Saudades de bananas

Saudades est un mot  en portugais qui se pert un peu en traduction. On le dit à ceux qui nous manquent — Saudades de você, mais aussi quand on se souvient d’un moment ou une sensation du passé. En portugais ce sentiment n’est pas forcément mélancolique, ou nostalgique, ou triste du tout, et en fait on peut dire saudades de n’importe quoi. Dans mon cas, ces jours-ci, j’ai eu saudades das bananas do Brasil

Uriel devait préparer une présentation orale sur “un système végétal vivant” (une plante, quoi); et bien sûr, fidèle à lui même, il a choisit la banane (ou plutôt “le bananier”) (il aime la couleur jaune et tout ce qui l’accompagne). Alors du coup, je me suis chargée de lui rapeller de toutes les différentes bananes délicieuses que nous mangions au Brésil, banana ouro, banana maçã, banana da terra, banana prata (ma préférée — plus petite que la banane d’exportation, mais plus ferme, plus savoureuse et plus sucrée). Toutes bien meilleures que la seule et unique banana nanica (celle d’exportation) que nous recevons dans tous les pays non producteurs de bananes, cueillies bien trop verte, trop pâteuse et moins savoureuses. Quand nous habitions en Rondônia, il n’y avait pas grande variété de fruits tempérés (quelques rares pommes un peu tristes), mais il y avait abondance de fruits tropicaux locaux: bananes à longueur d’année, mangues (seulement de novembre à décembre), abacaxí (ananas) (des fois), maracujá (fruit de la passion), noix de coco, papayes, goiaba (goyave), avocats (plus gros et plus doux que les Hass avocados qu’on reçoit en importation, et d’autre fruits dont vous avec probablement jamais entendu parlé :

Banana prata
Régime entier de bananes
Préparation de la bananada.
Cueillette de Jabuticaba


Cacau (fruit du cacao)


Cajú (fruit du cajou)

acerola (super fort en vitamine C mais curieusement pas acide du tout), cupuaçú, jabuticaba, pitanga, jambo, pitanga, araça-boi, graviola, noni (le fruit de la mort qui pue), manga, mamão (papaia), cajú…

Tous ces fruits m’ont rappelé une jolie chanson que les enfants ont écouté souvent, il y a quelques années, et qui sans le vouloir, fait maintenant partie des la trame sonore des nos années au Brésil.


The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family (Moraceae). It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day Kerala, in Tamil Nadu (in Panruti), coastal Karnataka and Maharashtra. The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much as 80 pounds (36 kg) in weight, 36 inches (90 cm) in length, and 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Jackfruit is also found across Africa (e.g., in Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Mauritius), as well as throughout Brazil and in Caribbean nations such as Jamaica. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh.

(Thanks, wiki*)

Jaca // Jack fruit trees.

Once in a while, hubby comes back from a visit to a farm with a bag of beans or a few BOXES full of bananas, both of which never go to waste as both are part of our almost-daily diet (plus, I’ve also learned to make bananada — banana spread). One day, he finally came home with a jaca (jackfruit). A fruit that I had long heard about, “a prehistorical looking fruit” would describe my husband, but as it is usually too big to eat at once (unless you have a dozen kids to feed at home, ha ha) I didn’t dare buy one at the feira (farmer’s market); Even if they do cut a piece for you, I didn’t know how much to ask for or how to choose the fruit. As it happens, I finally got to try one for FREE and it was a SMALL specimen !  

The small-ish fruit.

I wish I could say “it taste just like chicken”, but, er, not really. It’s really very sweet and, as you can see in the video below, has a lot of fiber. The seeds are quite big so it’s easy to take off, but somewhat difficult to eat in a civilized manner ! I’ve read that there are some sweet or savory dishes with jack fruit in South East Asia. My in-laws told me too that I could prepare it as I do apple sauce without the adding any sugar. I had no idea and should look into it next time we get another one of these monsters! As it happens we ate a bit of it, but I didn’t know what to do with the rest of the fruit that went into containers in the fridge, then ended up as compost in the backyard…


It might be because we are on vacation, or maybe because we have so seldom been with family since we have children… since we are married…since EVER, or simply because I like it here, but I have been daydreaming a lot of living in the neighborhood lately. This morning I escaped the house briefly (leaving the children with their father, uncle, grand-parents, two dogs and five cats), to walk alone to the grocery store. The walkway along the avenue is very pleasant with red flamboyant trees, yellow Ipê trees and the scent of jasmine or camellia (haven’t found out yet). I felt so happy in the sunshine, the temperature was perfect, warm with a light breeze.

SJC (where my in-laws live) is the perfect sized city, in my opinion. It is large enough to have everything one might need (schools, hospitals and an important industrial and research center), yet not as big as the huge São Paulo. Also at driving distance of the megalopolis : not a bad point for a day trip or picking up someone from the international airport. 😉

When I was still dreaming of coming to Brazil, I wanted to be closer to family but couldn’t exactly imagine myself living too close to them.

Now I can. No problem.

Maracujá // passion fruit flower // fleur du fruit de la passion
Muitas frutas! // Lots of fruits…