Ten Delicious Fruits from the Island of Jamaica
Ten Jamaican Fruits
Love the freedom loving people, the hurricane moulded landscape, and the succulent fruits; let’s focus on the tasty and the nourishing and talk about ten Jamaican fruits, not necessarily indigenous but at least grown in Jamaica.
There are many varieties of mangoes. The urban favourites would be East Indian and St. Julian. But from the parishes you get Keith, Robin, Number eleven, Millie, black Mango, Fine skin, turpentine, Sweetie Come Brush Me, and the ubiquitous Common Mango or Hairy. Blend, cook, puree, or just slice and dice into your fruit salad. You may simply wash mango and use your teeth to peel it the native way or prepare it in the kitchen.
I am a ripe banana man, as opposed to green banana which is cooked as an island staple. Bananas come in popular varieties such as Gross Mitchell but so long as the fruits are healthy and ripe with just a few black dots or speckled, then I can eat up to five at a time. Once a major export, banana is experiencing a surge in local Jamaican market because the marketing company is now hustling the fruit to motorists with well trained street side vendors at nearly every major intersection in the Kingston metropolitan area.
3. Papaya or Pawpaw
Papaya with its uncertain threat to male sexuality still remains one of my favourites. Like the first two it matures green and ripens yellow to red. You remove the inner layer of small seeds and peel off the outer layer to enjoy this enzyme filled fruit.
4. Custard Apple
Custard Apple. This one is not a plentiful in local farmyards as it used to be. Custard apple is ice cream on trees! Soft, sweet, and white flesh is interspersed with seeds that you spit out as you eat or remove before consuming.
Cultivated mainly in the dry limestone valleys of Manchester and Clarendon and St. Catherine, the citrus industry has suffered from several diseases in recent times but the perennial demand for oranges and orange juice will keep farmers seeking new ways to survive the threats. Rural folk simply pick and peel.
Guava appears this early in the list because it is a favourite of my wife who likes to blend guava drink by washing and dicing then placing in blender with water. She would then strain and sweeten and place in refrigerator.
Called sapodilla in some parts of the Caribbean this succulent is brown on the outside, red on the inside and is the tastiest fruit around. It has the unpleasant habit of fermenting within the skin if bruised so you had better care for this soft favourite.
8. Star Apple
When cut horizontally the pattern looks star shaped hence the name star apple, at least that’s what I think. Some ripen green and some a dark purple. The purple variety has purple flesh as well. Star apple tends to have some dripping stain near the rind even when very ripe so I prefer to eat it at home when I can clean up my lips after.
9. Jack Fruit
Since we mentioned stain lets just say that you would do well to rub your hands and lips with coconut oil before you begin feasting on the smelly cloying yellow pulp. This fruit offers something special because after you have enjoyed the flesh you may cook or roast the seeds.
10. Sour Sop
The tart fruit is usually enjoyed by removing seeds and blending the white flesh then adding a little sugar and lime. Some sweet tooth persons use condensed milk with nutmeg and vanilla to make a milky drink with the sour sop, but for several years my family preferred the low calorie lime flavoured mixture.
If I were to make another list tomorrow I might find a way to insert tamarind, lychee, even the national fruit ackee which is never eaten raw but cooked and prepared with salted codfish as ackee and salt fish, the national dish. You have June plum or Jew plum, Otaheiti apple, and my least desirable fruit, guinep.
Wanted to delete guinep but since God did not I might as well keep the mention.
I find the need to eat a bit annoying and only tolerate dining because of the wonderful fruits and nuts available for the palate and trust that when you vacation on the shores of Usain Bolt or shop tropical at your local farm market you will taste the island.