Friday, September 25, 2009

Husk Tomatoes!

As a Farmer's Market hound, I'm a sucker for the unusual, the heirloom, and the new. I buy my broccoli and beans, and love them, but my attention is always caught by the oddly colored tomato, the new herb, the strange varietal and foraged stuff. At Wednesday's Union Square Market, I tasted a vegetable I had tried and failed to order from my favorite heirloom seed catalog for the roof garden--the Mexican Sour Gherkin. This is a quarter-length pellet shaped little cucumber cousin, with markings like a watermelon, and a juicy interior somewhere between a lemony cucumber and a berry. Those were fun, but they were expensive, and I was thrilled to come home to some exotica right in my CSA box.

This week's share included, in addition to corn, lettuce, bitter greens, kale, beets, potatoes, wax beans, tomatoes, eggplant, and onions, a handful of tiny yellow husk tomatoes, or cape gooseberries. Hearing that these little sweetish seedy berries were superfoods, I had bought a bag of them dried at Trader Joes a few years ago. Bitter, odd, and full of seeds, they were not successful in muffins nor in granola, and languished in the freezer for years until I finally threw them out. The fresh version is luckily more palatable, but still odd. Mildly sweet, with a bit of an edge, Matt compared them to blueberries, then grapes, and they also do resemble the fruit whose name they stole, the tomato, but mostly they are their own, and I'm happy to have a chance to explore them.

There are so many kinds of edible fruit and vegetables in the world, and I feel like my diet is so limited, embraces so few of the possibilities. I love sampling new fruits in markets I visit (and in my own) and imagining how my life would be if a food I'd barely heard of (say taro) were to become my staple.

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