One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Natal Plum -- Yum Yum Num Num

On a tip from a knowing man with a broom in his hand (he took the first bite and lived), I tasted a new fruit I've been staring at for years (the starry white blossoms are very fragrant, but I didn't know the fruit was edible).

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Carissa macrocarpa (Natal Plum), is a shrub native to South Africa, where it is commonly called the Large Num-Num. In Zulu, as well as in the Bantu tribes of Uganda, it is called Amathungulu or umThungulu oBomvu. In Afrikaans the fruit is called Noem-Noem.

C. macrocarpa deals well with salt-laden winds, making it a good choice for coastal areas. It is commonly found in the coastal bush of the Eastern Cape and Natal.[1] It produces shiny, deep green leaves and snowy white flowers whose perfumed scent intensifies at night. Like other Carissa species, C. macrocarpa is a spiny, evergreen shrub containing latex. They bloom for months at a time. The ornamental plump, round, crimson fruit appears in summer and fall (autumn) at the same time as the blooms. In moderate, coastal areas the fruits appear through the year. The fruit can be eaten out of hand or made into pies, jams, jellies, and sauces.[1] Some claim that other than the fruit, the plant is poisonous.[2] However this claim is a myth, possibly based on similarities to other plants with milky sap.[3] The California Poison Control System rates the plant as mildly toxic.[4] It appears in the South African National tree list as number 640.3.

A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known fruit has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

[From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carissa_macrocarpa]

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