Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mamey Zapote

The mamey or zapote tree in my backyard is flowering and growing fruit. The poor tree was abandoned for a few years when this house sat empty and the tree suffered vitamin deficiencies. Last year only three fruit appeared and although they looked ripe and fell off the tree, they were hard as rocks and inedible.

In this close up of the branches you can see the tiny flowers that grow on the limbs. From a distance they make the tree look like it some horrible disease. I was trying to display the delicate beauty of this hearty tree by capturing its flowers. After I read it is an evergreen tree, it occurred to me that it has been full of leaves since I moved in a year and a half ago. I wouldn't have thought about this being an "evergreen", as it does not resemble what we used the term for in the northern Ohio of my youth.

The fruit is weird. It has a brown skin that looks like a cantelope, and feels like sandpaper and peach fuzz. The fruit texture is creamy and sweet, and its flavor is variously described as a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, candied yams, and maraschino cherries with the texture of avocado. It is eaten raw or made into ice cream and fruit bars. I have tasted mamey ice cream, and although the flavor was nice, it had a consistency I wasn't thrilled about. Maybe I can experiment a little when I have ripe mamey falling off the tree.

The tree makes a big mess with those huge leaves and tiny flowers. This is what we wake up to every day. However it is a majestic tree, and Buster stands before it in its defense. It is his route to the other side.

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