Caribbean Fruits
and Vegetables Part 2

Christophine - Nutmeg

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Caribbean Fruits & Vegetables
How to Use Them

Christophene: A gourd imported from Mexico, christophene is eaten raw or cooked, typically to accompany a main dish. It is very watery.

Cocoa: Responsible for the dread addiction among those known as "chocoholics." Originally grown by Indians in South and Central America, the 10-inch pods turn from green to reddish brown when ripe. The pods have to be broken open and the cocoa beans extracted and dried. When not sprinkled with sugar, the beans taste surprisingly bitter.     

Coconut Palm: Used to supply drinking water (chop off the top of a green coconut nut with a machete and enjoy the 'milk,' actually a sweet water). Dried coconut is of course used in cooking and in making soap. Coconut oil is sometimes called tropical oil or palm oil on food packages.

Custard or Sugar Apple: The deliciously sweet fruit is a lumpy reddish brown, almost the shape of a blunt-ended pinecone.   

Dasheen: The underground roots are loaded with starch, like potatoes. They must be cooked/boiled to remove a bitter taste.

Ginger: From Southeast Asia, the root is ground and used in flavoring, particularly cakes, syrup and drinks. A teaspoon of ginger (mix it with some liquid) helps prevent/reduce motion sickness and it won't make you sleepy like some commercial seasick remedies.

Grapefruit: A popular juice or eaten in half at breakfast, today's grapefruit appears to be a hybrid between the orange and something called a shaddock, a fruit brought into the Caribbean from the South Pacific by a sailing captain named Shaddock. No one liked the shaddocks because they were too bitter. However, they grew so well they spread throughout the islands. Somehow, probably through creating a hybrid, the fruit became a lot sweeter. Grapefruits with lumpy skins tend to be quite sour and may be part of the original shaddock strain.

Guava: Apparently brought to the Caribbean by the Arawaks, the tree grows to more than 20 feet. The pear-shaped fruit is only about 2 inches long. Eaten raw or to make jellies, a tea from the tree bark is said to help bouts of diarrhea.

Jackfruit: Related to the breadfruit and somewhat resembling it, except the jackfruit grows close to the tree on short stalks. A member of the fig family, jackfruit also grows big--as much as 40 pounds. Its many seeds can be eaten raw or roasted like chestnuts.

Mammee Apple: The rough, oval brown fruit grows on an evergreen that's believed native to the region. The small fruit are eaten raw (peeled first), stewed or made into jams and preserves.

Mango: One of the most common and favorite fruits throughout the Caribbean . The kidney-shaped fruit (pink or yellow when ripe) grows on tall trees that reach roof-top high. Usually eaten raw, it's also made into mango pie, mango ice cream and mango mousse.

Naseberry or Sapodilla: This oval fruit with a reddish-brown skin has a sweet-tasting pulp used for custards and ice cream. The tree sap produces chicle gum, used in making chewing gum.

Nutmeg: The principal export of Grenada, the tree grows to a massive 40 feet. The flowers produce a fruit looking much like a peach with a nut inside. The skin of the nut provides mace; the nut itself is the nutmeg. Nutmeg is either ground into powder or crushed into oil. It is sometimes used in small amounts as a medicine, said to help prevent strokes. However, taken in large quantities, too much nutmeg is said to be poisonous.

To: Caribbean Fruits & Vegetables Part 3 Okra to Yams

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