My first encounter with the Noni fruit was not pleasant. Disgusting actually.
At that time I had no idea that it was a Noni fruit. Blackspot is obsessed with eating them and she used to hunt for them at this particular house. I just learned to steer her away, not thinking or caring what it is that she was hankering for. I just really wanted her to stop eating everything from the streets.
Blackspot’s obsession includes nuts, dried seed pods, and these fruits. I usually let her have the occasional nut, but pull everything else out from her mouth, except poop. Yes, dogs eat poop. The things I really watch for are bones – chicken wings, rib bones, and fish bones which are extremely sharp. It’s amazing what people litter.
So one day when I reached into her mouth and felt something soft and squishy, my mind was already racing, trying to figure out what it was. I was pretty sure it wasn’t poop. The colour was way lighter, almost white. Blackspot was intent on keeping it. it was a battle of wills. We both won. I managed to pull out what I could but because it was soft, some remained in her mouth and she happily swallowed it, smacking her lips afterwards.
I didn’t even look at it. I was so grossed out at what it could be that I just wanted it out of my hand. I could also smell it, without having my hands anywhere near my face. I wanted to throw up.
The ripe fruit rots readily and the smell has been described as a “terrible stench” that resembles vomit.
Yeah, it does.
From the same website, here’s more info about this fruit…the Noni or Mengkudu (morinda citrifolia from the family Rubiaceae) is used for the red, purple, and brown dyes made from the bark. Medicinally, the fruit was used for a range of ailments, including putting heated leaves on the chest for coughs. Culinarily, the fruit is eaten in rojak in Indonesia and as part of the everyday diet in the Pacific Islands. The leaves are eaten like vegetables and the seeds are roasted.
I actually didn’t put a name to this potato-looking fruit until recently, when my friends and I were discussing what the tree in my new backyard could be (which is still a mystery). And then I find that my neighbour actually has a Noni tree that unburdens its smelly treasures into my front yard. I also discovered that these trees pepper my neighbourhood, calling for extra vigilance when I walk the dogs.
And of course I knew about this fruit. I hadn’t connected the dots. This is the fruit of the famous South Pacific juice that is purported to be a health elixir. Locally it’s reputed to cure cancer. Whether it does or not, because of Blackspot’s recent digestion issues, I have watch her intake. I’ve been tasked by the vet to put her on a bland diet while she desensitizes from her allergies.
At least I’m over the initial trauma of touching the Noni fruit (wet and slimy in Blackspot’s mouth). I now have to dispose of them every day before Blackspot makes a breakfast of them.