Monstera Deliciosa — The Delicious Monster of a Fruit!

I went to Russo’s Market on Tuesday, and as usual… there was a plethora of fruits and vegetables that caught my eye. One in particular stood out above all others though… MONSTERA!!!!

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Sounds kind of pornographic, doesn’t it? “Eat creamy white flesh, inch by inch….” Maybe I’m just a perv…

In any case, Monstera Deliciosa is a tropical creeping vine that is native to Mexico and Central America. It can grow up to 20 Meters long and has large, heart shaped leaves. You may know this plant as the split-leaf philodendron — A common houseplant. In ideal conditions, it flowers about three years after it is planted. Flowering is rare when grown indoors. The plant also produces a large, pine cone or ear-of-corn looking looking fruit.

This vine is the only edible fruit-producing member of the philodendron family. This fruit is available between June and September and is hard to come by. It’s very unusual… it can be up to a foot long, is green, sort of shaped like a cucumber and is covered in hexagonal “tiles”. 

Monsteradeliciosafruit Monstera Deliciosa    The Delicious Monster of a Fruit!

The unripe fruit contains Oxalic Acid in a form that, if eaten, causes immediate and painful irritation, swelling, blistering and loss of voice — or in very rare cases, death! It takes 12 to 18 MONTHS to ripen enough to become safe to eat…

The fruit must only be eaten mature — when the outer green sections fall off on their own accord to reveal a white interior flesh on a hard core. I left my monstera sitting on the counter on Tuesday… by Friday, the scales started lifting:

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For some reason, this REALLY GROSSED ME OUT. I don’t know why, maybe because it kind of reminded me of scales peeling away from an iguana’s body or something! Totally gave me the heebie jeebies.

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According to this website:

The fruit can be picked after about a year and will start to ripen several days later. As the fruit ripens from the bottom up, segments of the inedible outer peel fall off. The inner segments can then be eaten and are similar to a combination of pineapple and banana. The black flecks in the fruit are floral remnants and can be eaten. Eat in moderation when ripe.

A few inches of the scales easily lifted away from my fruit. We didn’t force any off, as didn’t want to poison ourselves! Once we lifted the tiles away, we used a sharp knife to slice off the exposed white flesh.

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The flesh clings to a hard core and is very similar to kernels of corn… except it’s sort of mushy and slimy.

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It definitely reminded me of pineapple in that it was fibrous like that, but more tender. The taste is also very similar to pineapple… and is said to be a cross between pineapple, banana and mango… also reminiscent of jackfruit.

You can see how large the fruit was and how we only peeled off the tiles that lifted easily. This picture also gives you a good idea regarding the the gooey/sliminess of it… which lingers on the tongue and in the mouth after you eat it.

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As I bit off the kernals surrounding the core, I definitely thought of pineapple with a little banana. It was very fragrant, sweet and delicious. I loved it.

HOWEVER… shortly after eating it, my lips, cheeks and mouth started to tingle! Then I got itchy and it spread from my face, to my hair and then to my arms and hands! The fruit was definitely ripe, but I guess my body wasn’t a huge fan of the Oxalic Acid.

What’s interesing, is that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and I read that Oxalic Acid can affect patients who are immuno-compromised with a disease like this. I wonder if that was why I had a reaction?? As D (the husband) didn’t have a reaction. He also wasn’t a huge fan of the fruit. I really liked it though. 

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These were the remnants of the core when we were done. Kind of cool looking…

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So today (Monday) more of the tiles started peeling off…

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I peeled the ripe tiles off and ate the exposed fruit… curious to see if I would have the same “reaction” that I had on Friday. And yes I did… but I ate it anyway! In fact, I ate the fruit about 6 hours ago and I am STILL itchy!!!

This is a very cool, delcious and interesting fruit… if you can deal with the itchy throat, lips and mouth… it’s well worth a try!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 4.85 out of 5)

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19 Comments to “Monstera Deliciosa — The Delicious Monster of a Fruit!”

  1. sylvia says:

    Thank you for the info. I had the same itchy reaction. I ate part of it before it is ripen, itch got worse. Love the fruit, but will definitely wait for it to ripe first

  2. Chris says:

    It is so cool that I found your blog. I just bought one of these at Russo’s yesterday and was researching on Google to find out how to eat it. Looked interesting, so I thought, what the heck. Great photos, and great explanation! Not sure if I’m excited for the itchiness though, but here goes nothing. Cheers!

  3. ross says:

    your article is the best I’ve seen. This fruit is very common here in Hawaii But very few people know its edible. When I pick a fruit I leave it sitting out and eat it an inch at a time over the period of 3 or 4 days as the scales progressively fall off.

  4. George says:

    Definitely a lovely fruit, only tried is once though as our plant is under the car port and gets minimal sunlight. I also have arthritis, just wondering if it brings on extra pain…. Great report :)

  5. Michelle says:

    If you squeeze some lemon juice over it, or mix the fruit and some lemon in a smoothie…the acid in the lemon helps break down the oxalic acid…just like when you eat greens like collards, sprinkling vinegar or lemon juice on them helps break up the oxalic acid in those.

  6. [...] my daughter had an immediate reaction so she spit her bite out, and my boys both rather liked it. Apparently the reaction is fairly common. Unfortunately the fruit goes from ripe to stinking, rotting over-ripeness within a day, even though [...]

  7. Jim says:

    Have been enjoying the fruit for years. Once the edible part is separated from the stem it can be kept for days in the fridge. Have found that eating it with Greek type yoghurt almost removes the itch sensation! I grow my own in Auckland, not yet dead,90yrs,no arthritis’

  8. Darwin Cordoba says:

    I also went to Russo’s market today, like every month,and I was trying to Google information about this fruit, I came across to this Boston Food & whine, I don’t know went in ripen ????.

  9. We have a plant in the orchid house, the first of three fruits finally started shedding scales today. Just delicious, but yes a little irritating afterward. But reallly worth it for that tropical fruit aroma.

  10. Andre says:

    were are the seeds?

  11. Wilma says:

    We have been growing these for years and my husband makes jam out of them which is delicious, and also keeps you regular. He has it on toast every morning. I have it but not as often but always enjoy it when I do.
    Recently we saw on wikkipedia that in Mexico they drink a fusion made from the leaf daily, to help with arthritis pain so I made some and I have had a lot of relief from arthritic pain since I have been drinking it once a day about 100mls/day I take it at night. I have been searching for more information about this and that is how I came onto this site

  12. Wilma says:

    The seeds are in amongst the fruit you will be able to see them easily when the fruit has ripened and you are eating it. It also grows easily from a piece of the root if you can get some off someone who has a plant, we grew ours off a root from my motherinlaw

  13. Marthy L says:

    i super love this monstera fruit..i love exotic fruits that is Not sold in stores..this monstera is one of my favorite fruits…i normally dont eat fruits..but this monstera fruit i know just where to harvest it and bring it on home..smells yummy and tastes yummy!!!

  14. [...] it tastes like. Boston Food and Whine (that’s not a typo!) was even more challenged by it; their post doesn’t add much but is quite [...]

  15. Leah says:

    OMG it’s delicious but I felt like I had kissed a cactus… My throat was fine and no itching but could definitely put up with it for that amazing flavour :)

  16. I don’t know when to pick the fruit. Do I wait till it turns yellow?

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  19. victor says:

    am a student in Kenya, would like anyone to recommend a project on the Monstera Deliciosa fruit, please.

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