to do the same this year.
People are remarking on the avocado trees too. They are covered with an unusual amount of flowers so we might have a bumper crop of avocados too. It’s a bit too early to see many fruits but you can already spot an occasional one. They don’t freeze well like many fruits, but frozen avocados can still be used in smoothies and other recipes. If I get a lot I will freeze the extras and experiment.
The start fruit or carambola is flowering and starting to fruit again. It seems like the last round of fruit just slowed down a month or so ago. I like to eat them fresh, and they are great in fruit smoothies. I still have some in the freezer and it looks like when I run out, new fruit will be ready.
The cashews are very cool! I never realized how they grow until we found them here. There is one nut on each fruit. The nut must be roasted or heated to neutralize the toxins before it can be opened to get the nut inside. No wonder they are so expensive. I wrote a post about them in the past where you can see the fruit, and there is video of people roasting the nuts on an open fire. The fruit has a very unusual, almost pungent smell and flavor. It is very delicate and doesn’t transport well at all which is why you never see it in the markets. People here use it to make drinks, and it is really good chopped and cooked with maybe a bit of sweetener and/or some vanilla.
Guandu, or pigeon peas are very important to Panamanians. They are pretty much required for holiday dinners for the traditional arroz con guandu (rice and guandu). They can be expensive though, especially around Christmas so they are a very common sight growing in people’s yard. I have found that they freeze well, and they can also be dried and cooked like beans.
Here to finish up are photos of a number of other random plants and trees.
A few notes on the fruits above. The huge lemons are great! I have been picking them up from two trees nearby. I wrote about them in the past.
The mariñon corazon, I can’t find any information about them. The people in Nicaragua call them peras, but that didn’t lead anywhere either. The trees are tall, nicely shaped, and when they flower they make feathery purple blossoms. Soon there is a beautiful carpet of purple under the tree.
Our limon trees are usually loaded with fruit by now, but we had a brush fire come through here last year. The heat from the fire even outside our fence was enough to cause the trees to lose all their leaves. They have recovered nicely but there were very few flowers, so we have very little fruit this year. Hopefully we will have better luck next year.