Monthly Archives: June 2013

Surinam Cherry

Surinam Cherry

 SURINAM CHERRY

     The surinam cherry (eugenia uniflora, E. michelii, or Stenoclay m.) is a small, sweet, juicy fruit that has a slight resinous or piney taste, and grows in tropical and subtropical areas. It is a member of the myrtle family. Other names for the surinam cherry included the Brazil cherry, Cayenna cherry, Florida cherry, and Pitanga.
     The surinam cherry tree is more of a shrub with bronze leaves that turn green when older. The fruit itself is approximately 2 to 4 centimeters in width. It is a squat, round shape, with 7 to 8 ribs. They start out green and change to orange, bright red, seep scarlet, or purplish maroon when ripe. The darker the fruit, the sweeter it is. They have thin skin, and 1 big, or 2 to 3 small seeds in the center.
     Originally native to Surinam, Guyana. It is a very invasive tree, that sometimes can get out of hand. The Surinam Cherry is temperature sensitive- so the farther away from the equator it goes, the less invasive the shrub becomes.

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      In Brazil, the surinam is fermented, and made into liqueur. But it is usually just eaten out of hand as a snack from the tree. The surinam is high in Vitamin C, A, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and niacin.

Surinam Cherry Jelly

  1. Wash cherries. Remove stems and blossom ends. Place cherries in a saucepan. Add water until it can be seen through the top layer of cherries. The fruit must not float in water.
  2. Cover the pan and simmer until cherries are soft (25 or 30 minutes). Strain the juice through a flannel or heavy muslin jelly bag. Measure the juice, and place it in a deep kettle that will allow for the boiling up of the liquid. Cook no more than 4 cups of juice at a time. Boil juice rapidly for 5 minutes. Skim, if necessary.
  3. Add 1/2 cup sugar to each cup of juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil the juice rapidly, without stirring it, until it has reached the “sheeting stage” or 220º to 222º. Pour the jelly into hot sterilized glasses and seal immediately.

Surinam Cherry and Star fruit Jam

3 (1-pint) or 6 (1-cup) canning jars, with bands and lids
5 star fruits, to make 3 cups when chopped
1 cup pitted, chopped Surinam cherries
6 cups sugar
1 cup liquid pectin

  1. Wash star fruit, removing ends and dark ridges. Chop coarsely to make 3 cups. Sterilize canning jars and lids.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine star fruit and cherries. Chop until the star fruit is in 3/4-inch pieces.
  3. In large saucepan over low heat, stir star fruit mixture until it sizzles, add sugar and allow sugar to liquefy. Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Add pectin, and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Pour fruit mixture into hot, sterile jars. Cap with the bands and lids, and allow to cool. Makes 6 cups.
     

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© 2013 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.

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Kasha

Kasha

 KASHA, UNHULLED   

Kasha, or roasted buckwheat groats, comes from a plant that is native to Northern Europe and Asia.  It was cultivated in China between the 10-13th century.  It spread to Europe, via Turkey during the 14th and 15th century.  By the 17th century, it hit Great Britain and the US.  Today, Russia and Poland are the largest producers.

Kasha has a toasty, nutty flavor. The seeds are back and triangular in shape, approximately the size of a grain of wheat.  The seeds must be hulled.  The shell is inedible.  They are passed between 2 mechanical rollers.  Roasted cracked or whole buckwheat is called kasha.

 KASHA, CRACKED

Cracked Kasha

Buckwheat groats grow on a plant, similar to rhubarb.  Buckwheat is a grass that is an important agricultural crop for producing livestock feed. It grows on a bushy plant that produces white or pink flowers.  The nectar that is produced in the flower brings about a dark, rich, almost molasses style of honey.  It is not as sweet as a common wildflower honey.

        NECTAR           FLOUR, BUCKWHEAT      

Buckwheat Flour is made from milling the buckwheat grain.  It is very dark, and velvety, and has a very strong assertive flavor.  Buckwheat flour is naturally gluten free

            Buckwheat Flour is commonly used to make such items such as long Italian noodles called Pezzoccheri or Pizzoccheri or Japanese Soba Noodles.  In Russia they use buckwheat flour to make flat crepe-like pancakes called bilinis.

            Kasha is great cold in salads.  It contains magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, folic acid, iron, and pantothenic acid.  Buckwheat flour is high in protein, so therefore benefits from being refrigerated/ frozen when stored.

       To cook buckwheat groats/ kasha use 1 part of grains to 1 ½ to 2 parts liquid to yield of 2 cups cooked grain in about 12-20 minutes of cooking time.

  • Pairings for Kasha
  • asparagus
  • eggs
  • mushrooms
  • Parmesan cheese
  • pignoli
  • sour cream

© 2013 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.

Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.

Spanish Lime

Spanish Lime

The Spanish Lime, Melicoccus bijugatus, is also called a Genip, Mamocillo, or Quenepa.  It is a fruit that is native to the North American tropics.  Originally, it was cultivated in the West Indies.

SPANISH LIME

            The Spanish lime is not related to the citrus family, it is in the soapberry family (related to the lychee).  It is a small, oval tree fruit that has thin green skin.  They are approximately 1 inch in diameter.  On the tree, the Spanish Limes look like a bunch of small, green grapes.  The flesh of a Spanish lime is a peach color.  It has the consistency of a ripe mango, with a gelatinous texture.  The flavor is sweet-tart.

The Spanish lime tree produces small, greenish white flowers that are very fragrant.  The flowers are bisexual, so they must be cross-pollinated.

To eat a Spanish lime, put the fruit in your mouth, and crack the skin with your teeth.  Remove the peel, and suck on the sweet flesh inside.  The seeds of the Spanish lime are edible after being roasted.  In Colombia, the flesh is sometimes turned into a juice.

Spanish limes are available from July to September.  They are grown in Puerto Rico, Cuba, The West Indies, and south Florida.

Spanish limes are a good source of iron.

Originally Published 5-9-13

© 2013 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.

Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.

 

Panama Candle

Panama Candle

The Panama Candle Tree, (parmenthiera cereifera), grows18 inch fruits that are long and skinny, like candles.  The fruits grow of their tree trunks and limbs.  The tree produces 3 inch white flowers.  The leaves of the tree are small, spineless leaflets that are oval and approximately 2 inches long.  Originally from Mexico, they are grown all over Central and South America.

PANAMA CANDLE

                  The candle fruit is a low quality fruit.  It tastes like sugar cane.  Some species are very sweet, some are not.  It is a laxative.  It is usually stewed and eaten.  These are primarily grown for ornamental reasons.

PANAMA CANDLE, TREE

Originally Published 4-25-13

© 2013 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.

Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.