Published by the Manatee County Chapter of Rare Fruit Council International, Inc., P.O. Box 1656, Bradenton, FL 34206-1656. 273 pages, $20 plus $3.95 shipping. Available only by sending a check or money order for $23.95 made payable to MRFC and mail it to: Ms. Betty Kearns, MRFC, 6505 28th Avenue E., Palmetto, FL 34221
If you ever needed ways to use fruit, this very ambitious collection from the Manatee Chapter of Florida’s Rare Fruit Council International, is an excellent place to start. Most of the fruits and nuts covered in Delicious Treats Using Our Exotic Fruits are tropical or subtropical, but by no means does that limit its usefulness to people in other climates.
A goodly number of fairly common fruits are covered, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and persimmons. While these species grow in Florida, certain varieties of them will also be found in much of the United States. Also, quite a few of the fruits and nuts in the book are commonly sold in grocery stores throughout the country—things such as coconuts, macadamia nuts, guavas, pomegranates and citrus fruit of many kinds. There are, however, some tropical fruits in the book you’ll never be able to try unless you live right where they grow or have a really outstanding greenhouse— exotic fruits like jabotica, jakfruit, mamey sapote and more.
You will see some similarities among a number of the recipes making it apparent that in some cases, like ice cream, the recipes were mostly a matter of substituting a different fruit, with adjustments in other ingredients to make up for variations in the sweetness or acidity of the fruits used. There are also recipes wherein fairly obvious substitutions have been made; in such instances tropical fruits simply replace temperate fruits in older recipes. Nothing is wrong with that, since the fruit is still the star of the show. The exotic flavor of the fruit makes the recipe rather than the recipe making the fruit.
Finally, there are some special gems in the collection. A recipe for lychee salsa made me almost willing to live down in the hurricane country of southern Florida just so I could obtain the key ingredient to try this recipe.
Delicious Treats Using Our Exotic Fruits is definitely a no-frills book in many ways. Even the descriptions of the various fruits assumes the reader has already grown them or has been exposed to them; the neophyte would have a hard time recognizing some fruits from the few descriptive lines included in each section. But considering the sheer number of recipes this book offers, those who purchase it will not be shortchanged. And because many of the recipes are rather basic, they offer opportunities to easily figure out how to substitute other fruits and make many of them work.
In short, if you need more ideas on how to use all the fruits you raise, this book is a solid addition to your cook’s reference library. It has lots of recipes to use and many to adapt to other fruits, depending on what you are able to grow.