Caribbean Food: Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs and Seasonings

                          Part Two

Genip, Guinep, Waya

Scientific name: Melicocca bijuga

Genips grow in bunches of green round fruit, each measuring a little over 1 inch in length. Genips are eaten out of hand. The fruits have tight, thin skins which are either torn open at the stem and popped into the mouth or cracked open with the teeth and sucked into the mouth whole. Surrounding the seed inside lies a thin layer of yellow gelatinous pulp that is generally both sweet and sour. The pulp is sucked for its juice until only fiber is left, though in some fruits the pulp just seems to melt away. Genips are a good source of iron. Some people roast genip seeds and eat them..

Ground provisions

This is a Caribbean term for a number of vegetable food such as yams, cassava, dasheen, tania, breadfruit, plantains etc.

Jackfruit, Jack fruit
Scientific name: Artocarpus heterophyllus

The jackfruit tree produces the largest of all tree-borne fruits. The inside has 100 to 500 light-brown seeds. The unopened ripe fruit emits a somewhat unpleasant odour, but the pulp of the opened fruit smells of pineapple and banana.

The seeds can be roasted, and when boiled the flesh of fully grown unripe fruit can be eaten as a vegetable. Though the outer skin of a jackfruit and its interior resembles that of a breadnut fruit, it grows much larger and can weigh somewhere between 10 to 80 pounds.


Ghingi, Loofah, Jhingey

Scientific name: Luffa acutangula

Ghingi fruit (vegetable) resembles a cucumber with ridges. It is a dark green vegetable on the outside with white pulp and white seeds in spongy flesh. It is edible, but must be consumed before it matures and becomes too woody and fibrous to eat. Mature ghingi fruits are processed to remove everything but the fibers to make bath, kitchen or general cleaning sponges.

Ghingi is stewed and used in dal or to make a curry. It is also put into soups, or boiled and eaten with hot sauce, or fried with meat.

Ghinji contains calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, B vitamins, and vitamin c.

Green Seasoning

Green seasoning is unique to the Caribbean. It is a blend of herbs used in the kitchen and varies from territory to territory with personal touches evident from kitchen to kitchen. Green seasoning may include chives, shado beni or cilantro, thyme, oregano, parsley, garlic, vinegar processed in a food processor or blender, or manually, and either used immediately or tightly sealed in a glass jar. If no vinegar is used, it is generally kept as a thick paste. It keeps in the refrigerator for about one week.

Guava, Guyaba

Scientific name: Psidium guajava

The fruit is a berry which may be round or oval in shape. It may be 1 to 4 inches in diameter, green when immature, and white, yellow or pinkish in color when ripe. The ripe fruit may range in flavor from sweet to sour.

Guavas are generally eaten as a fresh desert fruit, but they are also used to make drinks, jam, jelly, paste, nectar, puree, beverage base, syrup or wine.

Guavas are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, folic acid, potassium, copper and manganese.


Jamoon, Jamun
Scientific name: Syzygium cumin

The purple to black shiny Jamoon fruit grow in bunches on tall and large trees and look like grapes when ripe. The juice is sweet with some tartness in it.

Children love to eat jamoons with salt. The pulp is used to make preserves, sauces, jams and tarts. They can also be made into sherbets, sorbets, syrups or pulpy drinks. They are also used to make wine (especially for Christmas) and even vinegar.

Jamoons are a very good source of Vitamin C and the skin has antioxidant properties.

The juice produces a stain that is notoriously hard to remove from fabric.

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