There are lots of reasons why I love living in the Caribbean and pretty close to the top of that list is the food.
Every trip to the store is a voyage of discovery.
I feel like Christopher Columbus – he discovered the new world, I discovered guava, mango, guinep, monster avocados and the sweetest pineapples I’ve ever tasted.
It’s very similar when you think about it.
Here’s a short rundown of the fruits I’m enjoying chowing down on, in the spirit of the world’s greatest explorers.
Ah coconut, the other, other, other white meat.
Having grappled with many coconuts in the years I’ve lived here, I feel extremely confident that I could survive on a deserted island with only palm trees to keep me company.
There’s a knack to prising it open (get a hammer, beat the living daylights out of it til it cracks) and it might take some effort but it’s definitely worth it.
Once you get inside that treasure trove, the meat can be used to make coconut milk, shredded and put in delicious baked goods, blended into a smoothie or simply eaten.
But before you get out the meat, drain out the water.
This is best done with a handy corkscrew. Insert it into one of the ‘eyes’ (three darker spots at the top of the coconut) and proceed as if opening a bottle of red. The ‘eye’ is the weakest part and therefore easy to drill through and make a small hole.
Then you simply pour it into a glass and enjoy the refreshing, healthy beverage.
Coconuts are a veritable superfood.
There are so many benefits I don’t have the space to list them here so read this and get yourself some coconut products, pronto.
Guineps took me a while to get used to.
For a start, they kind of have the lychee-eyeball-texture thing going on.
And there’s not much to them, you just break the skin and suck them (the seed is quite large so there’s not much meat). Sounds gross, right?
But it’s worth it because they have a delicate sweet flavour and are actually kind of addictive once you get over the texture hurdle.
During guinep season, you’ll often see guys standing by the side of the road selling a bag – which is a pretty good travel snack if you ask me.
As I was informed by the lovely Stephanie via facebook, they’re also called Melicoccus Bijugatus.
Funny story. I tried to bake using guava once. Then I realised that the seeds are so miniscule, and so hard, that it’s practically impossible to strain them out.
(if anyone can give me tips on de-seeding, I’d be forever grateful)
The baking project was abandoned but I haven’t given up on guava entirely because they taste so good.
Also they’re rich in Vitamins A and C ( a single guava contains four times the Vit C of an orange), folic acid and potassium.
Ok, so this is a bit of a cheat. Of course I’d eaten mango before I moved here but they are so plentiful in these parts (and so juicy and sweet) that I couldn’t leave them off the list.
Your turn: Have you ever eaten any of the above? What’s your favourite ‘unusual’ fruit? How the hell do you bake with guava?
*I’m from Ireland, I ended up in the Caribbean. Go figure.