Foods from the Amazon Rainforest…fruits of the forest

Foods from the Amazon Rainforest…fruits of the forest.

More than 3000 edible fruits are found in Amazon rain forest, amongst them…… Acai, avocado, banana, coconuts, Cupuaçu, fig, grapes, lemon,mango, oranges and pineapple. Many are indigenous, some such as melon were introduced as long ago as the the 1600s.

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Acai fruit from the Acai palm tree is an essential fruit for local people of the forest. It is a small black berry packed with protein. Unfortunately the increasing popularity of this fruit worldwide means cleared forests, large plantations and the use of fertilisers and pesticides….which isn’t necessarily good for the rainforest, its wildlife or its inhabitants.

Pineapples, picked from the centre of low, thick leaved bushes, and guarded, often, by huge, black, hairy, Pink-toed Tarantulas, are sweet and tender. Opened with a slash of a sharp machete, the firm, pale yellow flesh is eaten dripping with clear yellow juice. Not a bit like the floppy sad rings, dipped in thick, sweet, orange syrup, that we in the west have for dessert.

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Mangoes are picked from the trees when ripe or picked up after a storm. The mangoes bare little resemblance to shop-bought ones. they have a distinctive, fresh smell.The mint green peel is easily opened to reveal rich, golden flesh, so full of juice it runs through your fingers, sticky and luscious.

The Cupuaçu trees come from the Amazon region. The fruit is oblong, brown,and fuzzy. It has a rich creamy whitened, aromatic pulp. The vitamin and mineral rich pulp is used to produce delicious juices, jellies, ice creams, shakes, mousses and chocolates.

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Blue-crowned Trogon, a wondrous bird of the Amazon Rainforest.Scientific name: Trogon curucui

The Trogon – Scientific name: Trogon curucui

It’s name sounded like something from a science fiction film and when I saw the illustration of the Trogon in a book, I did wonder if it was not a figment of someone’s imagination.
I had read in the book that Trogons were brightly coloured birds that perched half way between canopy and ground. They are shy and sit quietly for long periods, staying out of sight, making their presence hard to detect and observe.
It seems right then, that my first sighting of this bird, should be part of a strange tale.
It happened early one morning at breakfast. I looked up when I heard a loud, hooting call and saw this vision alight on a branch just metres away from me. I gasped.
The previous day I had been thinking about my problem stay in Brazil: the constant battle with bureaucracy, certain unhelpful people, my difficulties with the language and so on. I was hot and tired, weary of the struggle to get my home built.
It was a warm and sticky afternoon. Pushing my damp hair away from my face I spoke aloud to the trees. “I am so tired,” I said, “If you want me to stay send me a sign,” and then remembering the picture plate I had seen in the book that morning, “A Trogon, will do,” I said, shrugging in despair and feeling foolish talking to the forest.
I was absolutely shocked then when it appeared the next morning. I stared at it, afraid to move, and it just stared right back.
The Blue-crowned Trogons large, round, jet black eyes, are surrounded by a thin band of yellow. It’s head was blackish blue, the back and upper tail a deep turquoise, the wings pale greyish blue edged in black and the breast a soft red. On the underside of it’s long tail were striking black and white stripes. It was extraordinary.
I lifted my camera, it turned away, but did not fly off. Instead it perched on the same branch for quite some time, occasionally turning to look at me with those large, curious eyes.
I felt honoured. After the Trogon had flown off and I had recovered my senses, I turned towards the trees and, of course, loudly thanked the forest.

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