A delicious and healthy dessert
Many parents worry about child diabetes and child obesity, and at the same time parents wish to give their children treats. In Thailand, where most people until recently only drank water (not tea, not beer), and where fruit was the dominating candy or dessert, most of today’s adult population have perfect teeth and a constitution that can be described as athletic. Unfortunately, today’s Thai athletic parents wish to give their children what they never got when young. They provide candy, Coke and potato chips all day long. Since the degree of education is poor in Thailand, many have no idea how this will affect the long-term health of their children. A contradictory fact is that even expensive private schools, which should provide knowledge and quality, sell the same inferior products.
A delicious and nutritious substitute for an ice-cream is a frozen passion fruit. In Chiang Mai they cost 1-2 Baht each, or they grow for free in your own garden. Take a couple of fruits and put them in the freezer section of the fridge. When you wish to spoil your two-year-old, you simply give him a cut half of the fruit. Let it thaw a couple of minutes before serving. The rind of the fruit is a natural container, so the child can hold it like a cup designed for a small fist, and eat the pulp straight with a spoon. No plastic trash, hardly nothing to wash. A few good quality passionfruits are in fact so delicious, that my husband sometimes prefers them to a beer after a hard day’s work!
The Passionfruit is indeed sour, and some older children who are accustomed to sugary products may not like it, but the sooner you teach your children there is a palette of flavours and tastes, the better. If the child likes it, you should not serve it every day, but maybe as a treat once a week. In this way, he will long for a passion fruit, and greatly appreciate the moment when he actually gets one.
The fruit is almost fat-free (0.7%). It contains a little bit of sugar and some acids, which of course attack the teeth like any food. Drinking water afterwards is therefore good. Compared to other fruits it is rich in protein, potassium and carotenoids. It also contains dietary fiber and vitamin C. No synthetic aromas, dyes or preservatives.
From our experience at Dokmai Garden, there are not many passion fruit species you can grow in Chiang Mai, as many originally come from the cooler climate of the South American Andes. Passiflora edulis, the edible passionfruit, is luckily one that thrives well. It may die back in the hot and dry season, but as the seeds are abundant you can plant new again, or for the price of one ice-cream, buy a new plant that will provide enough fruit for six months of treats.
This advice fits very well with the Slow Food philosophy. Read more about Slow Food in Chiang Mai!
For a two-year-old, eating a passion fruit with a spoon is a fun activity in itself!