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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food Update: Surinam Cherries



















This is a quick update on a food I found while walking with my mother this last week through the subtropical hollow. My mother has what seems to be endless energy, so long walks are natural to her. Plus, she doesn't live in a subtropical zone, so she loves to walk and see the palms, flowers, and fruit trees along with the brick roads and 1920's era homes.

On one of these walks, I picked a berry off of a plant that I could not identify as either a tree or a bush at first glance. I didn't eat it due to fears of falling over and going into paralysis along with other creative situations my mind came up with at the idea of eating poison berries. I did, however, run home and research the berry. It turns out that it is called a Surinam Cherry (Eugenia Uniflora) a.k.a Brazil or Cayenne Cherry and it is edible.

These berries are said by some to be native to tropical America while others claim they were probably brought from Goa to the Americas. Either way, they are considered an invasive species to my area, yet still quite nice to eat when fully ripe. The flavor is somewhat like a bell pepper with a hint of tomato, grass, and sugar. In fact, the less ripe berries are quite tart and grassy in flavor.

I made a jam with these fruits, which was quite nice on bread with goat cheese. I hope you will not pass this fruit up if you notice them in your hollow.

Surinam Jam
2 Cups Surinam Cherries (deseeded)
1/2-3/4 Cups Sugar
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Hold each cherry over a measuring cup and squeeze the seed(s) out of the fruit. Do this until you have the desired amount of cherries.

In a pan, place the cherries, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a high simmer and stir. Lower the heat and allow to simmer on low heat stirring intermittently. Do this until you get a jam like consistency (this took me about 30 minutes). If you are canning, place hot in sterilized jar and cover properly. Otherwise, enjoy with bread, cheese, etc...

60 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous-looking fruit (or vegetable?). I can imagine in your jam, and eaten like a chutney. PS: So glad you didn't fall into a drooling heap after eating said berries :)

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    1. I have just made a chilli jam from Surinam, Onion, chilli, lemon rind and juice, Kafir Lime leaf, sugar salt and pineapple juice.
      Tasty but really hot. I wish I had found your receipe sooner.

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  2. Thanks for introducing us these surinam cherries. Very informative!

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  3. Nice to see you back. Fantastic photos. They really jump right off the screen. Cheers!

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  4. I've never seen or heard of this fruit before..it's cute, I love color! Thanks for sharing Stella! :)

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  5. Oh I never heard nor seen those cherries before. I'm curious on what they taste like, they sure look gorgeous with a little curvy shape! I've learned something new thanks to you, thanks!

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  6. Such unique berry, I've never seen these surinam cherries before, and very curious to try! they are very pretty!

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  7. That is such a beautiful fruit! It's neat that you haave so many growing there, so you can experiment with it as much as you want.

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  8. beautiful piece of fruit..great pics you captured it wonderfully...long walk with mom, oh enjoy yourself-I love when my mom visits..fun times

    sweetlife

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  9. Hope you and your (oh so generous and dear ;-)) Mom are enjoying your time together. She is now my hubby's new favorite person lol. I couldn't wipe the smile off his face that night after he read your guys' compliment haha. Which I didn't mind either cause he was still smiling whilst doing the dishes. That's why he doesn't have his own blog, he would be too high on himself lol.
    I have never seen that type of cherry before. It's such a beautiful berry. You take great pictures Stella! You sure know how to make something as simple as a cherry look so mouthwatering. I'm so intrigued by this mystical beauty. I love the shape of it too. Thank you for sharing this Stella :-D

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  10. Food foraging is fantastic!! What a great find. My husband and I have a cherry orchard in our town in Bulgaria, which is know as Bulgaria's Cherry Capital. Thanks to your tip, if I come across a Surinam Cherry, I am sure to think of you!

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  11. I've never seen these but goodness they're gorgeous! I haven't gone foraging for treats and nibbles since I was 13 I think :) I love the idea of turning them into jam.

    Btw - I have some prezzies for you over at my place. Nothing you have to pass along so, don't worry. Hope you will come take a look :)

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  12. So pretty! I've never seen these before but they look and sound excellent...especially in jam form!

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  13. The surinam cherry has the cutest shape! And lovely color! I've never heard of them either...your photos of them are great, Stella. I'd love to taste one...the grass flavor you discovered is interesting.
    Good idea to make them into jam. Sounds like it might be good in a chutney too.

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  14. I love to come here I learn something new all the time, this is amazing fruit, and that looks outstanding great picts!~

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  15. I'm trying to taste your description of surinam cherry. I think it's taste similar to "jambu" in Indonesia, only shaped differently.

    I just want to say, it's great that you go out and about, and find some local gems.

    Ow yeah, I added you in my new blogroll page (hope it's OK). Here's the link:
    http://littlehungryheart.blogspot.com/p/not-sock-missing.html

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  16. What a happy surprise! I love finding discoveries like that on a walk. Your jam looks delicious...and colorful too. I take it you don't have many squirrels?

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  17. What a unique fruit! I'm so glad that you shared it with us. Thanks for taste testing them for us, so that we know they're not poisonous! ;) Your jam sounds amazing!

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  18. Hey LeQuan, yeah, my Cauldron Boy is the same way. He loves it when anyone talks about cuteness in reference to his existence (smile). And he extra loves it if there is a mention of bulging muscle-that really makes his day. So I'm glad your'e hubby enjoyed his moment of blogosphere fame! He is a cutey-you both are.
    Oh, and, yes, this cherry is very interesting. I'm going to see if I can find other uses for it...

    Hey Casey, thanks! You are always welcome to think of me (smile)...

    Denise, my lovely. I will be at your site in a matter of moments to check it out!

    Hey Barbara, I bet these are all around you. You are in Florida, no? I didn't notice them till this year-strange. And, yes! I think this would be great as a savory sauce for white fish. I might try it that way...

    Hey Claudia, thank you. That makes me feel all warm & good inside!

    Hi Pierre, I don't know about 'jambu', but I will look it up. Oh, and, of course, it's fine that I'm on your blog roll page-I'm honored! Will check it out in a moment...

    Marly, we do have squirrels-brave ones too! I don't get why your squirrels are so incredibly into your fruit. It must be the type of fruit-a nut in the seed or something...
    Coming to see you in a moment!

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  19. I have never heard of those cherries, but they look great!

    xoxo

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  20. Hooray for foraged food! I've never seen berries like this. Here in Seattle, it's all about blackberries!

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  21. Stella, this is why we love you!
    Beautiful pictures, and a newly discovered edible treasure. I know I've never seen anything like it 'round these here parts, as like Chowgirl, we have a rather more wet and cloudy weather system.
    I think elderflowers are next.

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  22. I've never seen those before! So pretty.

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  23. Woah, what a pretty fruit. I'm not a fan of cherries but I do like tomatoes, bell pepper and sugar. Not sure about grass, but we'll see. ;) I hope to try these one day. :)

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  24. What a stunning shade of vibrant red! I've never heard of these either and I'm kind of jealous. This jam must have been perfect with goat cheese!

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  25. What a beautiful looking fruit! Just lovely!

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  26. Wow, Stella! I am so impressed that you just found a random fruit, researched it, and then made jam with it! Holy cow! That is simply amazing!

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  27. Stella

    Where are you that you can just go for a walk and find these little gems?
    I love how you made a jam with them, pursuing your idea all the way, shows so much persistence. Bravo

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  28. Stella that is a great place to live. Close to your food. The picture is perfect. And the berry is a new one for me.

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  29. That's a great picture, I know this fruit, we call it "Pitanga" in Brazil, and you can make ice cream, compotes, or dressing for fish. Where do you live that you have that around?

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  30. never tasted it before ... these cherries look really pretty!

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  31. I wish I were in the same subtropical hollow you are !!!! Still freezing here in Paris...I am fed up with wearing overcoats and foulards !!!
    Can't get your beautiful fruit here, and the thought of having hot tea with your goat cheese and jam makes my mouth water !!! Sniff, sniff !

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  32. By the way, where do you live Stella? Which city? It's hard not to know where to place you on the map !!
    Besitos!

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  33. I'm new to surinam cherries. Wow!

    Hey, you won the giveaway which was held over at my blog sometime ago. Drop by my blog to get the details :)

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  34. I love your 3D cherry picture. What kind of sorcery did you use to get that effect?

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  35. I love coming across something I have never seen before. These are gorgeous. How big are they? It is difficult to tell in the photo. They look like they might be the size of a cherry tomato and much bigger than a typical cherry.I would love to know. One year I was on a walk with my husband in the former Yugoslavia and what looked like a long white raspberry dropped on my head. Then I noticed they were falling like slow drips from the tree overhead. He told me they were edible and they ate them when he was a kid. They were called "dud" (dudes). I tasted one and it was sweet and wet - but with no other flavour, yet the texture was like a raspberry without the seeds. I was enchanted. It took me a few years to discover that this was a white mulberry. Some taste better than others. The particular tree I passed by is now cut down and was hundreds of years old. I will never forget the first taste. I love seeing these cherries.... and will maybe one day, come across one.
    :)
    Valerie

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  36. Surinam cherries! Never heard of them but trust that you will out the exotic to good use in a delicious looking jam. I am so happy u had a wonderful time with your Mum.

    HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY - STELLA!

    ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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  37. hey Stella

    I always seem to learn something on your site...here is aother wonder I have never heard of...and the way you describe the taste, makes me want to rush out and try and find them...
    I bet the jam was great with the goat cheese.
    thanks for sharing such a wonderful post!
    Dennis

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  38. Hey Joumana, Anna, and Cristina,

    I live in St. Petersburg, FL a.k.a. the subtropical hollow (smile)! Mangoes, lychee nuts, avocados, and citrus are all around me, but I never noticed these little cherries before. They are everywhere right now though!

    Hey Randy, 3D? I knew my photography spell was working (smile)!

    Hey Valerie,
    Don't you love finding something wonderful and edible growing wild? The food has such a real, dense taste. I think it is often b/c the soil is so full of minerals (farms have to replenish from so much soil use)...
    I've never heard of white mulberry, but it sounds wonderful!

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  39. What a neat fruit! or is it technically a veg??? Either way, it is really pretty. You know, if my sis and I were walking and we saw these she'd say this: "give you ten bucks if you eat it?" And seriously, I'd consider it. But you're more sensible than I am :)

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  40. those are awesome, and i have never heard of them... I love learning something new!

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  41. You always have the most interesting ingredients my favorite witch! Always a learning experience here.

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  42. I've never seen nor heard of Suriname cherries. They look beautiful. I'm going to be on the lookout for these!

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  43. Stella, you are a brave soul! I know that even if I had some sort of confirmation that a berry was indeed edible, I would be so frightened to try it, LOL! It is SO beautiful, and the jam is lovely!!! Wow, what a stunner of a fruit!

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  44. I'm from Brazil and I love this cute little fruit. Is sweet and tart in the same time!

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  45. Oh wow, such pretty cherries! They look almost fake =) I don't think we have these in Toronto =(

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  46. I've never heard of suriname cherries. Not sure if they'll end up on the shelves here in Virginia unfortunately...I do love fruit spread on top of goat cheese though. Looks delicious!

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  47. What a beautiful looking fruit. I'm so impressed that you ran right home to research it and then whipped up a jam. I'd love to try it with goat cheese. I have to tell my mom about you. You'd definitely be her first girl crush!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's for Dinner
    www.mawhats4dinner.com

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  48. Hello! What a surprise! I'm Brazilian and we call it "pitanga". These berries are native to subtropical America (Mata Atlântica - or Atlantic Forest). They were probably brought from Brazil to Goa by the Portugese explorers. Believe me or not, the pitanga tree is a distant relative of the eucalyptus and the guava!

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  49. Wow Stella - I have never seen anything like these. they look amazing! Hope you are having an amazing time away

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  50. I live in the southern part of the Philippines. I actually have Surinam cherry tree in front of my house. They grow easily from seeds. Mature red fruits are sweet and I found them great when I have sore or itchy throat.

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  51. I live in the Florida Keys and just planted three of these bushes in my front yard. They started getting fruit within a week. I love to eat them off the plant, but was looking for recipe ideas. I'll try the jam and love the goat cheese idea too. Thank you!

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  52. Thank you so much fo the information on this "fruit?" I was at Lowes replacing a blueberry bush that didn't make it, was hoping to bring home a couple blackberry bushes (they had none) and picked up two of these Surinam Cherry plants. I had not heard of them before - and needed to find out what they were. The recipe will come in handy - thanks again!

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  53. Have them growing in my yard. An interesting flavor, sometimes with a back taste of turpentine but I don't find them unpleasant. Didn't harvest enough this year to do much with them but expect next year to have more to play with. Also don't know if they'll fruit again. Bushes are only about 2 feet high at this point.

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  54. i just made this ! i live in bermuda and we have lots of surinam cherries in our backyard. its soo delicious - thanks for the recipe ! i added a pinch of ginger also : )

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  55. Aloha! We've got a Surinam Cherry tree that's going off and your recipe seems just the ticket. Thanks!

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  56. Found a slew of them in an empty lot next to one of my rental homes. I was afraid to touch them as I too felt I would go into paralysis and a pool of drool. The big seeds had me weary! There are literally thousands of these things there amongst some orange trees. Got to work up the courage to taste one (should I have an EPI Pen on hand???)

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  57. These cherries grow wild everywhere in Bermuda where I live. In fact, I picked 12 cups of them just today to make jam. They range from super sweet to slightly tart. Depending on the amount and balance of rainfall and sunshine, they can be fleshy juicy and plump. The trees can bear up to three times a year depending on the weather. Most Bermudians

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  58. I've missed these berries since childhood. My favorite fruit.

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  59. I am a florida native. Grew up in a town where Surnam cherries were put in planters along the sidewalks of downtown. Can remember eating them while waiting for mother to finish shopping in the dime store. They make a beautiful hedge with shiny green and red leaves. Have several bushes on the farm and the put out lots of sprouts to plant every year. They make a great marmalade and are good sweetened and used on turkey at thanksgiving. Never though much about them, I am over 60 and have grown up with them I just enjoyed eating them.

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