The Virgin Islands are home to a wealth of gorgeous, tasty tropical fruits that you often won’t find on the mainland. They contribute to our unique (and delicious!) cuisine as much as local spices, seafood, and other staple ingredients. Full of health benefits in addition to having fabulous flavors, you should be sure to try a few of these favorites while you’re on the island. They make for scrumptious desserts or a tasty afternoon snack when you’re in between meals. Here’s a list of some of the most common ones you’ll encounter.
Widely grown throughout the Americas where it is humid and warm, the soursop is a prickly green fruit which has a flavor similar to a cross between strawberry, pineapple, and citrus. Yet in spite of its tangy taste, the soursop has a delightfully creamy texture. In the Virgin Island, we love using these sweet fruits to make ice cream and other desserts.
Passion fruit is divine in desserts. Tangy, sweet, and utterly tropical, this highly aromatic fruit is phenomenal in cocktails or made into a refreshing juice. The skin isn’t edible but the sweet yellow flesh and seeds are. Try it in a drink – you won’t regret it!
These so-called figs look like mini bananas but are much sweeter than their larger counterpart. So tasty.
This juicy fruit gets its name from its shape. Cut it and voila! A star-shaped slice to help refresh you on even the hottest of days. The entire fruit is edible and offers a pleasant, slightly tart taste. Rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and potassium, starfruit (also known as carambola) is a healthy treat that is perfect for when you’re on the go.
If you’ve ever had a lychee, you’ll find that the genip is a similar fruit in both appearance and taste. Crack open the green shell and you’ll discover a fleshy fruit with a large seed in the middle. Don’t eat the seed though! Instead, enjoy the slightly tangy, succulent fruit then discard the seed when finished.
These berries grow on trees near the sandy shores throughout the Caribbean. The purple berries do in fact look like grapes, which is where the fruit gets its name from. You can eat them raw or cook them into a jam or jelly.
These are not the gooseberries that some might be familiar with. The berries are quite tart, so instead of eating them raw, we like to make them into jams. Gooseberry jams are a fixture on many islander’s tables. We also love candied gooseberries – a perfect harmony of sweet and tart that people of all ages adore.
A fruit that is a staple in the diets of many people in the Caribbean and other places in the tropics, the breadfruit is starchy with an aroma like freshly baked bread. Before being eaten, the breadfruit is always cooked. It can then be put into stews or roasted, used the same way as one would have potatoes.
You’ll also find fruits like coconut, mango, papaya, pomegranate and more. If you’re in the mood for something tropical never fear – there’s plenty to delight the taste buds in the Virgin Islands! As part of a dessert, in a cool drink on a hot day, or simply enjoyed raw, these fruits are gastronomic treats unto themselves and offer a delectable look into some of the wonderful ingredients we use in our cuisine. A real bonus for anyone with a sweet tooth!