Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What the heck is that? Quanepas

People like eating food from their childhoods.

That explains a lot. Like quanepas.

Quanepas are strange little tropical fruit that grow in the Caribbean. In the Bronx, Harlem and other areas with many residents from the Carribbean, fruit stands sell quanepa branches in the summer. Lord knows my produce trend-spotting record is poor, but I feel reasonably confident in predicting that quanepas will not be a breakout hit. 

Quanepas are attractive enough from the outside - they have a certain Nature Walk charm. The problem is the actual fruit, and especially its problematic ration of Perceived Labor to Fruity Pleasure. To enjoy a quanepa, you use your fingernail to split and remove its green shell. So far so good - not too much work. 

But unlike rambutan or longans - other tropical fruits with easily removed shells - the fruit inside isn't luscious.

It's mostly pit, with a bit of pulp with the consistency of a wet cotton ball clinging tenaciously. Imagine what you could achieve if you clung as tenaciously to your dreams as the quanepa's pulp clings to its pit!

If the fruit is actually ripe - a tough call without picking and squishing each one, something you might be able to do with a tree in your backyard but probably not at a fruit stand - the pulp has a pleasant enough sweet-tart taste. You have to use your teeth to scrape at the pulp and don't get much for your efforts, just a somewhat less fuzzy pit. If the fruit isn't ripe enough, suddenly you recall a long list of things to your really need to get done, so why exactly are you wasting your energy on Operation Fuzz Removal? 

Verdict: I'd be a fan if I were from the Caribbean and and feeling homesick, or if I were enjoying one on a balmy evening in my own Caribbean backyard. Otherwise I'd feel free to pass them by.

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