The Jamaican Cherry has red, sometimes yellow skin, is yellow inside and has two to three small oval seeds. It is slightly sweet, slightly tart and juicy, and is used to make juices, or washed and eaten just picked from the tree. The cherries are low in carbohydrates and are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.
The Jamaican Cherry is native to the Caribbean, southern Mexico, Central America and south to Peru and Bolivia. But it has also been found as far away as India and the Philippines. The Jamaican Cherry is known by several names, including Panama berry, Singapore cherry, and manzanitas.
The Jamaican Cherry is also a flowering tree. The flowers can be used as an antiseptic and also to relieve headaches and colds.
I took this flower, which I’ve magnified several times, around November. Since then, there has been two crops of fruit – cherries are in season again.
The trees are beautiful in season with specks of red peeking out from among verdant green leaves. The fruit can be picked individually or shaken from the tree, which typically grows no more than 6 or 7 feet tall. And since the trees are not very large, they can be found in the backyard gardens of most Jamaican families.
During the season, it’s possible to get dozens of cherries – more than enough to juice. I usually freeze them and use them sparingly until the next crop. For color, I add some to my homemade fruit juices.
The Jamaican cherry is in season now so if you’re visiting or planning to visit soon, you should try the fresh juice. Ask at your hotel or guest house if there’s some on the menu, or if they can get some. I know some of the smaller establishments will gladly oblige.
The juice is quite easy to make. Put cherries in a blender, add enough water to cover the fruit and blend. (You can also add a bit more water if the juice is too thick.) Strain, add a little nutmeg, lime or ginger, and sugar to taste. Serve over ice or chill before serving.
This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.