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Surinam cherries are small ribbed berries, approximately 1 centimeter in diameter. Surinam cherries vary in color from red to deep crimson to almost black depending on the variety and stage of maturity. The flesh is juicy and soft, containing 1 to 3 seeds in its center. They lack in sweetness and have a mildly earthy flavor that is less intense when the fruit is at its ripest. Ripe Surinam cherries are soft to the touch with a thin skin, they are tart and acidic with a taste similar to a green bell pepper. Green or orange cherries are under-ripe and bitter in flavor, and therefore should be avoided.
Surinam cherries are available in the spring, fall, and winter months.
Surinam cherries are botanically known as Eugenia uniflora and are a member of the Myrtaceae family. Surinam cherries are also known Cayenne cherries, Brazilian cherries, Pitanga cherries, and Florida cherries, and are not related to sweet or sour cherries. Surinam cherries were introduced to Florida during the 1930s and during the 1980s became a target of eradication after being classified as an invasive plant species.
Surinam cherries are a good source of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and phosphorus. They contain the anthocyanin, a potent antioxidant.
Surinam cherries can be utilized in both fresh and cook applications. Cut the Surinam cherries in half vertically to remove the seeds and use in jams, jellies, sauces, compotes, and syrups. Macerate with sugar to top baked goods and ice cream. In Brazil, the juice is fermented into wine and sometimes made into liquor. Surinam cherries can be boiled with water to make juice and added to beverages. Store Surinam cherries in an open container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
Surinam cherries are believed to be native to and named after the northern South American country, Surinam. It naturally grows in neighboring French Guiana and Guyana and can be found growing as far south as Uruguay and Argentina. Currently 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.
|Eat the Weeds||Surinam Cherry Chiffon Pie|
|Maui Jungalow||Surinam Cherry Relish|
|The Witchy Kitchen||Surinam Jam|
|Kitchen Butterfly||Pitanga Cherry Dessert|
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