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!!!!
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”.
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:
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.
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.
The flesh clings to a hard core and is very similar to kernels of corn… except it’s sort of mushy and slimy.
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.
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.
These were the remnants of the core when we were done. Kind of cool looking…
So today (Monday) more of the tiles started peeling off…
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!