Sweet Lemon Blossoms and Khao Niaow Ma Muang

Blossoms are just exploding on our lemon tree

The garden is really showing its age. Last night’s garden walk was a little saddening. The tomatoes are going full bore, but the cucumber and watermelon plants are winding down. Tomatoes will go strong for another couple of weeks, maybe a few, and then start slowing. Today is August 25.

On the bright side, the lemon tree is covered with blossoms. But, as my husband noted over the weekend, there may not be enough time left in summer to get the lemons at their best. True, we may have an extended summer. But no citrus tree should be outdoors when the temperature drops below 50 degrees, not even for one night. So now, we’re in a race against time. If each of the lemon blossoms becomes a lemon, we’re talking dozens of lemons on this tree. The fragrance of the blossoms is intoxicating.

Our lime tree is also putting out all new growth. This is good timing. The lime is growing in strength just about a month or so before we’re going to have to start bringing it in at night. A strong citrus tree has a good chance of surviving winter in a dry, airless house.

Our lemon tree, however – I’m worried about it. Reproduction temporarily weakens a tree. Better to get lemons in spring or early summer, then give the tree the summer to recoup its strength before coming indoors for winter. The lemon tree, with all its fat blossoms, is going into overdrive now, when it’s nearly September. It’s going to be tired and spent when it’s time to come indoors.

Khao Niaow Ma Muang– my four favorite words. Or in English, ‘mango sticky rice’. Over the weekend, I realized that it’s been too long since I’ve had this amazing Thai dessert. So I headed out to the Granby health food store, where I found great organic mangoes. 

Downside is that they’re not yet ripe. So, they’re in the fruit basket until they get soft and sweet, and then it’s time to make rice.

Everyone has their way of making Khao Niaow Ma Muang. My method is to thoroughly cook sticky rice (you can get Thai sticky rice at Asian supply stores) with water and coconut milk (substitute about half the water with coconut milk). 

Slice up a fresh, sweet mango, and top the rice with it. Heat a can of coconut milk with about three tablespoons of brown sugar on the stove, cool, then drizzle the sweet coconut sauce over the rice and mango.

I’ve added Indonesia to Thailand and Vietnam as the places I need to visit soon. Closer to home, however, I have to start packing for Block Island. That’s an easy pack. Sundress, bathing suit, shorts, tank, sandals, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush, suntan lotion. No makeup, closed or fancy shoes, pants, lotions, potions, or jewelry. Slap me silly – I love summer.

Live in peace.

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