As November rolls around, many parts of the world begin to embrace cooler temperatures and prepare for the holiday season. However, in tropical regions, November marks the peak of the harvest season for a wide array of delicious and exotic fruits and vegetables. In this blog post, we will explore some of the delectable tropical treasures that are ripe for the picking this month in warm climates.
Fruits to Harvest in November and How to Tell It's Ripe
- Papayas: Ripe papayas have a yellow-orange skin and yield to gentle pressure. The skin may also show some wrinkles, and the fruit should have a sweet aroma at the stem end.
- Pineapples: A ripe pineapple will have a sweet, fragrant aroma near the base, and it should feel firm but not rock-hard when gently pressed. The skin color is typically golden or yellow.
- Avocados: Gently squeeze an avocado; it should be soft but not mushy. The skin may darken as it ripens, and it will yield to slight pressure near the stem. Use your full hand to gently squeeze, but do not press with individual fingers.
- Passion Fruit: A ripe passion fruit will have wrinkled skin and feel slightly soft to the touch. The fruit may also emit a sweet aroma.
- Guava: Ripe guavas yield to gentle pressure, have a sweet fragrance, and their skin changes color from green to yellow or pink.
- Barbados Cherry: Ripe Barbados Cherries are deep red or orange, slightly soft to the touch, and emit a sweet, fruity fragrance.
- Citrus: Ripe citrus feels heavy for its size, has a vibrant color, and yields slightly to gentle pressure when squeezed. It emits a fresh citrusy aroma.
- Custard Apples: Ripe custard apples yield to gentle pressure, their skin becomes slightly wrinkled, and they emit a sweet, fragrant aroma.
- Figs: Ripe figs are soft to the touch, have vibrant color, often a purplish hue, and slightly drooping stems. They should feel plump and yield gently.
- Jackfruit: Ripe jackfruit yields to gentle pressure, the skin becomes yellow or brown, and there's a strong fruity aroma. The fruit should sound hollow when tapped.
- Jujubes: Ripe Indian jujubes are fully colored, usually red or brown, and yield slightly when gently squeezed. They have a sweet fragrance and taste.
- Olive Trees: Ripe Arbequina olives turn dark purple to black, feel soft and pliable, and they have a milder, less bitter taste compared to unripe green ones.
- Persimmons: Ripe persimmons are vibrant orange, soft to the touch, and yield gently when pressed. The fruit should feel heavy for its size, indicating ripeness.
- Pomegranates: A ripe pomegranate is heavy for its size, has a firm and taut skin, and its color is deep, vibrant red with little to no green patches.
- Bananas: Bananas are best when they have bright yellow skin with a few brown speckles. They should yield slightly to pressure when squeezed and have a pleasant, sweet scent.
- Roots: Roots like Ginger and Turmeric are typically harvested when the leaves start to turn yellow or brown or when the leaves and stems are drying out.
How to Harvest Tropical Fruits
Harvesting tropical fruits can be a rewarding and delicious experience. Here's a general guide on how to harvest these luscious treasures.
Timing Matters: Determine the right time for harvest. Most tropical fruits are best when fully ripe, as they won't continue ripening once picked. Check for color changes, aroma, and ease of separation from the tree or plant.
Inspect the Fruit: Examine the fruit's condition. Look for firmness, vibrant colors, and minimal blemishes or signs of insect damage.
Use Proper Tools: Invest in the right harvesting tools, such as Pruners or Snips for tree fruits like mangoes, avocados, and guavas. For ground-growing fruits like pineapples, a sharp knife will suffice. For taller trees, consider using a fruit picker with an extendable rod--this tool is much safer to use than climbing a ladder! Use a garden trowel to gently lift and unearth root crops, ensuring minimal damage to the roots during the harvesting process.
Be Gentle: Handle the fruits with care to prevent bruising. Use a gentle, twisting motion to detach fruits from the plant if removing by hand. For tree fruits, avoid pulling, which can damage the tree.
Handle with Clean Hands: Ensure your hands are clean to avoid transferring contaminants to the fruit.
Collect Gently: Use baskets, bags, or crates to collect the harvested fruit. These containers should be clean and well-ventilated to prevent fruit from rotting.
Handle with Care: Transport the fruit carefully to avoid bruising or damage.
Store Properly: Some tropical fruits, like bananas and avocados, can be stored at room temperature until they ripen. Others, like papayas and pineapples, should be stored in the refrigerator to prolong freshness.
November is a remarkable month for those living in tropical regions, as it offers an array of delicious and nutritious fruits from nature's bounty. Whether you're enjoying the creamy richness of avocados, the sweet tang of passion fruit, or the tropical paradise of mangoes and pineapples, this month is a true celebration of tropical harvests. So, make the most of this season by indulging in the delicious fruits of the tropics and exploring new recipes that feature these incredible ingredients. Your taste buds will thank you!