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Fantastic fruits and when to eat them. (What's in season now?)

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MerlinStevens

Wow, great, thank you! And what about the strawberry and black cherry? I am fond of the latter one greatly.

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abcdefg

Hello @MerlinStevens -- Welcome to the Forums!

 

Kunming strawberry season is in mid to late February, very early. It lasts about a month, depending on how rapidly the weather warms up. That is also when the cherry trees bloom here. They make a beautiful sight.

 

Afraid I don't know about black cherries specifically. 

 

One can still find a few hothouse strawberries even now, but they are out of season and cost two or three times what they do earlier in the year. They look pretty, but I'm not sure how they taste since I don't buy them myself. 

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889

Is rhubarb seasonal? Don't recall ever seeing it, at least in supermarkets.

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abcdefg

@889 -- I don't think I've seen it here. Must admit that I've never launched a search for it, so I could have just overlooked it. 

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DavyJonesLocker
On 6/13/2019 at 3:27 PM, abcdefg said:

Forget about avocados牛油果。Imported ones don’t ripen well and cost way too much. Local ones are scarce. Chinese don’t much like them. No demand means very limited production.

 

 

4 for 39 in the Jing Dong supermarket (called 7 Fresh) near me in Beijing. Very good actually as they include 2 ripe and 2 unripened. They flavour too. However I don't see them that often in other places around.

 

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abcdefg

Good to know, @DavyJonesLocker -- I stand corrected. Thanks. The ones I buy here are rock hard at the time of purchase, and turn bad before they ripen. I've given up on them. It's a pity, because I love avocados, would very much like to make a batch of delicious guacamole. 

 

I'll keep trying to find some here, maybe look in other stores. (I don't think we have Jing Dong.) Most of the ones I see are imported from New Zealand. 

 

Fresh avocados are real good in Texas. Lots of them are brought up from Mexico. When I go home for my annual visit, I quickly get spoiled. Eat lots of them. 

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DavyJonesLocker
1 hour ago, abcdefg said:

Good to know, @DavyJonesLocker -- I stand corrected. Thanks. The ones I buy here are rock hard at the time of purchase, and turn bad before they ripen. I've given up on them. It's a pity, because I love avocados, would very much like to make a batch of delicious guacamole. 

 

 

although I'd say its the exception rather than the rule. Advocado is not a commonly seen fruit here in Beijing from my experience, mainly found in the more modern supermarkes

Just ate one this morning, Toast , Peanut butter and avocada which a lot of people think its weird :lol: 

 

What you are seeing more and more here in Beijing  is prepackaged fruits, so no need wrestle your way in amongst the 大妈s to get the best ones. Again you pay a premium for this convenience. However given i really start to get irrate with all the pushing , shoving queue skipping at the weighting stations in the more traditional supermarkets, its a premium I would happily pay!

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ChTTay

Avocados popular in Beijing. “In the know” old people starting to eat them for health reasons.  Then of course young’uns enjoy them in salad, on toast, sandwiches, smoothies etc 

 

I’ve yet to have good Chinese lemons or limes. I always try buy imported. The Chinese ones are always so dry and don’t produce much juice or have much flavour. 

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DavyJonesLocker
1 hour ago, ChTTay said:

Avocados popular in Beijing. “In the know” old people starting to eat them for health reasons.  Then of course young’uns enjoy them in salad, on toast, sandwiches, smoothies etc 

 

Based on this thread, I noticed avocado oil in the supermarket today. Not sure if I've even see that in UK. Never looked though. 

at 110kuai for 250ml ,I think I'll pass on that :)

 

Nice on a salad , pasta perhaps

Screenshot_20190618_230004_com.xstore.sevenfresh.jpg

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mungouk
On 6/13/2019 at 3:27 PM, abcdefg said:

rambutan  红毛丹 are finished for the year. (early spring fruit.)

 

I've had these in Thailand in August... is the season so different?

 

 

 

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abcdefg
7 hours ago, mungouk said:

I've had these in Thailand in August... is the season so different?

 

@mungouk -- I really don't know much about this tasty fruit. I ate some good ones in Vietnam last month. Mostly sweet with a subtle sour note as well. Have also had them farther south, in Malaysia; can't remember exactly what time of year.

 

What I read in Wikipedia just now is that some of the rambutan trees can bear fruit twice a year and others only once. Would not be surprised if the time at which they flower and then fruit depends to a large extent on how far north one looks. It's my understanding (my limited understanding) that they require tropical warm weather to produce; don't do well in cooler climates. 

 

The ones that show up in the fruit stalls here in Kunming are grown farther south. They aren't indigenous to Kunming. I say that without really knowing for 100% sure. I've been fooled before by farmers growing small amounts of this or that in hothouse conditions right on the edge of the city. 

 

Thailand sure does have lots of good tropical fruit. Every time I go there, I discover something new. (Heading to Chiang Mai again in about two weeks.)

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abcdefg
9 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

Based on this thread, I noticed avocado oil in the supermarket today. Not sure if I've even see that in UK. Never looked though. 

at 110kuai for 250ml ,I think I'll pass on that

 

I've never used it either. 

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abcdefg

(Cross posted from here, in the "Life, Work and Study in China in General" forum: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58481-why-is-fruit-so-bland-and-yet-so-expensive-in-china/page/4/?tab=comments#comment-456531

------------------------------------------------- 

This morning (24 July) I bought 8 large figs 无花果 for 6 Yuan (a little less than 1 US Dollar) at my local farmer's market. Bought 4 that had been allowed to fully ripen on the tree and 4 that were very close to being ripe but not quite there.

 

Figs just hit the market ten days or two weeks ago. Summer fruit. Short season. Locally grown. They are bruise easily and don't transport well. Cannot truck them to Beijing or Shanghai without incurring significant spoilage.  

 

Have already eaten three of them today and am saving the others until tomorrow. Won't put them in the fridge. Will just leave them out on the kitchen table in a woven bamboo basket. Delicious fruit. Sweet and tender. 

 

751975654_IMG_20190724_112604(3)-950px.thumb.jpg.fbe8f112db7768c5682840cdb980f7c8.jpg     1691631284_IMG_20190724_113551(3)-950px.thumb.jpg.f12767e0e9fae6942d91f1fadb4b03d0.jpg

 

 

Also bought 8 large local plums 梅子。Paid 6 Yuan for them as well. Have eaten 2 so far. They are sweet, juicy, soft, with a slightly tart finish. Am hoping they will last until day after tomorrow. It is getting near the end of their short harvest season. This weekend I'll go back and hopefully buy some more. 

 

The honey peaches 蜜桃 are almost gone now. Still taste good, but have more blemishes. They are currently selling for 4 or 5 Yuan per kilogram. I have poached a large jar of them and put it in the fridge, where it should last a week or so. 

 

1566822107_IMG_20190724_112720(2)-950px.thumb.jpg.e29b0754b7c7bb83c8fd6bcb776acb90.jpg   703169498_IMG_20190724_114953(4)-950px.thumb.jpg.046ead0740d679582cc3df5a6a586d47.jpg

 

 

This two dollar (12 Yuan) expenditure for fresh fruit is less than a cup of Starbuck's coffee. Kunming is a good place for fresh fruit and vegetables. Even though prices have risen over 5 years ago, excellent quality is still readily available without breaking the bank. 

 

These tomatoes are also from this morning's market trip. Ten minute bicycle ride from home. They are "seconds." One has a skin blemish and one has been pecked by a bird. The others are close to being too ripe. They were priced for quick sale; cost 4 Yuan. About a kilogram. The same vendor had top grade ones for sale at 6.5 Yuan per kilo. He lets them go for 6 if you buy a lot. 

 

786063099_IMG_20190724_123816(2)-950px.thumb.jpg.ddf0ec71cd4c811fb04193481db5e354.jpg

 

 

I'll make something good with these beauties tomorrow, perhaps a nice Yunnan gazpacho. They are at peak flavor. 

 

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abcdefg

Update 5 August -- 火把梨

 

Early season pears and apples are beginning to arrive at the outdoor farmers market and at streetside fruit stalls now. Older residential areas in Kunming have one or two small open-front fruit shops per block it seems. People eat a lot of fruit here.  It's customary at these fruit sellers to be able to taste any item that you think you might want to buy. Tell a 售货员 and they will cut you a slice. That was the case today. 

 

These are 火把梨, a locally-famous variety. They grow at elevations over 2,500 meters in climate zones where there is plenty of sun and the difference between daytime high temperatures and nighttime low temperatures are large. Yunnan and Sichuan are both producers. These pears are not turned out in huge volume. Baidu says "sparse production" 产量稀少。

 

Thin skin, shaped like apples, 酸甜 flavor. Crisp 口感。High moisture content 水分。Juicy fruit with high moisture content is desirable as a consumer, but it means the fruit will bruise easily and not be easy to ship. Large supermarket chains prefer more "durable" varieties, pears that stand up better to rough handling. 

 

Got these today for 7.5 Yuan per kilogram. My four "medium-large" ones cost 8 Yuan, so about 2 Yuan each. Considerably cheaper than a 冰淇淋 from 肯德基。  

 

274688198_IMG_8976(2)-930px.thumb.jpg.42103299d7ffe7f9e146acf675c6dde3.jpg 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The young woman at the fruit store told me these came from Honghe Prefecture 红河州 (south of Kunming.) I don't know for sure, but can't help wondering if they might have gotten their name from their coloration resembling that of the torch which is central to 火把节, an important ethnic 彝族 festival in those parts.

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Publius

You should change the title to "Fantastic Fruits and When to Eat Them" :mrgreen:

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abcdefg
7 minutes ago, Publius said:

You should change the title to "Fantastic Fruits and When to Eat Them"

 

Hmm! Sounds good! Done!

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Shelley

On the subject of rhubarb I am surprised its not easily found. This titbit below would make me think China had a surplus of rhubarb at least in 1839.

 

Rhubarb, Constipation and War

Rhubarb has a laxative effect. In the 19th century, China exported rhubarb to Britain for this very purpose: Britain, for her part, was flooding China with opium – which shows a marked disparity between the philanthropic intentions of the two countries. When the outbreak of the First Opium War looked inevitable, the Chinese Commissioner, Lin Tse-Hsü, believing that the British would die of constipation en masse if deprived of rhubarb, threatened to halt the export of the vegetable. For unknown reasons, Queen Victoria apparently never had the letter translated so we will never know if rhubarb could have prevented the Opium Wars.

 

I have heard that the smoking of opium is very strictly forbidden by your country; that is because the harm caused by opium is clearly understood. Since it is not permitted to do harm to your own country, then even less should you let it be passed on to the harm of other countries – how much less to China! Of all that China exports to foreign countries, there is not a single thing which is not beneficial to people: they are of benefit when eaten, or of benefit when used, or of benefit when resold: all are beneficial… Take tea and rhubarb, for example; the foreign countries cannot get along for a single day without them. If China cuts off these benefits with no sympathy for those who are to suffer, then what can the barbarians rely upon to keep themselves alive?

(Lin Tse-Hsü – Letter of Advice to Queen Victoria 1839)

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abcdefg

What an interesting clipping, @Shelley! Thanks! I was completely ignorant about the importance of rhubarb. It might very well exist here; there are so many fruits and vegetables that I don't know about. Every week I make new discoveries. Have to admit that I don't even know how to say rhubarb in Chinese. My dictionary says 大黄。

 

Looking it up in Baidu just now gives several other regional names, as well as pictures that I recognize. Guess I've seen it but just didn't know what it was. Next time I'm in the market, I will definitely ask around, check it out. 

 

On a similar note, Tibetans have historically been extremely fond of strong fermented black tea from Yunnan and Sichuan, Pu'er and others, leading to it becoming almost a currency on the ancient Tea Horse Trail 茶马古道。They bought large bricks of it in exchange for swift Tibetan ponies.

 

They turn this tea into a special beverage by boiling it for hours to ensure that it's potent, then mixing it in a churn with yak butter, salt and so on. It becomes very nourishing and is a staple there during the long winter months. But, it is also prized for its laxative effect. During much of the year, at least in the old days, they could not grow vegetables or fruit, subsisting largely on a diet of meat and fat. So tea from the south was valued all the more since it was a tonic against the resulting 大便秘 (big constipation.) 

 

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