, in my (un)educated guess, is probably (spanish?) for Delicious Monster
. And what else would you call a big (foot-long) green, scaly
fruit that's really, actually, delicious
The scales on a monstera are, on average, hexagonal, with a few irregular ones thrown in. They tesselate in a cool pattern - think unopened pine cone for the swirls - and usually have a little brown dot in the middle. They are green only when unripe. But a ripened one would be unsaleable, and this is why.
To ripen a monstera, hang it upside down in a bag until the scales turn blackish, get smaller (disrupting the pattern) and start falling off. Think vegetable leprosy. The monstera will start to be more pungent-smelling, but don't devour it until it's ripe, because it'll be dry and tasteless, and you might get little dry prickly tastes in your tongue (it's a hard sensation to describe).
Once it's ripe, get some friends so you can show off your weird fruit. But not too many friends, because you'll like this, i almost guarantee. Flake off the scales, and dive in. It's like banana-peach-pineapple-orange-cherimoya-goodness on a stick. (Except without the stick.)
Actually, no matter how exotic it looks, the monstera is the fruit of a relatively common houseplant - the swiss cheese plant (i can't remember the scientific name, i once knew it). Also, it should be known that according to some sources, monstera can cause allergic reactions including prickling in the mouth and throat and swelling of the throat. Not pleasant, but in an unscientific survey of the 20-odd people i've eaten it with, there have been no such reactions. So take your chances. Live on the edge. Woo-hoo!
Monstera is kind of hard to find around New England. It is also the namesake of a club i founded at Bard with a friend, subtitled the Exotic Fruits and Vegetables Club, whose sole purpose was to go down to NY (where they can be found, if you look) and buy fruits such as the monstera and bring them back up to lonely little Annandale-on-Hudson. Strangely, i once saw a monstera in my local Stop & Shop, but only once. It was like a mirage or something, nestled among the waxed unlabeled root vegetables that have come halfway around the world for people to puzzle over. And then it was gone.