Mighty Life List
Jul 20 2010

Taste 1,000 Fruits: 90. Jamaican Apple 91. Guinep 92. Breadfruit 93. Jamaican Almond

Our schedule in Jamaica was so packed I wasn’t able to make it to a fruit market, but I still added a few new ones to my list.

Jamaican Apples are delicious. They’re crisp like conventional North American apples, but have a much lighter texture — like a less-dense Asian pear.

The best ones are deep red with skin that gives a bit when you press it. They’re thirst quenching, and they’d make an excellent palate cleanser.

You can eat the whole thing except the pit, which is pretty large. I had something very similar in Costa Rica when I was 15. Ticos call them Manzanas de Agua, or water apples, and the ones I had were pale pink with no pit to speak of — it was neat to have that memory flood back when I bit into the Jamaican Apple.

These are Guineps, which I’d tried in Puerto Rico recently, but couldn’t figure out the name. They taste like citrusy peaches. There were a few Puerto Rican natives on trip who called them Quenepas.

You smash or bite the outer shell, which cracks open to reveal a jelly-like fruit inside with a large pit. You suck the fruit away from the pit, and the texture is a little like slimy algae. Much of the fruit pulp will stay on the pit. I’d love to freeze a bunch and use them as ice cubes in a tropical drink. So pretty.

I didn’t get a shot of the entire Breadfruit because they served it roasted as part of our meal at Scotchies. Roasted breadfruit tastes a lot like a potato, with a creamier texture more like a yam. It’s good with salt and butter.

This is O’Neil from the Jamaican Dogsled Team crew (more on that later). He’s one of my new favorite people. While we waited for our dogsled ride, he pointed out a huge pile of fly-covered, horse-gnawed Jamaican almonds.

They’d fallen from a tree on the property, and he shook each one until he found one that rattled, which is an indication that the almond is ripe.

Then he cut away the hull by using a rock to hit the back of his knife, and offered us each a taste. It tasted like almond, with a hint of horse saliva.

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