Mango season is long over now, but there's been plenty of laare around for the past few weeks. Laare ("la-ray") is the Pular word for a super-sour fruit that grows on trees out in the bush. Most people like to mix it with sugar (which tastes kind of like SweetTarts candy), some mix in powdered milk (going for a CreamSicle-type thing I guess), some like to add salt (which tastes like something out of a tidepool) and little kids just eat it as is.
I picked up a laare fruit at the weekly lumo market a couple weeks ago. It cost 25 CFA, or about 5 cents USD, and I bought a little 100 CFA sachet of sugar to go with it.
I brought it back to my hut and cut it open. It isn't very hard to cut through; the skin is soft but the inside lining is a bit tough. At first it looks like it's a two-lobed fruit, but it's really just a bunch of pulp-covered seed packed in together.
The part that you eat, the pulp, is slightly sweet and very tart. The longer you suck on a little seed-let (that's how I think of them, there may actually be a word for them) the more intensely our they become.
The ridiculous sourness is why most people like to add sugar. I really don't get the salt thing, but to each their own.
I ate some of the laare, spitting the seeds outside, and then gave the rest to few of my host brothers who were hanging out under the corossol tree near my host mom Mariama's hut. I think eating too much laare would give me a bit of a stomachache and also it's funny to watch the puckered, scrunched-up faces that the littler kids make while eating very sour things.
|This reminds me of the monkey-brains|
in Indiana Jones.