As an avid Food Network fan, particularly of the show Chopped, I have been intrigued by the ingredients that chefs must work with in each mystery basket. On a recent episode, Peach Palm Fruit was one such item.
The ingredient was packed in a jar with liquid; however, as I scrutinized it really carefully, it looked very familiar. As a matter of fact, I was convinced that it was a fruit that I enjoyed as a child that would be picked from a palm, not unlike some palm trees seen around the Virgin Islands.
The fruit would be boiled in salted water and when cooked and then cooled, we would peel off the outer covering and chow down on the savory orange flesh surrounding the seed. After we had eaten off all the flesh, which could sometimes be stringy, we would crack open the seeds to find the “coconut” inside. This was such a treat.
As it turns out I was correct. Peach Palm Fruit is what I call Peewah. So I started thinking about how many fruits, and produce in general, grown in the territory are called different names depending on where we first encounter them.
So here goes….this is a photographic column that will hopefully also be interactive. Look carefully to see if you recognize the fruit in the photos and if the names are unfamiliar. I encourage your feedback. Do you know Peach Palm Fruit or Peewah and, if so, how have you used it?
Carambola is a prolific crop whenever the trees are bearing. And they deliver more than one crop a year. My name for this fruit is five finger. I guess the five ridges that form the fruit lent its name, but it is also called starfruit.
This becomes a little confusing because a fruit I know as caimite is also called starfruit. When it is sliced in half, there is a star-shaped pattern in the center. A ripe caimite is sweet and a little milky.
Sour cherries that are stewed and turned into a sweet treat for children and adults alike were known to me as cerise which is the French word for cherry, but they are also called jimbelin. In addition to the syrupy sweet confection, they are also eaten with salt and pepper sprinkled over the fruit for a spicy condiment.
Do you know these fruits? Do you know a different name for any of them? If so, please share. You may contact me at email@example.com
June Archibald owns and operates Precious Produce Farms on St. Thomas and its subsidiary Virgin Islands Fruit Preserves.