Archive for August, 2011
I really liked the lychees. Basically I cut the top off and popped them out of their peels into my mouth. As with the rambutan, I found the texture and size to be comparable to a peeled grape. Make sure you don’t eat the peel! I mistakenly grabbed a bit on the first one and it was yucky bitter. The initial taste of the fruit reminded me of a grape, but the second taste/after taste had a bit of a perfume/fragrance to it. I didn’t consider this a bad thing. It was unique to the fruit and didn’t turn me off. Just interesting. There’s a decent sized pit inside that you shouldn’t eat. I’d like to eat many more of these.
The pepino melon was just seeping with water upon cutting it. The entire melon is edible and there are no seeds for you to bother with. To be quite honest there was nothing exceptional about the melon, it just tasted like a melon would. (To me most melons taste somewhat the same). However, I think this is a good option if you don’t want to chop up an entire cantaloupe or honeydew. It’d be very convenient and a single sized serving.
Day before: I had a relaxed day. Worked for 2 hours in the morning, went for an easy 1-mile run, and had an hour midday nap. I’ve been maintaining a 100% raw lifestyle throughout the past month, so I continued that. I didn’t go to bed until 10pm. Although it was later than I had hoped, I was just too geared up to relax. I wasn’t nervous…just psyched.
Saturday called for scattered thunderstorms, continuing through the night, on through Sunday (race day), with a high near 75 degrees. Saturday was a gorgeous day. We all were hoping the excellent weather would continue on Sunday. This race is notorious for being HOT, so we were looking for a happy medium. We awoke at 4am to find that although it wasn’t currently raining, it was damp outside. Upon arriving at the race location we found some serious waves rocking in Lake Erie. Ugh. Thankfully we bit the bullet 2 weeks ago and had a training session in the same such waves. At that point although we didn’t prefer the conditions, we knew we’d survive. The question: would they allow us to swim? At 45 minutes until the race time the buoys still hadn’t been placed in the lake. Finally it was announced that there would be a 30 minute delay and the swim would be altered. Instead of being a counter-clockwise course it’d be a straight shot. In addition, the Olympic length would be the same length as the sprint (1/2 mile). Of course everyone had the option to change to the duathlon. My thoughts: Heck no! I signed up for a triathlon. I’m doing a triathlon.
Prior to race time I was calm and centered. I wasn’t going into this worried about anything but enjoying the experience. I am not a competitive racer and quite a slow runner to be honest. I don’t do it to win (not that I could!) The girls I “raced with” were in a separate wave so I went at it alone. I liked the atmosphere. We were athletes among athletes, encouraging each other. From 5Ks, to the Cleveland Half Marathon, to the Columbia Muddy Buddy, and now the Vermilion Triathlon…each vibe is different. The athletes, sport, and race length makes each experience unique in it’s own. I love them all.
Due to the conditions no one was allowed to run in the lake, which in my opinion made my first experience less stressful. I stayed to the back of the pack, made sure there was enough space, and then took off. I had a bit of a problem with my goggles fogging up (the lake was warmer than the air). I only got kicked a few times. With that being said, I would consider my swim a success.
The transition went just as smooth, if not better, than the swim. My biggest fear of triathlons was not performing 3 sports, but dealing with the sand. Like I tell people, I do sand, I do water…I don’t do sand and water. (Although I’ve dealt with this “fear” and have overcome it.) The run between the lake and transition area allowed my feet to clean themselves and the tubs with water provided worked wonders. I had little to no sand to remove from my feet at the actual transition area.
Onward to the bike portion! Although I expected this to be the easiest part, it was the hardest. I had an issue with my front brake rubbing the tire last week. I thought I had it fixed, but found out during the race that this wasn’t the case. After a mile of working against the rubbing brake I decided to hop off my bike to see if I could realign the front tire in hopes of fixing it….which did last time. After hopping on and off 3 times, wasting much time, ultimately I couldn’t fix the problem and just dealt with it. One of the friends that was in the heat behind me ended up passing me and was having the same problem, so I also assisted her. Of course I could fix her bike, but not mine. At least I was luckier than the guy that busted a tire! Other than that I’d say this was my favorite part of the race. Me, the road, and no one around. I loved it. I was at peace. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. Of course this was also when I realized that I was probably dead last in my heat, which was fine with me. I finally passed one person. Woohoo! Although I’m not fast I usually can pass a few people during my races. This wasn’t the case today. Transition 2 went just as smooth as Transition 1. No biggie.
Next up, the run! This was the leg where the most support was, which I expected. There weren’t a ton of people, but it was great feeling the “race vibe”. Athletes encouraging each other instead of continuously hearing, “on your left!” like on the bike. There were slight inclines with one steep, short incline. My smile was still plastered on my face. I was in my happy place. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in my happy place. Not to mention I don’t think I’ve been in my happy place ever during a race. (Not that I’ve never enjoyed a race). It felt awesome. I needed that. I even had a photographer say, “That’s the best shot of the day!” Ha! Dunno if he told everyone that, but I’ll take it as a compliment.
After ½ mile swim, 12.8-mile bike, and 3.2-mile race it was time to finish this up. I came around the finally corner and the first person I saw was my dad and heard him hollering at me. My smile got even bigger. Thinking back it brings tears to my eyes. Having my parents support means the world to me. Then came my friend Wendy, an experience triathlete. She was hollering at me to kick it out. So I kicked it up a notch. Then I saw my mom with her bright neon pink sign shouting for me. I could hear the family of my friends yelling for me. My husband came into view, taking pictures of me at the finish line, along with my mother-in-law cheering. Then I heard the announcer say, “I hear some noise! Must be someone coming across the finish line! Number 70! Heidi Henry!” Ha! I’ve never had that happen. That’s what happens when you come in all by yourself!!
Following my finish I ran back to meet up with my friends, who were also running their first triathlon, to encourage them to the finish. That in itself was a memorable moment and I am so very proud of them.
I finished strong. I finished with a smile on my face. I want to do it again. I’ve been bitten by the triathlon bug and am ready to take on another one. This time around I’d like to be more “competitive” and not just take the backseat while the others kick butt.
(Side note: the temperature ended up being about 75 degrees, overcast. Small rain drops few and far between. In other words, almost perfect weather. The skies opened up about 2 hours post race. Whew!)
Mark Twain was known to say that the cherimoya was “the most delicious fruit known to men.”. According to my reading it’s also called a custard apple. Oftentimes people will freeze it, then eat it.
When I cut into the amount of seeds surprised me. Good thing I read that these are toxic. So toxic that they were once used as a pesticide and can also destroy kidney function. In addition, I found that you aren’t supposed to eat the peel.
So I dug in. Basically I cut it in half and started digging out the center. I must admit it was kind of a challenge with all of the seeds. Once again, so many seeds, and they’re quite large. I guess I’m more of a pit kind of girl. You know, just pop it out and eat, or eat around it. (I forgot to get my own picture).
I found the texture to be similar to a pear only more gritty. I ate half the fruit and then put the other half in the freezer. I figured I’d give that a try to see what that was like given others recommended it. I have yet to try it.
Unfortunately I did in fact miss the prime on my mangosteen. I’m very bummed about this given this is one of the ones I was real excited to eat. Bummer. I guess they’re quite moist but drastically lose their water content unless eaten soon after being picked. I’m wondering if I’d even be able to find a “good” one in a store given that I’ve only seen dried up ones wherever I’ve been.
Onward to my guavas. I received a Pink Guava and a Thai Guava. It’s my understanding that both peels are edible. The pink guava’s peel did not look appetizing so I just ate the inside. Both guavas had a ton of small seeds in the inside, which are edible. However, I can see some people cracking a tooth on those seeds. So be careful. They also had a pear-like texture and were slightly tart with a musky undertone. After tasting I researched if this is what it’s supposed to taste like. One article said kiwi-strawberry and another one said they should taste like pear-strawberry. I guess I could see either of those being true. Tart, like a kiwi or strawberry with the texture of a pear.
I guess you could say I wasn’t a huge fan of the cherimoya or guavas. I couldn’t help but think, once again, did I miss the prime of the fruits? Not to mention, although most fruits are available year round, it doesn’t mean they’re tasty year round. With that being said, I’d jump at the chance to try them again. 8 years ago I tried a mango and didn’t like it. I was confused because people raved about them. It wasn’t until I was in Hawaii and had another taste that I fell in love with mango. So, it’s all about timing and knowing where and when to eat the fruit. I think I need to do more research for these 3 fruits and try them again.
My next choice to eat from my fruity fun birthday gift was the rambutan. After a quick Google search I saw a couple pictures of beautiful red rambutans, at the same time looking at the one in my hand that was dried out and brown. Uhhh. As with the passion fruit, I was worried that it was overripe. Having already been proved wrong with the passion fruit I dug in. For a second time, I wasn’t disappointed. Something I must remember is that although we’re very lucky to have access to fruits from around the US/Globe, they aren’t as fresh as if they’ve just been picked. With that being said, if they’re this good having sat this long, I can only imagine how yummy they’d be if they were fresh off the tree/bush.
In Malaysia, Thailand, the Phillippines, Vietnam, Borneo, and other countries of this region, the rambutan is a relatively common fruit the same way an apple is common to many people in cooler climates
The rambutan is very easy to open. You slice one side of the fruit and “crack” it open, exposing the edible inside. (You do not eat the peel.) Once open, the fruit can be squeezed allowing the edible portion to pop off the rind. The edible fruit reminded me of a peeled grape in texture and taste, although it was slightly larger. I’ve also read where some people say it resembled how a boiled egg looks, which I could also see. There is also a pit located with center of the fruit that should not be eaten, as it is bitter.
What were my thoughts on the rambutan? It was yummy but I didn’t have a, “wow that was awesome!” moment. As with the passion fruit, I could see this being hard to eat as a mono-meal due to cost, especially since it doesn’t provide any special taste. However, I would eat it again and if I were in an area where the fruit was more prevalent I wouldn’t hesitate to dig in.
My first choice of fruit to eat from my fruity fun birthday gift was the passion fruit. The skin was already brittle and wrinkled, looking overripe to me, hence why I chose this one first. I based my conclusion on my other experiences with fruit, not passion fruit. One of the reasons I’ve always avoided passion fruit in stores, when available, was that it always looked this way. Upon further research I found this was normal. Ahhh, makes sense now. My research also explained that there are two different passion fruit colors: purple and white. My basket provided me a purple one. They are native to Brazil, but are grown in Hawaii (White), Florida, California, and New Zealand (Purple).
You should only eat the inside of a passion fruit, not the peel. I cut it open to find a jelly-like substance. Most articles say it’s orange in color. In my opinion it was more a mixture of yellowish-green hues throughout. I guess most often the pulp is sieved, removing the seeds, and the remaining pulp and juice are used in drinks, atop salads, or in specific dishes. On the other hand the seed are edible, although it is recommended to swallow the seeds whole and not chew them. Per my reading, the white layer just inside the outer peel is bitter along with the seeds (if chewed).
I can see some individuals having issues with the jelly-like texture/consistency of the pulp. Personally it didn’t bother me. What were my first thoughts on the taste of the fruit? Wow, that’s tart! More like sweeTART candy tart, not Tearjerker candy tart. I really liked it. Since I eat a raw, mostly fruit, diet, I don’t necessarily seek out sweets, but I could see myself seeking this fruit out for a little different sweetness/tartness.
My only negative, if you even want to call it that, is that there’s so little to eat within the fruit itself. Honestly, it’s just enough to give you that tart satisfaction, and chances are I wouldn’t want much more. However, it’s not like I could mono-meal (eat an entire meal of just one fruit/food) on passion fruit alone. It’d be way too tart and more than likely quite expensive.
With all that being said, I will definitely add passion fruit to my fruits to purchase in the future.
My brother and his wife surprised me with a gift basket of labeled exotic fruits from Nino Salvaggio’s . The selection includes: Passion Fruit, Rambutan, Mangosteen, Pink Guava, Cherimoya, Lychees, Thai Guava, Quince, and Pepino Melon. I’ve already dug in a plan to report my taste reviews here, along with pictures.