A mixed blessing, ackee is a fruit traditionally served with codfish. But be warned! Unripe ackee fruit contains a poison called hypoglycin, so you must wait until the fruit's protective pods turn red and open naturally. And then, only the yellow edible portion which surrounds the toxic black seeds can be consumed!
Introduced to the Caribbean from its native Tahiti in 1793 by the infamous Captain Bligh, breadfruit is a large green fruit with potato-like flesh. Breadfruit are not edible until they are cooked and they can be used in place of any starchy vegetable, rice or pasta. Breadfruit is picked and eaten before it ripens and is typically served like squash--baked, grilled, fried, boiled or roasted after being stuffed with meat. It's even been known to turn up in preserves or in a beverage.
Carambola, Star Fruit
Cut horizontally, this star-shaped fruit is a pretty addition to desserts, as a garnish for drinks, tossed into fruit salads or cooked with seafood. Juice together with pineapple and lime for a tangy treat.
Best eaten chilled with a spoon, the cherimoya has white sweet flesh that has the texture of flan and is used in mousse and fruit sauces.
The water, the jelly and the meat of this versatile fruit are used in all manner of food and drinks. Coconut, sometimes caramelised, gives Caribbean desserts their unique flavour.
Dragon fruit, Pitaya
Somewhere between a kiwifruit and a watermelon, dragonfruit is an exotic looking cactus fruit. Its crisp, watery white flesh is dotted with crunchy black seeds, and they are very refreshing. Pork belly and dragonfruit is a good combination.
With over one hundred species, this delicious little fruit can be yellow, pink or red inside and has multiple uses: punches, syrups, jams, chutneys, ice creams and a paste known as guava cheese. Or just gobble them up for a burst of Vitamin C that's second to none.
Hearts of Palm
The white core of palm trees, hearts of palm have a delicate flavour and are used in salads, often with avocado and orange with a vinaigrette sauce.
Though considered inferior to the breadfruit, jackfruit is used in soups, main dishes, desserts, drinks and ice-creams, or enjoyed fresh on their own. Once ripe, the flesh becomes creamy white, with a juicy, banana/pineapple-like flavour. The flesh of jackfruits can also be preserved in syrup, and the seeds eaten as nuts after boiling or roasting.
Where would a G&T be without a dash of lime? Limes are one of the most important ingredients in Caribbean sauces and marinades, and are used in everything, savoury or sweet.
Tasting similar to a peach, mamey is a large tropical fruit with edible orange coloured pulp. It's most often used in preserves.
Known as "the fruit of the tropics", mangoes are widely used in sauces, desserts and drinks, or eaten on their own for maximum pleasure.
Often called "pawpaw", the papaya is orange when ripe and has rather a bland flavour, making it a nice complement to the sharper flavours of other fruits. Green papaya is used as an ingredient in chutney or relishes, and when ripe, it's great in fruit salad. In the Caribbean, papaya juice is served up sweetened with condensed milk or sugar.
Passion Fruit, Maracudja, Granadilla
A commonly used fruit in juices, desserts, drinks and sauces, passion fruit in the Caribbean are large and yellow, rather than the wizened brown fruit you may be used to, though not as sweet. Besides being tasty and easy to eat, passion fruit is supposed to possess somniferous properties, helping you relax and have a restful sleep.
One of the banana family, plantain are technically a vegetable! Inedible raw, cooked plantains are served as appetizers or starchy side dishes. The unripe (green), ripe (yellow) and very ripe (dark) plantains are used in Caribbean cooking. They become slightly sweet as they ripen.
The star apple is a succulent round fruit about the size of an orange, with skin that is either a shiny purple colour or green. The flesh of the star apple is delicious and is the basis of a traditional Caribbean dessert known a as "Matrimony", a kind of fruit salad swimming in condensed milk – the perfect coupling!
Sugar Apple, Sweetsop
Looking like a green pinecone, or a hand grenade, the sugar apple is delicious when eaten ripe. The pulp is creamy white and taste like custard. It's usually eaten fresh or used as an ingredient for cakes, beverages and shakes and is prized for its health benefits as it's bursting with Vitamin C, vitamin B, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
If you are looking to boost your fruit vitamin intake this winter, contact your charter expert at Luxury Charter Group to organize your next Caribbean charter vacation.