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CarambolaAverrhoa carambola

Poza Honda/Manabi Province/Ecuador – A row of Carambola (Starfruit) trees lines one side of the house where I live, and a bumper crop has just reached maturity.  Admiring the sunlight on the yellow-orange fruits, I pondered taking a photo but decided it would be boring – even though the tree almost glowed with color.

I reasoned, “It will just be a pretty image you’ll never use,” and returned to my task of applying new colors to a sun-faded straw bird.

Just starting to paint the weary old bird, I remembered to take a photo!

The Carambola trees start at the left of the image. The straw bird, however, would like to know if you like its new colors!

Timeout for consultations about its belly-paint colors! Suggestions are encouraged!

Several days later …. Wading through the photos taken from December 23rd – 26th, I decided that one of the creatures of the ever-changing cast must have read my mind and decided to spread the word:

The squirrel raided the Macadamia tree then dashed to the Carambola to enjoy the treat.

Next the Blue-gray Tanager dropped in to say, Merry Christmas Eve!

“Oh! You’d like for someone to pose- as in ‘Still Life with Fruit?’ I’ll see what I can do!”

The Tropical Gnatcatcher zipped over for a pose!

As did the nervous little wren…

Wow – Look who visited next!

The Orange-fronted Barbets!

Two males and one female enjoyed posing while tasting the fruit!

They stayed around for ten or so minutes and lots of photos! THANK YOU, Blue-gray Tanager for spreading the word!

Many of the photos are saved with the words, “Wow Wow Wow” and “Thank you thank you thank you”!
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(Re:  The comments from Christmas Red) No, that fruit from the other post is not ‘Star Apple’ though it’s lovely as well – and an excellent guess, Steve!   In Costa Rica the pear-shaped fruit called ‘Manzana de Agua’ bursts into flower and then carpets the ground with its hot-pink flowers.

With a most unique powder-puff of a flower, this tree produces a fruit known in Costa Rica as “Manzana de Agua” or Water Apple.  Friends in Ecuador don’t know its name, but I’ve heard it called ‘Pear’ in the past.

The above fruit is like a cross between an apple and a pear.

I introduce you to the Cashew Fruit –

The Cashew Fruit – Anacardium occidentale

Cashew Fruit, aka – Marañon – Anacardium occidentale

Unlike the Starfruit, the Cashew fruit is not as well known; that pear-shaped orb of color is not only fragrant but also very perishable. In Costa Rica kitches, especially in the country, it is often stewed with cloves and cinnamon and brown sugar – for hours – until rich, thick and syrupy – much like fig preserves. Its unique fragrance permeates the area – “Ah, maran-yohn,” I would say when visiting a friend’s kitchen. Very sensitive to ultra-sweet concoctions, I prefer the aroma but not so much the end result of all of that labor!
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Little Piglet raiding the Cashew-fruit tree!

Cashew Fruit – Maranon – Anacardium occidentale: In the book Tropical Plants of Costa Rica, Willow Zuchowski devotes two pages about this fruit, from culinary to medicinal, and she mentions that the oils are sometimes used for termite control!

From the book: “…True fruit is the 3-cm-long kidney-shaped gray knob; what appears to be a fruit (the 10-cm-long, fleshy, yellow-orange-red part) is actually the fruit stem (pedicel); inner flesh of pedicel isyellow and astringent. The true fruit develops very quickly compared to the pedicel. … Relatives include mango, red mombin, pistachio, and poison ivy. — Besides the delectable nuts that end up in cans on grocery-store shelves, cashew trees furnish an array of other products. The tasty maranon, which is actually the swollen stem of the true fruit, is astringent and rich in vitamin C. It is made into juice or eaten fresh, dried or stewed into a syrup recipe …”
“…Don’t try to crack the gray knob of a fresh cashew becaue the flesh surrounding the nut is full of cardol, a caustic oil that can cause blistering irritation to the skin and burning of the eyes. Heat destroys the irritants, so roasting a nut in its gray shell until it turns black makes it safe to peel and eat…” from: Tropical Plants of Costa Rica – Willow Zuchowski
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A young neighbor’s mouth and face were once blistered after he ate a raw cashew fruit; it reminded me of a bad case of poison ivy – seeing was believing, so the squirrels have my blessings to feast on the fresh fruits!

Wilkpediai:  Cashew Fruit

As with my other posts from last week, this was written offline in the tranquility of my home. I will go to town, publish the post, then dash back before the end-of-year festivities crowd the highways. See you in 2018!!!!!

Photo from Dec 23/2017 – Extremely-loud music is presently booming from the square – most likely a discomovil, but the New Year Celebrations have already started here in Ayacucho Ecuador!

Look who’s raiding the Balsa tree again! The Balsa deserves its own story!
Happy New Year to All!

(Happy Birthday two days early, Sister Pat!)

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