Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Fruits, New Tastes

Pluot ... nom nom nom!
Every year for Rosh Hashanah, we dine on "new fruits," which can be anything you basically haven't eaten in the past year that is newly in season. I picked up an organic pluot from Whole Foods, as well as a pomegranate (even though we'd already had the latter this year, I just like having one around on Rosh Hashanah). For those who aren't in-the-know, a pluot is a cross between a plum and an apricot and is a 20th-century invention. Cool, right?

We had invited our good friends A&D over for dinner for the second night, and I was stoked with A showed up with a variety of new fruits for us to dig into. A had gone crazy with the new fruits (something I intend on doing next year) and brought over a red tamarillo, star fruit, and lychees. I've heard of star fruits, and I wasn't jazzed about their flavor, which was pretty muted, but aesthetically -- awesome fruit.

A tamarillo for your troubles?
As for tamarillos and lychees, I had zero experience. We sliced the tamarillo and discovered very dark seeds inside, which, as it turned out, were edible. The flavor of the tamarillo is unlike anything I've ever had before. D sort of gagged, while Tuvia got a twisted "gross" face. A and I were a little more graceful, analyzing the flavor. The interesting thing about the tamarillo was that it really was a truly new flavor for the new year. It was spicy and very not fruit like. From what I can tell, the tamarillo is better after it's sat around and ripened over time (it loses its acidity) and that it's good for culinary ventures. Would I eat one straight again? No dice.
The lychee is ALIVE!!!!! Seriously. How weird does this thing look? 
The lychees were easy enough to figure out, as the package had instructions! The bumpy skin peeled right off, leaving a sort of eyeball looking thing with a dark nut in the middle. These are not very appetizing fruits, especially if you're one for aesthetics. They really did look like eyeballs or fetuses or something ... unnatural? The taste, in my opinion, was akin to perfume. The taste of lychees screams of some potent scent used for jazzing up your favorite perfume. For eating? Not so much.

Overall, the new fruit experience was just that -- an experience, which I was happy with. I think the idea of simanim (symbols/signs) for the new year are powerful, and the ritual of new fruits really allowed me to consider newness, all through a few simple bites of some very bizarre fruits.