The Asian network of grandmothers, old friends, and neighbors’ fruitful backyards is strong. A ripe tree bearing many fruit can becomes gifts to old friends, neighbors, and/or relatives who will likely parse it out to their own friends, neighbors, and/or relatives; a great way to diversify your harvest and taste some of the freshest and sweetest organic produce!
A friend of my grandma’s visited her a few days ago and brought her six wax apples. They came from the backyard of another friend, who grew a tree from a seed brought over from Taiwan. My grandma had never encountered this exotic treat before. Neither had I, and lucky for me she gave me a few to enjoy when I went over yesterday.
The wax apple has many fun and descriptive names (some of which include: jambu apple, love apple, water apple, and bellfruit). It’s related to the guava, funky family members that bear resemblance through their bellybutton-ish undersides, remnants of where the tree’s flower once was. It surely doesn’t share the texture of a guava – while a guava is gooey and can have many, many seeds, the wax apples I tried were quite firm and had no seeds (or just one, tiny tiny seed in one instance).
The wax apple’s high water content give it a crisp and refreshing bite. Sweet and juicy, its texture is a bit like a cross between watermelon and an apple. No need to peel it either – a good thing since it seems pretty delicate.
I read online that they doesn’t keep all too well, staying freshest for only about 3 or 4 days (and not in the fridge, where it breaks down much more quickly). My grandma put one in the fridge and the fruit started to split in a few tiny areas but on the very very bright upside the juices were cooler and all the more refreshing when we cut it to share.
Word on the web is that there are places in LA to get these, including the Pasadena farmer’s market. If there’s a time to check it out, it would be while it’s in season now!