Seasonal produce: pibasy

In the central highlands of Madagascar, one of the most delectable and celebrated fruits of the region is a type of loquat called pibasy. The characteristically colder climate of the highlands is ideal for growing pibasy and the fruit becomes available in the region during the winter months (April through July). Pibasy grows in clusters on a tree and ripens into a golden-yellow or orange fruit that can be oval or pear-shaped. The skin is smooth, sometimes furry, and can easily be removed to expose the edible flesh within. The fruit tastes like a tangy combination of peach and mango. Truly a special treat!

Pibasy growing on a tree (photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pibasy growing on a tree (photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because pibasy grows only in the highlands of Madagascar and is rarely exported to other parts of the island, it is extremely unusual for me to see it in my own community on the north-east coast. When I travel to the highlands, like I have recently to help train the newest group of Education Trainees, I make sure to seek out pibasy in the markets.

The inside of a pibasy with inner seeds visible

The inside of a pibasy with inner seeds visible

When I first arrived in Madagascar, more than one year ago, my host family had many pibasy trees around the house and this is where I was first introduced to the fruit. It was a common dessert that we enjoyed after meals. My host mother also made a sweet jam from the pibasy fruit, which was among one of my favorite parts of eating breakfast with the family. I also remember sitting in the yard and spitting out the pibasy seeds with my host siblings to see who could launch them the farthest. Clearly, my infatuation with pibasy is rooted in the fond memories I share around the fruit.

As my current visit in the highlands comes to an end, so does the season for pibasy in Madagascar. My friends and I have enjoyed this year’s harvest and I know many of us look forward to it again next year.

A fellow PCV and I enjoying pibasy

A fellow PCV and I enjoying pibasy

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One thought on “Seasonal produce: pibasy

  1. It must be enthusiastically enriching and enthralling to discover the unique foods of Madagascar.
    Thank you for sharing your adventures.

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