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This item was last sold on : 02/18/18
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Surinam cherries, also known as the Pitanga, are small, red, ribbed berries that look very similar to a cherry. Their taste, however, is very different than a cherry. The most common variety of Surinam cherry is a dark red color, whereas a more rare variety has a deep crimson to almost black fruit. These native Amazon cherries have a resinous flavor that is less intense when the fruit is at its ripest. Green or orange cherries are under-ripe and should be avoided. Ripe Surinam cherries are deep red and soft to the touch with a thin skin, which makes for a challenge to commercialize them. They are tart and acidic with a taste much like a green bell pepper. To some, the Surinam cherry is an acquired taste.
Surinam cherries are available in the spring, fall, and winter months.
The tropical Surinam cherry is part of the Myrtaceae family, and is related to the guava, clove, allspice and eucalyptus plants. It is not, in fact, related to sweet or sour cherries.
Cut the Surinam cherry in half vertically to remove the seed, sprinkle with sugar to sweeten and eat fresh. Refrigerated cut cherries lose some of their bitter characteristics, leaving a more mild sweetness. Macerate with sugar in the refrigerator and top pound cakes, add to fruit cups or salads. Use pitted Surinam cherries for jams or jellies. The pulp can be used as a sauce or marinade, or use the whole cherry to make a syrup. In Brazil, the juice is fermented into wine and sometimes made into liquor.
The Surinam cherry is named for the northern country in South America where it is believed to have originated. It naturally grows in neighboring French Guiana and Guyana and can be found growing as far south as Uruguay and Argentina. The Surinam cherry is also known as the Brazilian cherry or Cayenne cherry. These tropical fruits were brought to Italy via India by Portuguese voyagers, and then eventually made their way to the US. They were introduced in Florida during the 1930s and during the 1980s became a target of eradication after being classified as an invasive plant species. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as the Florida cherry. Surinam cherries can be found growing in most tropical regions around the world, from the Philippines to Hawaii, and from Haiti to the West African country of Nigeria.
Recipes that include Surinam Cherries. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Kitchen Butterfly||Pitanga Cherry Dessert|
|Maui Jungalow||Surinam Cherry Relish|
|Eat the Weeds||Surinam Cherry Chiffon Pie|
|The Witchy Kitchen||Surinam Jam|
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