|Velvet Tamarind (Awin/ Likiliki)|
|African Star Apple ( Agbalumo)|
|Sea Almond (“fruit”)|
Yes…Today is going to be all about my top three favourite fruits as a child in those days. Let me start with “AWIN” or “Likiliki” as we Nigerians often call it. Its English name is called Velvet Tamarind while its botanical name is know as Dialium indum. (- Yeah, sounds strange to me too) As at this time last year I never knew there was something called Velvet Tamarind. Generally, its a small grape – sized fruit with brown or black hard shells (-Oh, how much I hated breaking so shells.) Its orange and fleshy pulp is of a seety acidic taste. It usually burned my tongue but I never gave up on my bundle of “likiliki”. This may sound strange but the easterners can testify to it. According to Wikipedia, in South eastern Nigeria, children eat the tender leaves as wild vegetable snack especially on the way to and from the stream and farm. For me, As a Lagos – born teenager, I can vividly remember when my mom bought two bags of it home. I sat down to half of the bag in one sitting.
Yes, I was a hungry girl in those tender years of mine..(-You wouldn’t blame now, would you?) Back at home here, the tree flowers from September to October and fruits from October to January. In Ghana, in September to November the tree is covered with small white flowers in panicles; fruit ripens in March to May but may be earlier and may persist longer.
Whereas, the fairly round fruit above is often called “agbalumo”. This, I won’t really consider as a childhood fruit because I take it 3 to 4 times a week in school. Its English name is called African Star Apple while the botanical name is known as Chrysophyllum albidum. I so much love this one, Its just too sweet. But the one thing I hate is that I never seem to eat it neatly. It always gets so messy and sticky on my hand. There was actually a certain time I stopped buying it because of its mess and later on, I picked it up again. ( -Sigh.. So much for my sweet agabalumo). That one funny thing I can never forget about this is the fact that so many classmates of mine are IN LOVE WITH THE SEEDS. To cut things short, “One minute you buy agabalumo, the next minute, everybody in class becomes your bestfriend” You begin to hear people say “Oh, Pleeaase can I have JUST ONE SEED?” here and there and you end up with the almost empty. juicy. interior.
By the way, findings have shown that the pulp contain greater amount of crude fibre, fat, ash and caloric value, while greater amount of moisture was found in the peels. It is often called “breast – milk fruit” in some countries.
Finally, is my favourite of them all -fruit!!! (- At least, that was it was called when i was growing up). I consider this one the sweetest and most addictive of them all. Its English name is called “Sea Almond” or “Beach Almond” (- Sounds fresh right?) while the scientific name is called Terminalia catappa. The seed within the fruit is edible with a slightly acidic taste when fully ripe, tasting almost like almond and that’s why I keep my eyes out for the orange or purple ones. The green or greenish – yellow ones are the “no – go areas” for me. I remember breaking the that stupid fibrous and woody stone. It contains the real fruit – that smaller and whitish version of the skin. I actually pick up stones and try to break it open.
This was like an accomplishment to every kid on my street in those days more like an “I killed Goliath” moment but nowadays, I just devour the flesh and throw away the stone and the smaller edible. I can’t really count how much people I have “initiated” into the joys of plucking “fruit” ( – SMH, I’m the silliest girl I know)
So, that’s it…..”A Few Of My Favourite Childhood Things” Enjoy the Weekend!