Mamoncillo

I was driving home from Jaws Beach (site of the underwater crashed airplane) when we approached a Rasta man selling plastic bags full of bunches of green fruits. I stopped and motioned him over. I asked him what they were and he said "ginnip" but spelled it guinep. I expected to pay a $1.00 for the bag, like I do for peanuts. Instead it was $2.00. I paid it. I had seen an islander eating these things at his desk.

The three of us opened the bag and we each cracked one open with our teeth. You discard the brittle green rind, and dig out the middle. The fruit inside is a tart, tangy, cream pulp which is like wet cotton surrounding a huge seed. You suck the fruit off the seed and spit the seed out. There is not much fruit and a lot of big nut inside.

It tasted like orange cotton -- only a bit more tart, yet very sweet. The juice, of which there is a surprising lot of it, is full of sugar and very sticky. It seems that the very big guinep is not as sweet as the smaller ones, and the taste of the big one is a little off (see the above pic -- it is even a less vibrant colour).

I googled "guinep" and found out that their common name is Mamoncillo. Although it is sometimes called mamón, Spanish speakers consider the word obscene. I can just imagine what it means by looking at the fruit.

Other names for the fruit are chenet, gnep, ginep, skinnip, genip, kenep, guenepa, Spanish Lime, or Limoncillo. I am wonder if the alcoholic drink limoncillo (popularised by comic star Danny Devito getting drunk on it and appearing on The View ) is made from it, but I doubt it.

The Barbadians (or Bajans) called this ackee. I have seen canned ackee beside canned lychee in the supermarkets back home and wondered what they were about. Now I know. Lychee is awfully close to guinep, except the skin has things sticking out that make it look armoured.

I like the name Mamoncillo, and plan to use it somehow. It is an appealing name to me. In my research on the fruit, I discovered that the interior seeds can be roasted like chestnuts. I just threw mine in my garbage garden, hoping that they will sprout into guinep trees.

The other thing that I learned, is that I overpaid. Yesterday I saw a bunch of young boys with a shopping cart full of guineps. They were selling them by the bagful for a $1 each. The Rasta got double that out of me. Ras Tafari and Smokin' Ganja! This is the second time that the Rastas ripped me off. The first time was when I stopped to buy roasted peanuts from them. The bag was a size smaller than normal, and it was a short-fill -- not to the top. The next time that I see him, I should lop off his dreadlocks or something.

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