Friday, January 31, 2014

The Travelling Nutmeg: Green thumbs and red fingers

Caribbean or island life means sea, sun, relaxation and fun. We chill on the beach all day. On special occasions, that is. We are also very hard working people. With agriculture as one of the nation's main forms of income, it's not uncommon be surrounded by garden plots and plants that were alive before you were.

Grapefruit ready to be picked
A local Seville Orange

Grapefruit, Orange, Mango and Carambola are some of the fruits that bear right before the Caribbean 'dry' season; six months of little rain and plenty sunshine.

Local Five Finger or Carambola
Carambola blossoms

Being able to eat what you grow is awesome and cultivating in a pollutant, chemical, pesticide free environment should not be taken for granted.
Still looking for the name of this exotic plant

Local Julie Mango

Experimenting with plants that are not traditionally grown in your area is a good way to challenge yourself. Take fig for instance. No, not Green Fig or Green Banana. The fig that you may hear in American Christmas songs. The fig of the Fig Newtons pastry. Yup, that one. Although it doesn't bear much, its fruit is still very sweet and tasty.

Common fig
The Caribbean June Plum tree has already lost its leaves, but the fruit hang on for dear life. Watch out guys! Dry season has no mercy.

Caribbean June plums need some more hanging time

Finally, can you guess what late Christmas presents I received from my parents? Sorrel and Pigeon peas, yaye! Cooked, you say? My parents had a good laugh and I was promptly put to shelling and cutting. Sorrel cutting is quite the task.

Freshly harvested sorrel
Removing the calyx

Red fingers are evidence of hard work
Don't worry, it's not blood. Simply red sorrel stains that promise sorrel juice which I must now leave you to prepare. Take a look at the video to see sorrel cutting, step by step.