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6 Irresistible Caribbean Delights: Must-Try Fruits from the BVI

With Spring in commencement and summer around the corner, many delicious Caribbean fruits are about to be in season! Bursting with vibrant colours, exotic flavours, and a tropical allure, Caribbean fruits offer a delectable journey for the palate. Join us as we embark on a flavorful exploration of some of the most beloved and mouthwatering fruits that the Caribbean region has to offer. Get ready to indulge in nature's bounty and discover the irresistible allure of Caribbean fruit paradise.


Papaya

Papaya, or lovingly known as pawpaw to my grandmother, is a tropical delight celebrated for its sweet, musky flavour and vibrant orange flesh. Native to Central America, papayas are now grown in tropical regions worldwide, including the Caribbean, where the warm climate nurtures their growth.

These succulent fruits typically grow on tall, herbaceous trees with a single, unbranched trunk. Papaya trees bear large, lobed leaves and produce pear-shaped fruits that can weigh up to several pounds. When ripe, papayas have a soft, buttery texture and are filled with small, black seeds nestled within the cavity.


In the BVI, papayas are in season during the warmer months, typically from late spring through summer. During this time, locals and visitors alike indulge in the juicy sweetness of freshly picked papayas. The taste of ripe papaya is a delightful blend of sweet and musky flavours, reminiscent of a tropical paradise. Its flesh is often enjoyed fresh, sliced and eaten on its own or added to fruit salads for a burst of flavour and colour. From smoothies and sorbets to salsas and marinades, the possibilities for incorporating papaya into culinary creations are endless.


Whether enjoyed fresh or incorporated into a culinary masterpiece, papaya remains a beloved staple in the BVI, offering a taste of the Caribbean's vibrant flavours and natural abundance.


Papaya on a cutting board


Sugar Cane

Sugar cane is a tall perennial grass known for its sweet sap, is a cherished crop in tropical regions like the BVI. Growing in abundance across the lush landscapes of the Caribbean, sugar cane has long been an integral part of the region's agricultural heritage. The process of cultivating sugar cane begins with planting cuttings or stems in fertile soil. With ample sunlight and consistent rainfall, sugar cane shoots grow rapidly, reaching heights of up to 20 feet or more. After about a year of growth, the mature stalks are ready for harvest.


In the BVI, sugar cane harvesting typically occurs during the dry season, which spans from late winter to early spring. During this time, fields of sugar cane sway in the Caribbean breeze, signaling the peak of the harvest season.

The taste of fresh sugar cane is pure indulgence, with a sweet, juicy flavor that delights the senses. Locals and visitors alike savor the experience of chewing on raw sugar cane, extracting the sweet sap with each bite.


Beyond enjoying sugar cane fresh from the field, it serves as a versatile ingredient in culinary endeavors. From sweetening beverages and desserts to producing molasses and rum, sugar cane offers a myriad of culinary possibilities, enriching the flavors of Caribbean cuisine with its natural sweetness and depth of flavor.


Sugar cane on a table

Guava

Guava is a tropical fruit with a distinctive aroma and flavour, is a beloved delight in the Caribbean. Their trees boast dark green, oval-shaped leaves and produce round or pear-shaped fruits with rough, greenish-yellow skin.


In the BVI, guavas are typically in season during the summer and fall months, offering a burst of tropical sweetness during these warm seasons. When ripe, guavas exude a sweet, fragrant scent that beckons to be enjoyed. The taste of guava is a delightful blend of sweet and tangy notes, with a hint of floral undertones. The flesh of ripe guavas is soft and juicy, filled with small, edible seeds.


Aside from relishing guava in its natural form, it serves as a versatile ingredient in various culinary creations. Guava is commonly used to make jams, jellies, and preserves, showcasing its vibrant flavour in spreads that can be enjoyed on toast or paired with cheese. Additionally, guava finds its way into desserts like tarts and smoothies, adding a tropical twist to sweet treats.


Guava in a basket

Guinep

Guinep, also known as Spanish lime or quenepa, is a tropical fruit native to the Caribbean. Growing on tall, evergreen trees, guinep bears clusters of small, round fruits with a thin, greenish-yellow skin.


These fruits have a unique flavour profile, combining elements of sweetness and tanginess with a hint of bitterness. The flesh of guinep surrounds a large seed and is both juicy and slightly firm, offering a satisfying texture with each bite.


In the BVI, guinep is typically in season during the summer months, ripening from June to August. During this time, locals eagerly await the arrival of its season, indulging in the sweet and tart flavours of this tropical delicacy. To enjoy guinep, locals often crack open the fruit's outer shell to reveal the juicy flesh inside. The seeds are then sucked or chewed to extract the flavorful pulp, creating a refreshing treat that is perfect for hot Caribbean days.


Beyond eating guinep fresh, it can also be used in various culinary applications. Guinep can be incorporated into cocktails, smoothies, and desserts, adding a tropical twist to any recipe. Additionally, the fruit's tartness pairs well with savoury dishes, making it a versatile ingredient in Caribbean cuisine.


Guinep on a table

Sugar Apple

Sugar apple, also known as custard apple or sweet sop, is a tropical fruit cherished for its uniquely sweet and creamy flavour. Native to the Caribbean, including the BVI, sugar apple grows on small, bushy trees with broad leaves and bears spherical or heart-shaped fruits with knobby green skin.


The flesh of a ripe sugar apple is soft, white, and custard-like, dotted with black seeds. Its flavour is a delightful blend of sweet and tangy notes, reminiscent of a combination of tropical fruits like pineapple, banana, and mango.


In the BVI, sugar apples are typically in season during the late summer and early fall months, ripening from August to October. They are best enjoyed fresh, simply scooped out with a spoon and savoured. However, they can also be used in various culinary creations, including smoothies, desserts, and ice creams, adding a creamy texture and tropical flavour to any dish.


Sugar apple on a table

Starfruit

Starfruit, also known as five-finger or carambola, is a tropical fruit renowned for its unique star-shaped appearance and refreshing taste. Native to Southeast Asia, starfruit thrives in warm climates, including the BVI, where it is cultivated for its sweet and tangy flavour.


Growing on small evergreen trees, starfruit bears oblong-shaped fruits with distinctive ridges along their edges, resembling a star when sliced crosswise. The fruit's thin, waxy skin is edible, encasing a juicy, translucent flesh that ranges from pale yellow to golden in colour. The flavour of starfruit is a delightful blend of sweet and tart, with hints of citrus and tropical nuances. Its crisp texture and refreshing taste make it a popular choice for snacking and culinary experimentation.


In the BVI, starfruit is typically in season during the summer months, from June to August, when the warm weather encourages bountiful harvests.

Starfruit can be enjoyed fresh, sliced and eaten on its own or added to fruit salads for a burst of flavour and visual appeal. Additionally, it can be used as a garnish for cocktails, infused into beverages, or incorporated into desserts such as sorbets, enhancing their flavour with its tropical sweetness.

Whether enjoyed as a snack or used in culinary creations, starfruit offers a taste of tropical paradise, embodying the vibrant flavours of the Caribbean with its distinctive shape and refreshing flavour.


Starfruit plant

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