Last year, I thought that I would make unique island gifts for Christmas. One thing found in these islands is seagrape. I thought that I would make seagrape jelly as a gift for all of my friends up north. It would be a novel gift from the tropics. Pictured above is a seagrape tree. Seagrapes are used for hedges and property lines, but they also grow into big trees, as pictured above. They bear green fruits that turn purple when ripe.
Collecting seagrapes is not like other grapes. For one, they have a huge seed in the middle, and only a small layer of pulp covering the seed. The second differentiator, is that seagrapes do not all ripen at the same time. They ripen a few at a time, and the rest of the fruits are green and indedible. The easiest way to harvest seagrape, is to let the fruit fall, and pick it up from the ground.
Instead of collecting seagrapes for my jelly, I bought a huge bag of them for a dollar from the Haitian fruit vendor lady. I then went looking for pectin, to make the jelly set. It was unavailable on the island. The fruits were starting to get very ripe, so I followed the recipe by boiling the fruits with sugar and lemon juice, and I put them in jars, thinking that I would add the pectin when it became available.
The jars have been in the fridge all this time. I did get some pectin from Canada, but never re-processed the jars due to time constraints.
Here is where the inventing comes in. Last Saturday I made some delicious cornmeal and sour cream pancakes. I normally put organic honey from Abaco on my pancakes, however the honey was in the fridge, and it was so cold that the honey wouldn't pour. I saw the jars of seagrape syrup waiting to be jellified. On a whim, I opened the jar, and dumped a generous portion on the pancake.
It was delicious. The seagrape syrup was just as good as real maple syrup. Here is a novel food idea ready to be commercially exploited. When you start seeing seagrape syrup in the gourmet food shops, remember that you read it here first.