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Caribbean Fruits

Rosy Julies by Chennette

It’s time for some fruits again. Granted, not all of these are necessarily in season right this minute, like my previous post, but think of this as some more general information on fruits in the region. You never know when you might need this kind of information. Buying fruits in the Caribbean can be a tricky business because you really have to know where you are and what to ask for…disregard those stereoptypical views of Caribbean life as simplicity, we like things complicated. Remember the story of the Pommerac? Oh, the names…even in the same country. I tell you – it took forever to find out what they call it here in Guyana!

Of course this shot is of mangoes, which are easy. We all call them mangoes. Ah, but what KIND of mangoes! These are Julie, and I believe they can be found by that name in most of the English-speaking Caribbean (go on, correct me, it’s not like I am actually basing this on anything other than my gut feeling 😀 ) But what do other people call the ice cream mango?

Saibani mango on wood Saibani mango sliced open

Or this hybrid mango my mother saved for me last month, which she thinks is called Saibani – doesn’t it look interesting? It’s supposed to be a sweet, almost spicy, very flavourful mango and she saved 2 for me. These didn’t taste much different from a long mango (mango vere) though…not bad, but not particularly special. A friend who knows these things better than I, said that it’s not a very stable hybrid, so some of the mangoes on a tree may revert to a less fancy tasting ancestor. They do look pretty with that cool S-shape!

Sugar Apple on Blue
Now, this is an interesting looking fruit! Made of overlapping, almost petal-like bits of rind, covering sections of sweet (oh so sweet) slimy white flesh, each with a shiny black seed. Wikipedia entry for Annona squamosa. We do also call it custard apple in Trinidad, and although that may be incorrect scientifically, that’s just how it is with the fruit names down here. I believe it is also called sweet sop in other islands, like Jamaica (as opposed to soursop). Also called anones in Puerto Rico (thanks to Flickr visitors!)

Sugar Apple on white Sugar Apple Seeds




And last, but not least, a fruit that really should have been showcased on this blog since its inception. Seriously. And I think it was only a month ago that Umar, a regular reader and commenter, made his way though my posts and called me on this glaring omission. So, here it is. Finally. Lifespan of a Chennette is pleased, for the first time, to showcase the Chennette. The fruit. The green one. That grows on trees. NOT ME. These!


Chennet(te), the Fruit Chennet(te), the Fruit

The fruit which gave me my ID…my online ID anyway. Also called guinep in other islands (including Tobago). These were bought in the Chaguanas market last week in Trinidad. My neighbour’s tree used to bear really big chennet, so whenever I saw the more common small ones I always felt they were inferior somehow. Maybe that’s why I never actively sought them out before for the blog? Nevermind, for now I can perhaps replace Stuart (the sheep on my About page)…for a while anyway :-)

Wikipedia entry: :”The mamoncillo (Melicoccus bijugatus), also known as the mamón (although the word is considered obscene in some Spanish speaking countries), chenet, guaya, gnep, ginep, skinnip (in Jamaica, St. Kitts) genip, guinep, ginnip, kenèp (in Haiti), quenepa (in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic), ackee (in Barbados), Spanish lime, or limoncillo, is a fruit-bearing tree in the soapberry family Sapindaceae…”

You’ll note the Bajans call it ACKEE…I think they beat the Guyanese/Grenadians at this dual name game. As strange as Cashew is for the pommerac, I think calling chennette ackee is stranger 😉

It’s hard to describe what this tastes like…I think it has a light sweet taste, maybe like a grape?, but completely different texture -that flesh is soft and squishy and has to be sucked dry. According to wikipedia, it’s lychee-like. You have to crack the shell open with your teeth and then the flesh is a relatively thin layer on a round hard pit/stone. 


So, there you have it. Some more fruits of the region. And an introduction to my namesake fruit. And my attempt at watermarking my photos after the theft! I started out with the watermark clear across the middle, but have settled for now on the lower right.

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50 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. Your blog is very nice! I’ll be checking in regularly.


    1. Eric Bronson on August 14th, 2008 at 10:03 pm
  2. Hi Eric! Thanks for visiting :-)

    2. Chennette on August 14th, 2008 at 11:09 pm
  3. brother called it candy apple and sister-in-law laughed at how much names we have for it
    sister-in-law said niece enjoyed it (errr custard apple or whatever)
    and licked it up/down however it ends up inside her

    3. Lilandra on August 14th, 2008 at 11:21 pm
  4. We are so blessed to have such a unqiue variety of fruits in these parts.

    5. Cynthia on August 15th, 2008 at 10:15 am
  5. and the names, don’t forget the names 😀

    6. Chennette on August 15th, 2008 at 11:02 am
  6. Great post. My favorite fruit in this post was the sugar apple, however it’s been a long time since I tasted it. Makes me feel like I need to go out and buy some. Great work on the watermarks; that will show those thieves not to mess with the Chennette. Of course you may have noticed I did the same for my pictures. Continue the good work.

    7. raz4125 on August 16th, 2008 at 3:25 pm
  7. oooh, I can be The Chennette! No one messes with The Chennette!
    Thanks 😀

    8. Chennette on August 17th, 2008 at 12:25 am
  8. Very nice fruit photos! What lens are you using to shoot these photos? Are you using only natural light or do you have some type of still life lighting setup?

    Watermarking is a must :)

    10. aka_lol on August 18th, 2008 at 1:27 pm
  9. we call ‘sugar apple’ custard apple in india. it would tie with figs as my fav fruit. the ‘chennette’ was called ‘jujube’ at a market in atlanta, georgia. we clicked some pics of it and it’s the same.

    11. bee on August 18th, 2008 at 1:46 pm
  10. Hi aka – Thanks for the compliment! I am still only using my kit lens (18-135mm) as I tend to only buy things as reward for spending time learning to use what I already have. Or if I somehow feel I deserve it (it’s very complicated to explain, clearly I am parenting myself…).
    Of course, using what I already have would be greatly assisted by a tripod! But unfortunately I only trekked back with one from Canada which was bought for Lilandra.
    As for lighting – these are all in the kitchen at home in Trinidad – all but the sugar apple on blue were taken next to the west-facing kitchen window (with opaque glass louvres) in the afternoon. That plus the kitchen overhead light (minimal). I had to use the tripod for the ones on the blue kitchen table since it was further away from the light source.
    So that’s another thing I dream about now – a new lens(es), a tripod, and a cool light setup for food shots. Now that I am blogging and taking photos again more regularly, I am going to have to rig something.

    Bee – Hmm…jujube…now that might have made a cool name :-)

    12. Chennette on August 18th, 2008 at 3:14 pm
  11. Wow-I just this hour posted pics of mangoes and custard apple in Laos and then i see them in your blog. Great minds think alike.

    13. Nicole on August 19th, 2008 at 10:41 pm
  12. I think the kit lens should be good enough for what you want to do. Well, “I think” but I am no expert in still life photography, or any kind for that matter 😉 Books and magazines would be helpful if only in helping you strive for more. Knowing what you want is the first step in getting what you want. Things you can consider in the future may not cost a lot like shooting in RAW instead of JPG but you would have to get something like Adobe Lightroom for image processing.

    14. aka_lol on August 20th, 2008 at 7:04 am
  13. I have a list in my head for when I get a job that allows me real time to develop non-job-related skills (and the list isn’t just for things, but for doing more with what I have – even trying out shooting in RAW). But yes, for now, the only thing I really really need is a tripod. I can beat the lighting deficiencies in my kitchen if I suddenly turn into a morning person and cook while I get light in my kitchen in Guyana. But that is just not going to happen…

    15. Chennette on August 20th, 2008 at 10:03 am
  14. 50mm f/1.8
    60 mm f/2.8 macro


    16. Lilandra on August 20th, 2008 at 10:59 am
  15. 60 mm f/2.8 macro

    17. aka_lol on August 20th, 2008 at 3:01 pm
  16. thanks for the outside input
    *much* appreciated

    so she can get the 60 mm f/2.8 macro and i can get the 50mm…and we can trade once in a while

    i still only have 18-55

    18. Lilandra on August 20th, 2008 at 6:22 pm
  17. Lilandra, the best pics I ever took was with my 18-55mm. I also bought a 50mm f/1.4 which is amazing. I need to get a good macro next.

    19. aka_lol on August 21st, 2008 at 5:38 am
  18. well, aka_lol, the best pictures i ever took were with my 18-55mm too 😀

    see, i was thinking we/her/me should get the 50mm f/1.4 (or 1.8 depending on budget) and the tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro (i think that’s it…i’ve stopped looking at lenses because i might get itchy fingers)

    i wish she’d hurry up

    20. Lilandra on August 21st, 2008 at 1:20 pm
  19. The longer you look the more you see and that isn’t too good :)

    I am considering a Pentax 100mm f/2.8 macro. Here is a good review on a Canon 100mm macro –


    21. aka_lol on August 21st, 2008 at 3:53 pm
  20. taking over my blog with shopping lists…what next?

    and Lilandra, perhaps I would be minded to consider buying a lens you could borrow if you would ever work on my blog template.

    22. Chennette on August 21st, 2008 at 4:43 pm
  21. thank you aka_lol
    really chennette you know our house crazy at the moment
    i will do it
    i sorry it taking so long

    23. Lilandra on August 21st, 2008 at 9:57 pm
  22. ok, j reminded me it was labelled ‘guinep’, not ‘jujube’. that’s another fruit.

    24. bee on August 22nd, 2008 at 12:56 pm
  23. ah well…good thing I didn’t go changing my ID 😀

    25. Chennette on August 26th, 2008 at 1:39 am
  24. Cherrymoia is actually a different fruit, not custard apple. A friend of mine grows both in his backyard in Los Angeles, California. The weather there imitates tropical weather….so it grows well.

    26. Nabeela on August 26th, 2008 at 4:48 pm
  25. thanks Nabeela! I ran across some references to cherimoya and wondered- but someone had posted on the picture and I didn’t know this other fruit at all. Will edit.

    27. Chennette on August 26th, 2008 at 4:55 pm
  26. That sugar apple looks like what I know as custard apple. It tastes exquisite! I rarely see it now, though.

    28. Liane Spicer on September 6th, 2008 at 2:59 pm
  27. Hey Liane – yes, we say custard apple too. I don’t know where my Mom got it, but I am glad she saved for me as I don’t think I even remembered exactly what it tasted like.
    Enjoy Monday, the grand release day for The Book 😀

    29. Chennette on September 7th, 2008 at 7:45 pm
  28. Yuh wicked! like yuh forget people fasting. Like yuh go have to close shop fuh Ramadan; too much palatal temptation on this site. Nice one though. I ain’t see that flick in ages (sugar apple); much less eat it.

    30. Umar on September 8th, 2008 at 5:27 pm
  29. fruits are good during Ramadan – quick intake of sugar and refreshing water in a tasty package 😀
    and you see I post some chennette finally!

    31. Chennette on September 10th, 2008 at 1:44 pm
  30. Do you have any recipes/tips for cooking with genips (chennet, mamoncillo, etc.)?
    I’ve heard they can be used for jelly/juice but don’t know where to start!
    any help would be appreciated!

    32. Melissa on September 11th, 2008 at 3:10 pm
  31. Hi Melissa – and welcome. I have never tried or heard of anything made from chennets – because of the seed and the way the pulp sticks to it, I never even thought about it. But I guess it must be possible to make juice from it, and therefore jams and jellies…don’t know if any readers might know, but I’ll keep an eye out for anything.

    33. Chennette on September 11th, 2008 at 3:14 pm
  32. I was asking my produce market if they could get their hands on “canepas”… now I know they are spelled “quenepas” and, better yet, Chennet! My most beloved fruit in Puerto Rico, I miss them here in the States. I would love to try planting some quenepa pits in a pot and see what happens! The Mamey fruit is also delicious!

    34. Liz on October 3rd, 2008 at 5:00 pm
  33. Hi Liz – glad you were able to see the spelling 😀 I never know what people will be looking for and bounce up my site!
    If you can get chennets/quenepas to grow in a pot, that would be awesome.

    35. Chennette on October 4th, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Where can I get Roti and Doubles and Channette in Scotland, After my visit to Trinidad last year I have been searching endlessly to find these in Scotland!

    36. Scottish on October 31st, 2008 at 12:19 pm
  35. I WISH I knew where you could find doubles and roti and trini fruits in Scotland. During my year in Edinburgh I had to rely on visits to London – you’d have to go where there might be Trinis I guess…Aberdeen? :-)

    37. Chennette on October 31st, 2008 at 2:05 pm
  36. ice cream mango is also called francisco mango

    39. vikky on June 1st, 2009 at 1:44 pm
  37. As a young boy growing up in guyana, we called that fruit “genip”,excitement grows during the season when they are ripe on the trees. They grow in bunches, climbing the trees to pick them was sometimes a challenge but very rewarding. Fruits are plentiful,some of them I have not seen in many years. I visited a friend in St Maarten who had a tree in his yard with a fruit we called (” jamoon “in guyana). when ripe it is very dark in colour, nearly black,looks like a large berry. most of the population back then used to make a home made wine out of it. My friend in St Maarten had no idea what it was and the fruits got ripe and fell from the tree staining the ground witha dark hue under the tree.

    40. lawrence cully on July 5th, 2009 at 10:38 am
  38. beautiful photos and thanks for the education. i’m trying to write up our local fruit truck and brooklyn and there are so many fruits i have never even seen before which i love having right outside my door.


    41. laura on August 24th, 2009 at 9:33 pm
  39. Hi Laura – thanks and welcome! Glad this could be of help :-)

    42. Chennette on August 24th, 2009 at 11:09 pm
  40. Ah yes Jamoon , the fruit which we used to rub our lips with on our way to school to look like lipstick. There were two trees in the village which I remember well and once they were ripe we would do so every morning and of course the excuse was that we ate jamoon….lol not that we rubbed it on …. I am sure the teacher knew….
    It was also used by some for making wine in Trinidad and still is I think…..

    43. trinimom on August 27th, 2009 at 7:36 am
  41. I have a fruit farm in Palm Beach, Florida, where I grow Caribbean and Far East fruit trees. Sometimes when we get calls, both myself and potential Customers are confused. We invite these customers to the farm, compare notes and names, and now have a list of half a dozen names for some fruits.

    I wish we could use one common name which would make life much easier for all concerned, but I guess that would not be too easy.
    I enjoy your comments.
    Let’s keep in touch,
    Mal Spence

    44. Mal Spence on November 3rd, 2009 at 9:35 am
  42. Hi Mal- thanks for visiting :-) I think I am overdue to posting some new fruits and seeing some new comments generated! Your inventory must be a fascinating document

    45. Chennette on November 3rd, 2009 at 1:37 pm
  43. Hello,
    My husband and I are looking for a place to purchase guineps in the US and have shipped to Wisconsin. Does anyone know of a website or a farm that we could get in touch with. Thanks for the help.

    46. PaigeD on February 5th, 2010 at 12:04 am
  44. Hi Paige. I don’t know who exports chennet/guinep, but maybe someone who reads this might be able to help. Ministries of Agriculture might know…or you could try contacting the T&T National Agricultural Marketing Development Co (NAMDEVCO) – even if none of their people export guinep, they may know who in the region does.

    47. Chennette on February 6th, 2010 at 11:58 am
  45. nice fruit,does any 1 know what a ‘monkey punch’ is?thanks for reply

    48. ntee006 on June 5th, 2010 at 6:07 pm
  46. my shop-rite here in nj has the SUGAR APPLE but they are very expensive and go by a different name cherimoyas for $7.00 a piece.

    49. kev on June 16th, 2010 at 6:43 pm
  47. i just want to know if quenepas are legal to grow in NEW YORK CITY is that to much to ask GOSH

    50. kesha on August 27th, 2010 at 2:55 pm
  48. kesha I think you’re asking in the wrong place. Try the US Department of Agriculture, or a local zoning board or city council. I have no idea.

    51. Chennette on August 27th, 2010 at 5:00 pm
  49. we run tings on da island ting nuh run we!

    p.s. Im from Barbados and currently live in los angeles, does anyone know where i can get some akees?

    52. Norm on September 27th, 2011 at 6:52 pm
  50. Is there any way these fruits except the mango be shipped to north east TX? If so I would love to have some guineps and sugar apples.

    53. Amber on September 3rd, 2012 at 1:31 pm

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] blogger Lifespan of a Chennette turns the spotlight on some indigenous Caribbean fruit: “You never know when you might need […]

  2. […] Mom and I came home with a larger than needed pumpkin. But while we were at the Chaguanas market (buying the chennet), we were waiting on the cocoa lady and in front of us were all these huge chunks of beautiful […]

  3. […] fruits the family has harvested or received from neighbours you can visit these previous posts on Caribbean Fruits and Fruits in […]

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