The fruits in Costa Rica are often strange and plentiful. People seem to like to hear about them, so I’ve done a video on the Cassabanana on youtube here: http://youtu.be/azTTyUDpXbU
It is also known as casban, musk cucumber, sikana and many others. It was surprisingly good, tasting a lot like a cantaloupe. They last a very long time and are sometimes used as a moth repellent in closets (they smell very sweet). They are full of vitamins like C, B1, B2, B3, calcium, phosphorous, iron and carotene.
As mentioned in the video about the parasites, the leaves and flowers contain hydrocyanic acid (cyanide). In small doses it can be used to cure certain ailments but in large quantities, watch out!
Now onto my gross story about the guavas. When I first moved here, my neighbor showed me the sloth in his tree then all of the fruit trees he had. One of them was guava. They smell SO good. He gave me a greenish one and said I could eat it now. I saw that the ripe ones were actually yellow, but I took his word for it. I kept it around for a couple of days and during that time would go for walks and find these trees almost everywhere. So I picked some and took those home too, thinking I’d make a nice drink with them in the blender.
One night, I decide to try the guava he gave me. It was full of seeds which you couldn’t even chew without breaking your teeth so I scooped those out and ate the flesh instead (there wasn’t much of it). It was good. Then I took the ones I got from the roadside and started cutting those open in order to make my icy blender drink. I’m throwing the guava, ice and sugar and water in the blender and the stupid thing started leaking from the bottom. I tried and tried to fix it but it didn’t work, so I had to give up. So now I have a few other guava that I hadn’t thrown in there yet and I take a closer look only to see what appeared to be maggots squirming around in them! EEEWWWWW!!!! Then the image of me the night before eating that one was conjured up in my head. I honestly didn’t look all that closely at it, so for all I know I ate some of them too. The only difference was that the one I ate was green and from my neighbor and these were more ripe.
Of course I google it. It appears that the fruit fly lays its eggs in there so these are larvae of those. My friend says you can just eat the worms…gives you protein and doesn’t harm you. I read that that is true but who wants to do THAT?
My other friend says that most fruits do have parasites or larvae of some kind in them unless they’ve been blasted with pesticides…so which would you rather have? The one way farmers keep the guava from getting the worms is to bag them when they’re still green on the trees (I see this with bananas as well but thought it was to keep birds, etc. from eating them but maybe not!?).
I actually do pick the guava to keep on the table because they smell wonderful and if I’m in the mood to eat one (not much anymore), I carefully inspect them for worms. So there was one of my dumb moments in traveling…just had to share so you don’t think this is a bed of roses ALL THE TIME!