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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Wash star fruit, removing ends and dark ridges. Chop coarsely to make 3 cups. Sterilize canning jars and lids.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine star fruit and cherries. Chop until the star fruit is in 3/4-inch pieces.
- 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.
- 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
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