Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Sneezing Fruit


Clearly I don't really need to give the Achacha any more publicity. At the cinema last night watching 'A Serious Man' (a seriously good and typically obtuse film by the Coen brothers) we saw a long (a few minutes?) and expensive advertisement for it. The Ad finished on the shore of Farm Cove, in the Royal Botanic Gardens, so some benefit will have come back to the Botanic Gardens Trust, I trust...

A few months back, perhaps when the Ad was being shot, one of our staff Clarence Slockee brought in an achacha to my office for me to try. I was impressed. Yet another tasty plant food to add to the menu in Sydney. Although originally from the rainforests of Bolivia, it's being grown in Burdekin, Queensland, so the food miles are not quite so bad.

It goes under quite a few botanical names: Rheedia aristata, Rheedia achachairĂº, Rheedia macrophylla, Garcinia humulis or perhaps even Garcinia gardneriana, which may or may not be the same fruit. Achacha, although it sounds like a sneeze, is a shortening of the local name of achachairĂº.

It's in the plant family Clusiaceae (which used to be called Guttiferae), along with the mangosteen, but not the mango.

An internet site spruking the fruit says it has been difficult to grow and this has held back its commercialisation, until now. On the same site you can learn that it is "delicious, refreshing, exotic, tangy, effervescent . . . no wonder the name translates as honey kiss".

On the cinema Ad we see the fruit is egg-shaped and orange, with a tough outer layer that can be pealed back (cutting around it with your finger nail seems to be the way to do it) to reveal an lychee-like inner flesh around one or more brown seeds.

As I mentioned a few postings ago, there are plenty of fruits out there that haven't been grown or distributed commercially so I'm sure we have more taste sensations to come.

Image: from on-line story 'New fruit holds NQ potential' in North Queensland Register.

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