Tropical And Subtropical Fruits
Since Thailand is a country abounding in a limitless variety of tropical and subtropical fruits, it is tempting to think of fruit almost exclusively to eat, rather something to be consumed in beverage form. The truth is that while whole fruits are a major source of food intake here, and a primary export item as well, a large variety of fruit drinks appear in the forms of pure fruit juice, concentrated fresh juice mixed with water, and also as a major ingredient in some bottled soft drinks. Here you will see small stands along the roadside, both in the cities and in the outlying areas, with transparent tanks of various colored liquids. These are different types of fruit juices indigenous to Thailand, and they are all great thirst-quenchers, especially during the hot months between March and July. There is a great variety of fruits in Thailand used in drinks, including Bananas, Guava, Papaya, Oranges, Pineapple, Grapes, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Coconuts, Litchi, Longan, Mangoes, Rambutan, Gooseberries, Strawberries, Rose Apples and Apples , Lime and other Citrus Fruits, plus the unique and very exotic Tamarind. In recent years, something called "raw juice therapy" has been gaining in popularity, which involves replacing some meals exclusively with "raw" (unprocessed) fruit and vegetable juices. This is sometimes referred to as "juice fasting" when all meals consist only of juices. It is described as a method of treatment of disease or bodily dysfunction and is claimed to be the most effective way to restore health and rejuvenate the body. The favorable effects upon the body are attributed to the following:
There is no question about the fact that fruit juices are healthy, but perhaps the best part of it is that they are readily available, very refreshing, they taste great, and are not expensive. Some of the more popular fruit juice drinks enjoyed in north Thailand, especially during the hot season, are bananas, guava fruit, pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, tamarind, mango, papaya, and the following:
It is generally believed that the melon originated in Africa, but many varieties of melon are grown in tropical Asia. The Thai melon is quite similar to the ever-popular honeydew melon, with its pale green or ivory skin and juicy sweet flesh. Although melons are generally eaten in slices, either as a snack or a dessert, there is a very delicious juice extracted from the flesh of the melon. A very refreshing drink is made by combining the juice of the melon with coconut milk.
The largest fruit in the citrus family, the pomelo is considered to be native to Thailand and Malaysia, and the trees bear fruit all year round. The pomelo fruit may weigh a kilogram or more, and is shaped like a pear or flattened globe. It has a very thick skin, light green turning to lemon yellow as the fruit ripens. Inside the fruit are large segments of pulp, each surrounded by a very tough membrane, which must be removed before eating. This fruit is a particular favorite of the Chinese in Southeast Asia, and is associated with all Chinese festive occasions, and finds a featured place in many Thai events as well. Pomelo juice is sweet, but not strongly so, and much less tart than its distant cousin, the grapefruit.
Tangerine and Mandarin oranges are thought to have evolved in the cooler parts of Southeast Asia, once known as Cochin-China (modern day Vietnam and Laos), where cold winds from China sweep southward during the winter months, bringing temperatures quite low. These are the hardiest of all citrus fruits. "Mandarin" usually refers to the fruit with yellow skins, and "Tangerine" to those with deep orange skins, both are known for how easy they are to peel. Tangerines are squeezed for their juice, which has a very slightly pinkish tinge, and is often served with a little salt. A very tasty treat.
The jujube originated in China where they have been cultivated for over 4,000 years, and where there are over 400 different varieties. The jujube is a small, deciduous tree which can withstand a wide variety of temperatures, virtually no summertime temperature seems to be too high. Winter dormancy allows it to tolerate subzero temperatures, but it only requires a small amount of winter chill in order to set fruit. The plant revels in summer sun and heat, the lack of either will limit fruit production. The fruit varies from round to elongate, and from cherry-size to plum-size, depending on the variety. It has a thin, edible skin surrounding whitish flesh of sweet agreeable flavor. As the fruit ripens, it changes from green in color to become entirely red. Shortly after it becomes fully red, the fruit begins to soften and wrinkle. While the fruit can be eaten after it becomes wrinkled, most people prefer them just before they become fully red. At this stage, the flesh is crisp and sweet, reminiscent of an apple. The juice of the jujube is very high in vitamin C content, and has a pleasant, not overly sweet taste.
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