Guinep: The Fruit You Just Can’t Have Enough Of!
The guinep is an exotic fruit native to the Caribbean region and the northern parts of South America. Over time, it has been grown in other places too which include southern Florida, California, Israel, Hawaii, and the Philippines to name a few.
Unlike some other fruits of its ilk which may grow on bushes or shrubs, the guinep fruit grows on full-fledged guinep trees that can go as high as 100 feet, often rendering fruit picking a remarkable challenge! These trees grow best in warm, tropical climates. As a corollary, they do not grow well in places which do not uniformly have such climate.
The guinep has over time been known by a number of different names. Scientifically, it is known as Melicoccus bijugatus. Some other names used to refer to the same tree – and thus to the fruit that it bears, include Spanish lime, chenet, quenepe, limoncillo (not to be confused with Limoncello, the lemon liqueur produced in southern Italy), mamón, kinnip, and talpa jacote, among others.
Resemblance to other fruits
Appearance-wise, they are perhaps closest in resemblance to olives. Guineps grow in bunches, which is, in turn, similar to lychees. There are other parallels to lychees too which include the reasonably soft exterior skin which can be easily peeled off, as well as the easygoing flesh of the fruit which is almost like jelly.
The resemblance with olives is especially marked due to the large and reasonably hard seed in the center of the guinep fruit. Thanks to this bulky seed inside, you will find that the fleshy portion of the fruit is actually not all that much, as a novice to the fruit might wrongly surmise.
To eat guineps, you simply peel off the outer skin. As mentioned above, the flesh of the fruit is soft and can be eaten as is. In case you prefer to spice things up a little bit, you can add lime or salt on top of the fruit’s flesh before eating it. This is especially true for those who may prefer a savory taste to its naturally sweet one.
One question we are often asked – “Can the guinep fruit be popped whole into the mouth”? Well, the answer is a resounding yes; as we mentioned in the previous section, guineps are astoundingly close to olives and lychees, to the extent that you can indeed pop them whole into your mouth, the same way you would with both these fruits. Simply continue enjoying the pulp of the fruit, till you get to the seed.
One precaution you need to take is to ensure you eat the guinep fruit only when it is ripe; there is the possibility of the fruit containing toxins when it is still raw, so it is only recommended to be consumed when it is ripe. Don’t worry; the outer appearance of the fruit will give things away as to whether it is ripe or not.
As it is, the guinep tree and its fruit come to life only in summer. This is a tree which really does not do well in other seasons, especially winters when frosty conditions can end up doing undue damage to it.
P.S. – In case you need a small seedling to kick start matters onto for your very own guinep tree over time, you can easily get one online over here.
Just as you have lychee juice made from lychee pulp, the flesh of guineps is often ground to a pulp to make guinep juice. This activity is prevalent both on a small scale at homes as well as on a larger one to make its juice on an industrial scale. As with the option to add-on additives such as spices to the raw flesh that we described above, you have the same option even while making guinep juice; adding lime, ginger, sugar (in case the fruit you have is not sweet, or if you would like to further enhance its sweetness), or salt, etc. will only enhance its flavor significantly.
Besides the fruit itself, the leaves of the guinep tree are also frequently consumed by boiling them in water and drinking the concoction as tea. Further, the seed of the guinep fruit can also be had by boiling it. Alternatively, it can be roasted and then crushed before adding to a number of different items; an instance would be for baking some products such as bread.
We recommend viewing the following video where not only is the guinep fruit reviewed, but the process of roasting its seeds has also been showcased:
At this juncture, it would only be apt to advise you complete caution on consuming the fruit while inebriated or not completely aware of the large size of its seed; there is formidable risk of choking on it, even if attentiveness is lost momentarily. This is a major reason for which the guinep fruit is frequently NOT offered to children, since they could easily end up choking on the large seed of the fruit.
Guinep Health Benefits
It is with good reason that the guinep is often referred to as a “super fruit” owing to its wide-ranging health benefits. Accordingly, in this section, we outline some of the most common health benefits typically associated with guinep.
Firstly, this is a single fruit that comes loaded with a number of different nutrients that include minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Additionally, within these broad categories of nutrients, you can easily expect to find:
Specific guinep health benefits that have been arrived at based on scientific studies include:
Thus, as you can clearly note, guinep – and its fruit, obviously come with wide-ranging health benefits.
Mind you though, above is an indicative yet detailed listing of the numerous health benefits that come with the fruit. As you continue to ingest guinep fruit, you are likely to witness additional health benefits over time.
The following video provides a good summary of the health properties that lie in guineps:
There are many exotic fruits around the world on which overall awareness is relatively low.
The objective of this article has been to provide a detailed and well-informed perspective on the guinep tree – and its prized fruity offering, the guinep fruit.
Having put together its diverse range of characteristics, the various ways in which it is consumed, as well as the wide array of health benefits that come with regular consumption of the guinep fruit, we do reckon that our objective has largely been fulfilled.
Is there anything that you feel we missed out? Or perhaps expected more information on?
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!