By Diane Ako
It's a miracle! My miracle fruit tree actually fruited. Then I got to try the berry, and it worked!
What is this, you ask? Well, the miracle fruit Synsepalum dulcificum, native to West Africa, is a red berry produced by a tree. It has a certain protein in it that changes the taste buds for a short while after you eat it. Everything acid becomes sweet.
My tree was a Christmas gift from Paul last year. He bought his son one, and me another.
The trees came from a Waimanalo nursery and were about three years old when he bought them. It was hard to find.
We have, time to time, checked in on each other's fruit tree progress. "Is yours fruiting yet?" one would ask the other. For half a year, the answer has been no.
We wondered if the trees needed to pollinate each other, the way papayas do. We talked about getting the trees together in case they needed to be near each other to fruit.
I just re-read that sentence and I can't believe I was talking about essentially scheduling a play date (or a date) for trees. So this is my life?
Anyway, we obviously didn't care enough, because we'd both get caught up in the grind of life and forget about the barren trees for another month or so.
I just emerged from a particularly hectic cycle and haven't gardened for a few months! When I went into the garden last weekend, I happened to see two red berries on the tree, and more flowers indicating more fruits are near!
I called Paul gleefully and found that he, too, recently got fruit. He gave me some tips on when and how to harvest.
In the kitchen, I cut the fruit in half with great anticipation, popped it in my mouth, and tasted some drops of bottled lemon juice. It worked!
The juice tasted sweet, like a candy lemon drop. I could still taste the lemon, but gone was the acid bitterness. I sucked down a spoonful then I got a little tummy ache.
Claus tried it, but his half was a little dried up and weird looking, so he didn't really get the full effect of the fruit. We'll have to try again with the next berry.
This is a highlight of my weekend, definitely.