November is the time when you can really sense that winter and our dry season is on its way. The sun is lower in the sky, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and the hot, rainy days of the wet season are in the past. All these natural events send signals to the plants here at the Fruit & Spice Park, and in all of South Florida. Many of the plants respond to these signals by slowing or stopping their growth for the season. Some plants drop their leaves as they do up north. Some are triggered into producing flowers. And some plants produce fruit.
One of the early winter fruits here at the Fruit & Spice Park is Canistel, Pouteria campechiana, also known as egg fruit. The canistel is a medium size tree, with fruits that are round to oblong, yellow to orange and with a single large seed inside. The pulp inside is a golden yellow, has the texture of a cooked egg yolk and some say tastes like sweet potatoes. The fruit is most often eaten out of hand, but it also delicious in custards, pies and milkshakes.
The canistel originated in southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador, but today can be found cultivated in South America, some Caribbean islands, Philippines, Southeast Asia, and East Africa. This fruit was a common fruit in the Mayan and Aztec culture. Here at the Fruit & Spice Park we grow several cultivars that vary in flavor and fruit shape. Stop by the Store and sample the canistel varieties we have for you!
Some other fruits you will find around the park this time of year are:
• Avocado, Persea americana
• Carambola, Averrhoa carambola
• Mamey Sapote, Pouteria sapota
• Gamboge, Garcinia tinctoria
• Barbados Cherry, Malphigia punicifolia