What fruit do they eat in Jamaica?
Answered by Aneisha Dobson, Associate Writer
The warm, tropical climate combined with fertile soil has made Jamaica the sweet spot for the cultivation of tropical fruits.
In fact, the tropical climate of Jamaica was one of the magnets that attracted the Europeans to the island.
After they settled, tropical fruits, such as tamarind, sweet and sour oranges lime and lemons were brought to Jamaica by the Spaniards.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, those and various other tropical fruits can now be found across the island.
By the way, most, if not all, Jamaicans grew up with a fruit tree either near their homes or in their very own backyards.
During the summer holiday, I often witnessed little boys climbing from limb to limb stripping the trees of ripe mangos and guineps.
When driving through the towns, you'll likely see street vendors with bags of apples, mangos, pineapples and other juicy fruits calling out to you to buy a bag or two.
QuickQuiz: Which fruit is embedded in our National Coat of Arms in a red cross?
Yep, the pineapple - five of them!
The Fruits Jamaicans Can't Get Enough Of
So to answer you question, "what fruit do they eat in Jamaica?", I'll list, not one, but the many us Jamaican adore!
- Mangos- When you think about Jamaican fruits, the mango usually comes first to mine.
Remember this Jamaican folk song?
Mi nuh drink coffee tea - mango time
Care how nice it may be - mango time
In the heat of the mango crop
When di fruit dem a ripe an' drop
Wash yu pot, tun dem dung - mango time.
And we have dozens of mango varieties here, the ones that comes easily to mind, as I know them, includes:
- East Indian Mango
- John Belly Full
- Green Gage, Dunkell or Blackie
- Long Mango and
Read more about Jamaican mangoes here.
- Citrus Fruits (Limes, Grapefruit, Oranges, Ugli, Ortaniques)
Limes, grapefruits and oranges are popular citrus fruits that you might be familiar with.
However, the Ugli and Ortaniques may be new to you. The ugli, also called Jamaican Tangelo is said to be a cross between the Seville orange, grapefruit and tangerine.
It was developed by Jamaican agronomists and gets its name from its lumpy appearance.
If you pay attention to the spelling of “ortaniques” then you may notice that it is a combination of the fruits “orange “and “tangerine”.
Well that is attributed to the fact that it is a hybrid of these two fruits.
- Ackee- The ackee holds a special place in the heart of Jamaican. When this bright yellow fruit is combined with salt fish, some vegetables and seasonings, the Jamaican National Dish is created. Yum!
- Avocado - Jamaicans love to couple avocado with bulla! We also like a slice of avocado right on the side of our dish when eating dinner.
This fruit is referred to as ‘pear’ among us locals. Read more here
- Banana- This is enjoyed either ripe or green. When green, it is often eaten at dinner or breakfast with meat or greens. However, when ripe it is a bright yellow fruit with a sweet taste.
- Plantain- A family of the banana, plantain is enjoyed ripe or green.
- Breadfruit - Breadfruits is either eaten boiled, roasted or fried (after it is roasted). It can be 'combo'ed) with anything you like, meat and vegetable alike. Read more about breadfruit here.
- Guava- The guava is one of the most versatile fruits. You can eat it as is, use it to make juices or use it to make a jam.
- Guinep- This fruit may be small in size, but it’s huge in taste. Once you open the pod you can enjoy its sweet jelly-like insides.
- Jackfruit- Now, one of the most noticeable physical characteristics of the Jackfruit is its size.
It’s a rather large fruit. However, despite its size the fleshy pegs covering the seeds are the only part that we eat. Did you know that the jackfruit and breadfruit are members of the same family?
- Naseberry- Love it! Some individuals would compare the naseberry’s taste to being “sugar sweet”.
- Otaheite Apple- This fruit was introduced to the island in 1793. It is shaped like a pear with dark red skin. When broken, the inside of the apple is white and has a seed in the middle. Read more here.
- Passion Fruit- Now, personally I find the taste of the yellow-jelly like insides of the passion fruit to be very sour. However, I find it more bearable when it is turned into juice and sweetened.
- Papaya- The flesh of this fruit is bright orange in colour and has a relatively soft texture.
- Pineapple- Pineapple is a popular part of fruit plates. It’s sweet, tangy taste makes it also one of my favourite fruits.
- Sorrel- Sorrel is usually in high swing during the Christmas season. Mostly because it is a key component in the popular holiday beverage, Sorrel drink. The flavour is extracted by boiling the fruit and ginger is usually added for taste.
- Star apple- At first glance, one might wonder why this round fruit would be referred to as “star apple”. But as soon as you cut it in half, you’ll understand why. It can either have purple or green skin. Delicious.
- Star fruit- This overall appearance of this fruit truly encompasses its name. This fruit is also referred to as “carambola”.
- Stinking toe- Now the name of this fruit can be somewhat of a turn-off. However, once the pod is broken you can enjoy the sweet powdery-like flesh.
- Sweetsop- The sweetsop is slightly green with a scale-like outer skin. The inside of this fruit is similar to custard apple.
- Soursop- This fruit has a pointy, rough skin that is dark green in colour. The taste of the soursop is indeed sour, yet extremely sweet all at the same time. Loads of nutritional benefits. I'm also learning about the mountain sop here as well.
- Tamarind-If your familiar with tamarind balls, then you should know that the tangy taste of this sweet treat comes from the fruit tamarind.
- Watermelon- Perhaps considered a vegetable, and probably is, but when chilled, is an excellent thirst quencher.
- West Indian Cherry- When the cherries are ripened bright red on the tree, you can’t help but to pick and eat. However, I mostly enjoy them when they are blended into cherry juice.
- Custard Apple- The custard apple has little red skin and when broken the inside are creamy and sweet.
- June Plum- Like many fruits, the June Plum is eaten ripe or green. It’s quite common to see children enjoying peeled green June Plum with salt sprinkled over it.
While the ripen June plum can be eaten as is, it can be stewed with sugar to make jam. Read more about June Plum here.
And by the way, all of them, literally, are loaded with amazing health and nutritional benefits, which is a different topic. I urge you to research them and try them. You'll love 'em!
Be sure to read: to read more about the delightful fruits we have here.
See also: Foods Eaten In Jamaica