I had several ideas for this week’s FoodieTuesday but this photo of a plate of tropical fruits captured my attention. I stared at the fruits for several minutes, remembering the breakfast that it accompanied, the people who shared the table, the laughter, the view and even the activities we did that day. The colors, in particular, reminded me of the sun and warm temperatures.
Cantaloupe: Though not native to Jamaica, local farmers have been experimenting with and growing cantaloupe. But production is relatively small. Only about 2,000 metric tonnes are exported annually.
Pineapple: It’s difficult to tell from the photo what variety of pineapple this was. You can find at least three different types growing in Jamaica – cowboy, sugar loaf and Ripley.
Lime: Almost every Jamaican has a lime tree in their backyard garden. We use limes to make lemonade (limeade), in cooking and baking. We also use the leaves to make tea.
Paw Paw: Paw paw as we call it here is the reddish orange fruit on the plate. It is probably native to the West Indies. The fruit that is popular now is smaller than the variety I remember (the one I didn’t like as a child). According to the University of the West Indies website, there are 45 species of papaya and the “trees” reach fruit bearing age after only a year. The “Solo” type, with pink flesh was introduced to Hawaii from Barbados and Jamaica in 1911.
Jamaica exports the “sunrise” variety which has a deep red flesh. We started exporting in the 1980s, with more than half of the fruit going to the US. A smaller percentage also made it to markets in the UK, Canada and Holland.
Mango: It’s difficult to say which type of mango this one is, since we have at least 21 different varieties. From the size, I’d guess that it’s either a Julie or Bombay.
Banana: I can say for sure this was not a honey banana, but beyond that I can’t say which type this was as we have several varieties in Jamaica.
Which tropical fruit is your favorite?
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