In Jamaica, we’re lucky. As a tropical island with beautiful climate all year round, we have hundreds of exotic fruits and vegetables to choose from. From mangos and bananas to our national fruit ackee - we're spoiled by Mother Nature herself.
With a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that grow all year round, Jamaica is ideal for healthy eaters. Indulge in our exotic delights. As you travel the island, here are some fruits and vegetables you might recognize:
Ackee: Our very own national fruit ackee, is not only a good source of protein, but truly delicious. It is essential to wait until the pod has opened before eating it, otherwise the results aren’t totally pleasurable.
Breadfruit: One of the most versatile and delicious fruits around, the exotic breadfruit actually tastes of bread. Whether you roast or boil it, you’ll enjoy a potato-like consistency, and the sweet taste of All Right.
Callaloo: A breakfast staple, callaloo is a very nutritious plant, noted as a rich source of vitamins and minerals. This leafy vegetable is commonly served steamed and tastes similar to that of spinach, but not quite as bitter.
Cho Cho (Chayote): Not the typical fruit, the cho cho is best enjoyed in savory dishes such as soups and stews. This pear shaped fruit is found rather bland when raw but tastes like a cross between a cucumber and potato when cooked.
Guinep: Guineps appear as a cluster of drupes (similar to grapes), with a thin layer of green skin which, when bitten, reveals an orange hued gelatin flesh. The tart like taste is quite addictive, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself consuming the whole bunch! Be careful though, the juice from this fruit can cause stains.
June Plum: A wonderful source of iron and protein, the June Plum is both juicy and sour. Sometimes a dash of salt is used to give the fruit an explosive flavor.
Jamaican Coco: A treat in soups and breads, the Jamaican coco has a creamy, comforting taste. With big spade shaped leaves, it takes close to a year to mature. But we think it’s worth it.
Otaheite Apple (Cocoplum): The refreshing, Otaheite apple is a burst of balanced sweetness. Its deep crimson red skin coats its crisp white flesh, in a pear-like shape. This fruit is noted as being a good way to hydrate and has even been used for treating diabetes and other maladies.
Star Apple: This luscious fruit appears in variations of dark purple to green with a soft pulp flesh core. Jamaicans often refer to the star apple as the “mean” fruit as they never fall from their stems even after they’ve ripened. Still, the star apple offers a generous helping of sweet satisfaction, though you should try to avoid the skin as it can be rather bitter. The pulp was traditionally used with sweetened milk to make a dessert called ‘matrimony’.
Stinking Toe: This rather peculiar fruit gets its name from its semblance to a big fat toe. Its accompanying odour may make you hesitant; however the large seed pod actually houses a delicious, sweet but mealy pulp. Found on one of the largest trees in the Caribbean, ‘Tinking Toe’ is also used in folk medicine to alleviate headaches and rheumatism.
Susumber (Gully beans): these small bitter-tasting green berries are very popular in Jamaican cuisine. Some persons enjoy their susumber with the national dish, Ackee and Saltfish (salted codfish) or in stews and soups. Susumber is said to be rich in iron and the leaves have been used to make tea as a remedy for colds.
Sweetsop: Nestled inside the lumpy green outer-layer of this fruit is an aromatic and sweet custard-like pulp. The sweet sop is a very good dessert or breakfast fruit and is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese.
Ortanique: A cross between a tangerine and orange, the Ortanique is a seedless and exceptionally juicy citrus grown in Jamaica. This natural tangor can be enjoyed straight from the tree or in salads and juices. It’s very distinct rare flavor can be enjoyed between February and April.
Sour Orange: Also known as bitter or Seville orange, this citrus is usually enjoyed by locals as an alternative to lemons and makes refreshing lemonade. Though many have found the fruit too unpalatable to be consumed straight from the tree, the sour orange is very useful for making marmalade and flavoring for baking, cooking and even liqueur.
Tangerine: The second best thing about a Jamaican tangerine is how easily they can be peeled. The first would have to be the delicious sweet flesh you’ll come to discover. The carpals (sections) come apart with ease, making the feasting of this fruit even more gratifying. Best enjoyed freshly picked, they can also be added to salads or desserts for a sweet and tarty zest.
Uniq (Ugli Fruit): Indigenous to Jamaica, the ugli or uniq fruit is an exotic tangelo available between November and April. Although the name may not sound appetizing, this citrus fruit is quite a juicy indulgence. Said to be created by the hybridizing of a tangerine, orange and grapefruit (pomelo), it is sweet and tangy, perfect for refreshing juices.