Wednesday ARTfarm Cucumber Mango MADNESS… and Honeycomb

A pile of freshly washed cucumbers is topped with an orangey-yellow mango, sliced open.
Cucumber and mango salad, anyone? Sweet, crunchy, refreshing! If you dare, add a little crushed red pepper! Or make a mojito out of it!

Oh, the madness. Sweet mix, spicy mix, arugula, baby greens, escarole, lettuce heads. Radishes, lots of crunchy cucumbers, garlic chives, Italian (Genovese) basil, lemon basil, Thai basil, holy basil, lemongrass, sage, dandelion greens, zinnia flowers, lots of Haitian and Julie mangoes!! Wanda’s honey, Errol’s honeycomb, Patricia’s Super Dark honey. Probably other stuff available, but we’re Mangocentric and Cucumberized and we forgot!!

What to do with honeycomb? Oh baby, let us tell you!!

Honeycomb is an uncommon and delicious, completely edible treat. It is a chunk of the comb, cut from the hive, that the bees have built from beeswax. Its intricate and symmetrical repeated form is one of the great wonders of nature. 

  1. In the old country, people often enjoyed honeycomb as a condiment on bread or bruschetta. Take a slice of warm or toasted homemade bread, slather some fresh butter on it, and spread a chunk of honeycomb with a knife over the bread (fresh, “virgin” comb is soft enough to be spreadable). If desired, top with a piece of strongly flavored cheese, such as pecorino, and enjoy.
  2. Honeycomb can be eaten as candy. It is one of the original farm sweets for children! Simply cut off a small piece and pop it in your mouth. You can chew the wax and swallow it, or you can retain it like chewing gum. It is completely digestible, and like chewing gum, will lose its flavor as it is continually chewed.
  3. Honeycomb can also be used in its traditional forms; as a tea sweetener, drizzled over ice cream, in cooking and baking etc. Simply cut a chunk of the comb off, allow the contents to drizzle and drip into your drink or recipe, then use as a garnish or pop the rest in your mouth and enjoy!

ARTfarm Saturday Stand – De-stress!

A close up photo shows a flower spike on a clump of green tulsi leaves, or holy basil.
Bees love the nectar from the purple flower spikes that grow from holy basil. The plant is purported to have anti-stress medicinal qualities, and makes a refreshing ‘bush’ or herbal tea. We grow holy basil organically at ARTfarm and cut it fresh for the farmstand.

Happy ARTfarm Saturday! This morning starting at 10am we’ll have: sweet salad mix, spicy salad mix, arugula greens, mAcro greens, beets, radishes, tender young cucumbers, dandelion greens, escarole, red mustard greens, garlic chives, sage, thyme, fresh cut zinnias; Italian, Thai, lemon and holy basil, lemongrass, and local honey from Wanda and Patricia. Come out to St. Croix’s South shore this morning and enjoy the cool breeze!

Refreshing, de-stressing drink recipe:

Steep a bunch of fresh cut holy (tulsi, pictured above) basil with a bunch of lemongrass in a couple of gallons of freshly boiled water. Pull out the herbs after 10 minutes and add some local honey to taste. Enjoy hot or cold! Sip, be refreshed, be de-stressed, enjoy a local beverage! Costs pennies per serving!

MAKE SALSA. ARTfarmStand Open 3-5:30, everyT’ing you need!!

Hope you are enjoying this bounteous time of year as we are. Beautiful little night rain showers are keeping our arid section of the island green and verdant! Come out and see us today for microgreens, sweet mix, spicy mix, baby spicy mix, broccoli greens, kale, escarole, endive, cabbage heads, beets (get them now before the caterpillars do!), cucumbers galore, green sweet bell peppers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, hot green cayenne peppers, purple long beans, scallions, onions, italian basil, lemon basil, holy basil, garlic chives, frilly cilantro, flat leaf cilantro and flat leaf parsley.

MAKE SALSA.

Luca’s recipe, according to taste:

A bunch of frilly cilantro
Lots of salt
One nice firm green tomato
A bunch of ripe slicer tomatoes
Garlic chives
Sweet peppers
Onion and or scallions
Vinegar or sour orange or lime
Optional green chile peppers

Chop it all up fine and enjoy it on your chips, beans&rice, in a sandwich with cilantro pesto, or just by the spoonful.

Eggfruit – How to Enjoy It

Four golden yellow egg fruits resting on the worn surface of a blue wooden farm cart. Eggfruit are heart shaped, ranging in size from apple to grapefruit. These are grapefruit sized.
Four whole eggfruits, golden yellow like heart-shaped school buses, ready to be made into smoothies, pies, salad garnishes and more! Eggfruit range in size from apple to grapefruit. These are grapefruit sized.

Eggfruit is a versatile Caribbean fruit that can be eaten raw or cooked, sweet or savory in many recipes. It grows on an attractive mid-sized tree in the Sapote family, with dark green foliage. Eggfruit is known by many other names, including canistel and yellow sapote, and the latin name of the tree is Pouteria campechiana (Morton, J. 1987. Canistel. p. 402–405. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.).

The thin, delicate skin of the fruit contains latex sap, so generally the peel is discarded. The flesh of the eggfruit is high in niacin, carotene (provitamin A), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium and phosphorous. Three to four large, smooth, dark seeds are enclosed in the flesh of the eggfruit.

The texture and color of the eggfruit’s flesh is oddly similar to the yolk of a hard boiled egg. It is dry, not juicy, despite the 60% water content of the eggfruit. The flavor is rich as, but much sweeter than, an egg yolk. The taste is not dissimilar to a baked sweet potato, but more delicate.

Eggfruit can be eaten out of hand, baked, puréed, crumbled over a salad, added to dressings, enjoyed sweetened, or salted with vinegar.

Eggfruit is wonderful in smoothies. It makes a yellow egg-custard (think “French vanilla”) flavored milkshake when blended with ice, milk, a dash of vanilla or nutmeg, and a small amount of sweetener. Mrs. Powell at the La Reine Farmer’s Market on St. Croix always made a wonderful traditional eggfruit drink.

I use eggfruit as a substitute for canned pumpkin in pies, adding a bit of liquid if needed to approximate the texture of puréed pumpkin. The mashed eggfruit flesh thickens and enriches mixtures, so use your imagination! A squeeze of lime juice also heightens the flavor. See my recipe for eggfruit pie below.

Eggfruit is fragile once it is ripe, so it’s not a fruit you’ll readily find in places outside of the Caribbean and southern Florida. Keep it in the fridge after it ripens, freeze it if you’ve got an abundance, and enjoy this rare treat!

Eggfruit Pie

1 1/2 cups mashed eggfruit pulp
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup local honey (or to taste – or use maple syrup)
(We made this with molasses once – it was a bit too heavy for most of the family’s liking, but with adjustment that might be a good alternative sweetener for this recipe too!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of vanilla
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 beaten eggs
2 cups evaporated milk, coconut milk, or light cream
Chopped nuts or shredded coconut for topping – optional
Pie crust of your choosing – you can use small tart crusts too! Or – skip the crust entirely and bake in some buttered custard cups or ramekins.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Reserving toppings, mix all ingredients in a blender.
2. Pour into a pre-baked crust(s).
3. Sprinkle nuts, or shredded coconut, or both, on top if desired.
4. Any leftover filling can be poured into a buttered oven-safe casserole or dish and will make a yummy little custard.
5. Bake in a medium oven, for 1 hour or until the edges have set, at 350º F.
6. Cool before serving. Whipped cream is a great option over top!

~ ARTfarmer Christina

For more recipes, check out eggfruit.com! If all this seems overwhelming, make reservations: Chef Dave Kendrick of Kendrick’s Restaurant in Christiansted stopped by the farm today to pick up some greens and took a couple of eggfruit with him. He’s planning a special dish with eggfruit in it, so stop by and see what he’s come up with! For reservations at Kendrick’s call (340)773-9199. (ETA: This post from 2011, Kendrick’s sadly has closed since then!)

Thanks to Toni Downs, fellow St. Croix farmer and cook who corrected our oven temp on this page in 2021! The pandemic was good for something!! On your way to or from ARTfarm, check out Toni’s soaps and preserves, plus the efforts of several other artisan growers, at the Southgate Corner Farmers Market, if you’re on St. Croix, USVI!