Health & Nutrition
Delightful Caribbean fruits
STAR APPLE (CAIMITE, CAIMITO)
The Star Apple is a native of the Greater Antilles (Jamaica, Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico) and was introduced from these islands to the rest of the tropical world. When cut crossways it has a star-shaped pattern. The Star Apple when combined with oranges and condensed milk is made into a dessert called Matrimony.
MATRIMONY DESSERT (STAR APPLES & ORANGES)
4-6 Star Apples
4 ripe oranges
1 ½ cups condensed milk
- Cut star Apple in halves. Remove seeds and scoop pulp from inside. Be careful to remove only the soft pulp.
- Place pulp in bowl.
- Peel and remove sections from oranges and mix with Star Apple pulp
- Sweeten with condensed milk and chill
To serve, top with grated nutmeg
Sugar brought enslaved Africans as well as indentured servants from India and China to the Caribbean. Sugar cane is eaten raw, crushed to make cane juice, molasses and of course, processed white rum.
SWEET SOP (SUGAR APPLE)
This heart shaped fruit has a peculiar appearance – the entire surface being divided into small, knobbly scales that break away separately when the fruit is ripe, exposing the creamy sweet custard-like pulp which encloses small black seeds.
Naseberry is native to Central America and the Caribbean.
The Indians of Mexico originally called the tree ‘sapodilla’, a name that is retained in many parts of the region. When ripe, the fleshy pulp may be eaten or used to make custard and ice-cream. The early Indians chewed the rubbery sap of the tree, which they called ‘chicle’ and it was this – with the addition of massive amounts of sugar – that New Yorker Thomas Adams managed to make into a successful commercial product – chewing gum.
The ripe fruit tastes like a combination of mango, banana, pineapple and cantaloupe. It is often compared to Juicy Fruit gum. The pulp is eaten and in some countries the large seeds are cooked and eaten. The green fruit can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. It can be boiled, fried, grilled, roasted and prepared with sauces. Mature seeds are also prepared in dishes. Jackfruits can reach a length of 3 feet and weigh up to 100 pounds, making it the largest tree-borne fruit in the world.
CUSTARD APPLE (CACHIMAN, SNAT APPLE, TJÉ-BEF)
The fruit of the custard apple is heart-shaped with a thin skin that has a pinkish tinge when ripe. The pulp is sweet, with a custard-like consistency and is either eaten plain or used in making ices or fruit drinks.
Guava is the authentic Arawak name of this pungently scented fruit which is eaten raw when ripe or used for making jelly or nectar. The leaves are used in folk medicine. One popular Jamaican folk song claims that ‘Guava root a medicine fi go cure di young gal fever’.
OTAHEITE APPLE (POMMERAC, MALACCA APPLE)
The Otaheite Apple (maple apple) is a native of the Pacific Islands. The juicy, shiny red fruit has one large seed. The fruit makes an excellent jam when stewed with brown sugar and ginger.
JUNE PLUM (JEW PLUM, DEW PLUM, GOLDEN APPLE, POMMECYTHERE)
June plum can be eaten green or ripe. June plum juice is made by blending the flesh with ginger and sweetening with sugar. It can also be made into jellies that taste somewhat like apple butter. The plums have a single sharp, spiny seed.
JIMBELIN (CARAMBOLA, STARFRUIT, FIVE FINGERS, COOLIE TAMARIND, CHINESE TAMARIND)
The very ripe fruit of the Jimbelin is golden yellow; half-ripen it’s a lemon green; and unripe they are very green. They can be eaten in all three stages. The fruit is sweet, watery, slightly acid and pleasant to taste. No need to peel. Although the outer edge of the ribs may be removed.
ROSE APPLE (PLUM ROSE, MALABAR PLUM)
The Rose Apple in no way resembles an apple. A sweeten preparation of the flowers is believed to reduce fever. The seeds are used against diarrhea, dysentery and catarrh. In Nicaragua it has been claimed that an infusion of roasted, powdered seeds is beneficial to diabetics and in Columbia the seeds are believed to have an anesthetic property.
Tagged cachiman, caimite, caimito, carambola, caribbean fruits, coolie tambrind, custrd apple, dessert, golden apple, guava, jackfruit, jimbelin, june plum, malacca apple, martimony, naseberry, otaheite apple, pommerac, rose apple, sapodilla, snat apple, soursop, star apple, starfruit, sugar apple, sugar cane, sweet sop