Friday, February 18, 2011

Food in Jamaica

        Ya know, I've been meaning to mention some of the different foods we've been able to experience since being here. Tonite I treid some new things that a local guy brought by. There were some things they call "Custard Apples", which look kinda wierd and nasty on the outside, like a dried out pomegranate. But, when they get a little soft, you cut them in half and eat the insides with a spoon. They taste like a combination of an apple and a pear, but have the consistency of pudding or custard. Another fruit he brought is called a 'neesberry". I don't know if that's the proper spelling but that's how it's pronounced. It looks kinda like a kiwi fruit on the outside, but they're nice and sweet and you can eat them like an apple. They have three or four big black seeds in them. We got some "sour oranges". which are more like big lemons, but taste like limes. They make a great juice!
        Another guy has brought us quite a bit of yam. It's a big root that they dig up, rather than a potato like thing. It's really good fried in butter and sugar. The other week I pulled up a bunch of "Coco" roots, which aren't really from a coco plant, but another plant that looks like "Elephant Ears". The roots get bulbous on the ends and that's what you take. You clean them ( a rather messy job) and then boil them for about 45 minutes. If you were to eat them raw, they would make your throat feel like you swallowed razor blades and washed them down with rubbing alcohol. However, boiled, they taste like potatoes.
        We had "Akee" and salt fish the other morning. We've had this many times in the past, but this is the first time Jenni prepared them by herself. She did a great job. "Akee" grows on a tree and looks like a dried out red Bell pepper. As soon as this red thing opens up it's ripe or "fit" as they say, and ready to pick. Don't pick them before they open or they are highly poisonous and can kill you! Just sayin'. Inside these things are three big black seeds, which resemble black olives but are hard, attached to three yellow pods resembeling walnut meats. You pick out the pods, pick off the seeds, clean a little flakey piece out of the yellow walnut meat lookin' deal, and take those yellow jobbies and boil them for about 15 minutes. Be sure to get the little flakey piece out 'cause that's poison too. After they're boiled, we put them in a tupperware with a little vegetable oil and stick 'em in the freezer. When you want to prepare them, you just fry them off a little and add them to bits of cleaned salt fish and fried onions. Yum!
        I fried some "Plantin" the other day for dinner. It's like a HUGE banana, but you take them when they're green, and they aren't very sweet. You peel them and slice them in about 1/4" thick pieces and fry them in butter 'til they get a little brown. A little salt and 'viola! Salted banana chips are real popular here too. You can also do the same thing to "Breadfruit", which grows on a tree and looks like a small, spikey watermelon. The inside tastes kinda' like potato and works well in soups and stews.
        We've had this juice made from a fruit called a "soursop", which is milky looking and tastes like sweet snot. I don't much care for drinking snot, even if it is sweetened wth raw sugar. They also make a juice out of what they call "cherries" here. These little red, deformed, sour balls get ground up in a blender and have about ten pounds of sugar added to counteract the sourness. After that the juice is almost palletable. There is also a little fruit that grows in clusters on trees that's called a "guinup". They are like eating a sour grape that's sweet in the middle. However, they are the consistency of eyeballs with little seeds in the center. Kinda wierd.
         It's amazing what people will eat when they get hungry enough.