It is nearly two years since I have been back in Lebanon and the first thing that struck me when I got home to my mother was how much better all the fruit tasted from that I buy in the Lebanese shops in London. I had asked my mother to buy me all that was in season and being the wonderful mother she is, she stocked up on custard apples, jujube, fresh dates and pistachios, khaki, pomegranates and peaches, all of which I adore and all of which I buy in London when they come into season. However, none taste as good there as they do here. Perhaps it is because of the long absence. Or more to the point, perhaps it is because of the time the fruit spend in transit. It could also be the quality. What is exported is possibly not as good as what is sold locally. All I can say is that I will make sure from now on that I go to Lebanon when my favourite fruit is in season. I missed the figs this year. My mother said something very interesting when I asked why she hadn’t bought any. Apparently, they turn sour as soon as it rains. The word in Arabic is ‘bi hammdo’. I never knew that and next year, I’ll be there before any rain spoils the figs!
I can never decide which is my all time favourite fruit but custard apples are up there at the very top and this one was a perfect specimen!
And here are the jujube and fresh pistachios together. The skins on the pistachios are no longer so fresh but this doesn’t affect the taste of the nut inside unless they start going mouldy. As for jujube, it is very difficult to get them perfect. They should be ripe to the point of starting to soften but not to the point of becoming too soft and woolly. This lot was not as perfect as the custard apple and some jujube were a little too woolly but it was a pleasure to eat them all the same, especially after so long of not having had any!
And my mother surprised me by bringing out these green walnuts which I used to pick off the tree at my aunt’s farm in Syria. Again, one of my all time favourites. I haven’t tasted them yet. Will report back once I’ve tasted them!