Thursday, June 05, 2014


Kei Apples                                                                                                                                                                                  UHG
Those of you who know me or have been following my blog will know that I’m a chronic attention seeker. I just cant seem to help myself. When I went to collect some Kei apples from a spot I have been told about my excitement started to bubble like fruit in a jam pot, as I saw an opportunity to show off. I know that you won’t believe me, but the only ripe fruit that hadn’t already been plucked from the tree was out of reach, so to collect a bowl of fruit required some sign climbing. The showing off was incidental, or at least that's the story I’m sticking to.

My new and exciting secret spot, just don't tell anybody                                                                                               Laura
'Mind the gap'                                                                                                                                                                           Laura
The 'proper' name for Kei apples is Dovyalis Caffra. ‘The pejorative botanical term ‘caffre’ invokes the history of colonization on the frontier of the Cape colony. This fruit is indigenous to southern and eastern Africa and ‘Kei’ apples draw their name from the river in the Eastern Cape, which marked the boundary of the conquered territories for much of the nineteenth century.’ So writes our resident historian and in this case part time photographer, Dr Laura Evans. They are known in isiXhosa as umkokola.

Kei apricots?                                                                                                                                                                            UHG
Sticking with the spiky season theme, Kei apples are fiercely guarded by their vicious thorns, and the branches were/ are used as barriers to contain livestock and to keep intruders out. The fruit is more like an apricot than an apple in appearance, texture and flavor. If picked fresh they are mouth-puckeringly sour and unless perfectly ripe are challenging to chomp without a crinkled face. You might think that simply poached in sugar and water they would make a fine and simple dessert, but, as I found out, this is not so. After only a few minutes of cooking they seem to collapse into an orangey mush, so they are best suited for jams, jellies and syrups. If eaten fresh, try them quartered and sprinkled with sugar. I might add that the pips add a crunchy pop, which is rather fun.

Not the same tree!                                                                                       UHG
Spiky season                                                                                            UHG
Ready for jamming                                                                         UHG

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