Friday, October 31, 2008

Ay, Carambola!

#106 - Draw something tart or sour

It sounds vaguely like a Spanglish cussword, but it's Averrhoa carambola, a.k.a. starfruit. The seedling I planted in my backyard years ago is now probably over 25 feet tall and veerrry productive. Why, I'd wager its annual yield exceeds the Gross National Product of some small countries! But the fruit is so sour as to be inedible. I know, I've tried. Last year, muttering the family motto "waste not want not" under my breath all the while, I marched out there and picked a dozen of the fattest, ripest fruits. I ran them through a juicer and kept adding sugar, an obscene amount, until I could force a glassful of the green-gold liquid past my lips. It made my molars itch, and the back of my throat felt as if it had just been massaged with a wood rasp. I told myself that a draught so -- uhmm -- bracing, must be very good for me! Over the course of the next 24 hours my digestive tract did all it could to dissuade me of that theory.

There are a couple of things I've learned in the meantime. First, fruit trees grown from seed, as this one was, might hearken back to some far less civilized ancestor and not produce usable fruit. Second, the acrid aftertaste I attributed to an overabundance of citric acid (Vitamin C, as in, protects you from colds) was more than likely supplemented with a strong dose of oxalic acid (as in, shreds your kidneys!) Normally there's not enough to hurt a healthy person, but most likely the process of juicing concentrated what was already, due to the poor genetics of the tree, an overly large amount.

This year my wicked carambola tree is flaunting another huge crop. I look at the heavy clusters of beautiful fruit with disdain. I'm married to a man with a chainsaw -- I could easily have it whacked!! But it is just so pretty. That should count for something, shouldn't it?

15 comments:

Ann said...

It is very pretty as your wonderful painting shows. I love the way you captured the dappled sunlight on the leaves and fruit.

Flashviv said...

What a great response to the Something Sour challenge, excellent drawing and love the story that goes with it.
Linda

Margaret Ann said...

It most certainly is beautiful! I have long wondered what it tasted like...Lovely painting! :)

Megan Warren said...

Hi Christie
thanks for stopping by my blog. Pattern pie is a great little program but it does have its limitations. Now I'm off to check out your blog - thanks again great to meet a fellow labyrinth lover!

freebird said...

You made a great painting of your star fruit. It's too bad it's inedible.

linda said...

christie, thanks for visiting my blog today...I'm glad I popped in for such a bright spot in rather a gloomy day! I would never chop down such a tree, but that's me.....I almost lost a bedroom once because of that attitude!!

E-J said...

Haha. Well, I like your painting of them - no need to force the things down if they make a pretty painting subject!

We have passion fruit growing in our garden (at least, in normal years ... among the strangenesses of this summer was their absence) but the variety isn't edible. I find that such a waste!!

Carol said...

Wow, I like your painting. Your lights and darks makes it very realistic.

Annie said...

Lovely painting - it must be wonderful living in Hawaii. Thanks for visiting my blog by the way!

Joan Y said...

Wow! Your drawings are incredible and I was thoroughly enjoying your writings. They crack me up. And Christie, you should have stopped by my house! I live in Hilo! (can you believe it???). I have a sweet starfruit tree and would have been more than happy to share the fruit with you! As it is, I cut down the branches this weekend! :(. If you want a cutting, let me know!

Cecelia said...

Enjoyed reading your blog. Lovely pictures and enjoyable stories.

Rachel H said...

That's a lovely drawing - I like the way you've used lighter colours at the back to bring out the depth - it works really well, as does the sunshine on it.

Marina said...

I love this story: I felt like I was chewing on a lemon all the way thru the end! :-)
Great drawing too!
Thanks for visiting and for your lovely comment!

Michael C. said...

Well they look delicious.. But I guess they are not. :-)

Lisa said...

What torture! I love star fruit. "made my molars itch" made me laugh. Glad I wasn't drinking anything.