MONSTERA DELICIOSA – POISONOUS BUT DELICIOUS
The monstera fruit can be confusing. Let’s start with the number of names its been given around the world. The fruit salad plant, ceriman, Swiss cheese plant, splitleaf philodendron, monster fruit, monstereo, Mexican breadfruit, windowleaf, balazo, and Penglai banana. There are even more than these incredibly. This variation in nomenclature is down to the large distribution the monstera has. With a native range of Southern Mexico to Panama, the monstera (a climbing vine) has been introduced into many other tropical regions even becoming a pest on many Pacific islands.
The fruit of Monstera belongs to the Araceae (Arum family) and grows up to 25 cm long and 3–4 cm diameter. It has the appearance of a long corn/maize or pine cone with honeycomb like scales hexagon. When the fruit is ready to eat its hexagonal scales start to fall away, revealing a cream coloured flesh underneath. One by one the scales are lost.
THE FLAVOUR PROFILE
The monstera got the ‘deliciosa’ name for a reason. If you ever had custard apple, jackfruit and pineapple then imagine this mix, its pretty close to what monstera tastes like. It has texture akin to that of a pineapple but slightly more tender with a almost jackfruit like sliminess. Its sweet flavour profile relies on the fruit being really ripe. Unripe fruits can irritate the throat because of oxalic acid which can lead to considerable discomfort.
SCIENCE OF THE MONSTERA FRUIT
In recent years the monstera has become a popular ingredient in health supplements. It has a good amount of vitamin C and is a natural energy booster due to the rush of natural sugar and water content.
GETTING IT READY TO EAT
If you are looking to eat the monstera right away look for fruits that have started to shed their hexagonal scales. This is an indicator that it has begun to ripen.
HOW TO USE IT?
As with many tropical fruits it is better to and easier to eat it alone but the monstera can also be added to ice cream, yoghurt and cereal.
FLAVOUR COMBINATION SUGGESTIONS
The monstera pairs well with cream based ingredients like yoghurt. It also complements fruits which share elements of its flavour profile like the custard apple and pineapple.
- The fruit must only be eaten when fully ripe (i.e. when the scales have started to fall off)
- Do not force off the scales if they are not easily removed. Eat other ‘capsules’ of the fruit from parts that have been exposed.