Revisiting A Long Forgotten Childhood Memory

In the last week of February, my husband and I were driving in the streets of Ironshore. Ironshore is an upscale community in the outskirts of Montego Bay, Jamaica. There are some beautiful houses in this neighbourhood. Anyway! As we drove towards the A1 highway, my husband suddenly exclaimed, “Seema chintha gubbalu!”. I had no clue what he was referring to.

He stopped the car by the sidewalk and asked if I saw them on the tree nearby. I explained to him that I am hearing that word for the first time. He pointed to a tall tree in a piece of wasteland by the road. Before I could get a good glimpse of the tree, he got out of the car and walked towards the tree.

He picked a delicate, pink and white pod that was curled up and appeared to have burst open. He showed it to me and said that these trees were commonly found in and around his village in India. He ate them a lot as a child.

The scientific name of this fruit is Pithecellobium dulce. I did a little research to know that these trees a commonly found in Asia, Central America, Mexico and South America. It is called by different names in different regions. The bark, fruit, seeds of this tree are used to treat various ailmentsKaushik V. Kulkarni and Varsha R. Jamakhandi from the College of Pharmacy in India have explained a few interesting facts about the tree. The uses of Pithecellobium dulce are described in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. It can be accessed at this website:

https://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2018/vol7issue2/PartJ/7-1-390-353.pdf.

The pods of Seema Chintha burst open on the tree when they become ripe and ready for eating. They taste sweet when ripe yet have a mild sour taste at the same time. The best way to describe the flavour is like chewing on fresh rose petals that were sweet. After eating the first one, I couldn’t stop. I ate them all, one after another.

After picking a bunch of pods from the tree, we separated the delicate white fruit from the pod, removed the black seeds and washed them thoroughly before devouring them. I couldn’t help notice the delicate white flowers hanging down. They were so beautiful and feathery that I decided not to touch them. Bees and wasps were hovering around too.
For now, I am going to leave you with this last picture of this Seema Chintakaya. For my husband, this was a wonderful memory brought back from his childhood.

Otaheite Apples

When I came to Jamaica two decades ago, the Otaheite apple was one of the exotic fruits that I came across. But ever since I tasted them, I have been in love with this delicious fruit. 

Yesterday my husband brought a dozen of these apples. Otaheite apples are soft and juicy like a plum. There is a small seed inside it that can be pulled out easily. The white flesh inside the fruit is sweet and has a tangy taste. One bite of this fruit fills up your mouth with the sweet juice, as the red colour from the skin slowly seeps into the delicate white fibrous flesh. The darker the colour of the skin, the sweeter is the fruit.

It is also known as the Jamaican apple, and it grows on tall trees that generally bear a lot of fruits. It is a seasonal fruit. The previous house where I lived had a lot of space in the yard. So, I planted a seed of this Otaheite Apple, and it grew to approximately three feet tall. When I moved from that house, I left the tree there. My current residence has no space for trees.

Just like any other fruit, these apples are rich in vitamins and minerals. They work wonders for our body and prevent or cure a variety of ailments. The best part is that they taste great and are surprisingly inexpensive. 

I enjoy eating them raw however, they are used to make jams and juices. It can be stewed with brown sugar and ginger to make jam. You could even run it in the blender with water, sugar and a tiny bit of ginger to make an excellent juice. 

All this talk about Otaheite apples has worked up my appetite. Bye for now, see you all on my next blog.