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by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer
On a recent trip to the South Coast, St. Elizabeth on a quest for a different fruit, we found this one instead. A lady who was among the group of ladies who advised us that the one we came for was out of season, told us about a fruit she had in her yard. But she couldn’t just remember its name.
When she eventually remembered, she called it Ribena, but what we actually found out is that it was Java Plum (Syzygium cumini) . Have you heard of it?
Java Plum (Indian Blackberry), or Jamun/Jambul as it is called on the Asian continent where it is originally from, is highly sought after for its health benefits and is widely known as the fruit of gods in the Hindu religion.
Its natural habitat like a said are Asian countries specifically, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia.
It isn’t clear how the Jamaican Ribena, another of its many names, made its way to Jamaica. But, like many other plants, Java Plum was brought to other parts of the world, when travel increased between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
At first glance, you can mistake Java Plum for many fruits, but if you take a closer look you will notice the differences. The leaves are long, slender leaves with white blossoms.
The fruits which are green when unfit, grow in clusters and change to varying shades of red before the deep purple it becomes when it is ripe. There is a single round seed at the centre surrounded by the “meat” of the fruit.
The fruit is seasonal and, while the tree begins flowering in August, the season is between the end of September and the end of November.
The fruit is tangy, sour and astringent. The purple colour of the fruit often transfers to your tongue and your clothes if you aren’t careful.
There is currently not enough evidence to support or advised against having the fruit while pregnant. The best advice, for now, is to consult with your doctor.
Java Plums are rich in:
These nutritional properties of Jamaican Java Plum is beneficial for these health conditions:
It naturally lowers blood sugar levels so it should be avoided if you have an upcoming surgery or right after one. I
Do not have Jamun on an empty stomach or after drinking milk
Persons suffering from atherosclerosis or a history of the formation of blood clots should avoid the fruit.
If you have an allergic reaction to the fruit, which usually manifests in the form of hives, skin rash, swollen gums, lips and eyelids, visit or speak with your medical practitioner immediately.
Miss Rowe used it to make a wine-type drink each year, which is very easy to make but you might have to wait a couple of months for the results. All you’ll need is a sealable glass bottle. Then you’ll just have to wash the berries and put them in the bottle seed and all. Now just leave it, and allow the fruits to slowly break down into a stong Java Plum drink. She suggests adding a little rum if you are feeling spicy but if you wish not to, you can have it just the same.
I did a little research and found other recipes too, just in case you can’t wait months before you try the fruit.
Keep refrigerated and you’ll have jam for your bread, crackers and however else you use jam for up to a year. The colour of your jam depends on the portions, more java plum means a darker, tangy jam, so that is up to you.
Java Plum fruits, seeds and bark are used in supplements and other medication as well.
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Jamaican Java Plum | Written: September 01, 2022