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Saturday, April 23, 2011

How I Wasted $6 and Almost Burned Down My House with One Piece of Fruit

I blame it on volleyball.

One of the coaches brought in some dried fruit and nut mix. I didn't know what the pinkish- orange things were. I tried one. It was AMAZING. It took me a while to figure out, but I finally decided it was a dried papaya. I had never eaten a fruit that tasted so sweet. It was like eating nature's own Starburst. I stole one every time I was alone in the office.

Then, in an unbelievable twist, I found fresh ones at the grocery store. I KNOW. Who would have thought?!? I like to try new fruits and veggies with the girls every once in awhile, so I bought it. It cost $6. Yeah. But it tastes so GOOOOD! It would be totally worth it.

We got it home. We let it sit on the counter for a few days to ripen. I sliced it open one day.
IT WAS...gross.

It didn't taste anything like the dried variety I had devoured earlier in the year. The girls weren't thrilled with it either. OK. Bummer, but I had another plan.

We would dry it!

When we add sugar and reduce the water content, it will taste JUST like the stuff I had out of the bag.

So. I found a recipe. I got out the foil and my cookie sheet. I cut up the huge papaya, mixed it with sugar, put it on the cookie sheet, and popped it in the oven. At 250 for the next umpteen hours. I was so excited. I kept the temp low. I wanted to slowly dehydrate the yummy fruit so it would taste just like the store bought brand. I checked on it periodically. Then I got distracted with the chores of the day. And it happened...

There was a strange smell coming from the oven. I ran over to check on my beloved papaya. When I opened the door, I saw the flames. From the bottom of the oven. HOW COULD MY OVEN BE ON FIRE AT 250 DEGREES!?! WHY WERE THE FLAMES ON THE BOTTOM OF THE OVEN! HOW DOES PAPAYA TASTE SMOKED?!? (Why, Oh, Why did this happen to me!!! Again. But that's another story.)

Oh. The cookie sheet. Huh. The cookie sheet didn't have an edge on it. As the water was released from the papaya, it mixed with the sugar and dripped onto the bottom of the oven. Where the heating element is. Yeah. Does anyone else remember that sugar and heat create a nice flame? Well, I will remember from now on. THAT IS FOR SURE.

I pulled out my papaya. We each tried it. Amazingly, it still tasted....gross. Just chewier now. And, I now also have the added benefit of figuring out how to get concentrated papaya juice off the bottom of my oven before my next meal.

I have been told I have tenacity. Or put another way, I don't know when to LET. IT. GO. I think from now on I will weigh the financial loss of my failed purchases with the personal cost of hearing the smoke alarm. In my sleep. For months. I'm sure I can learn something.

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