It’s guinep time again, and unlike this year’s meager mango harvest, guineps have turned out to be the bumper crop. Guinep sellers are making the most of the bounty, now widely available at the roadside, gas stations and fruit stands throughout the district.
Addictive and wonderful, the fruit, somewhat like a cross between a lychee and a lime, has the unique flavor of a sweet sour orange and is a member of the soapberry family of plants.
Most local grown-ups have memories of spending endless days during summer vacations slurping down guineps – a tradition many children heartily still embrace and enjoy.
You eat guineps by putting one into your mouth, piercing the thin skin of the fruit with your teeth, and then squeezing the skin to pop the creamy pulp inside. The fruit can be sweet, tart or tangy, or what some locals call “sour-wha.” Some sprinkle a little salt on the “sour-wha,” but the sweet ones need no condiments.
Be sure not to swallow the seed, spit it out after removing the pulp.
Also, be careful with the juicy pulp as it can leave a dark brown stain on clothes.
Guineps are full of potassium and vitamin C and can be combined with other fruits to create a refreshing tropical drink.
Caution should be taken, as guineps must be ripe when eaten, otherwise they contain toxins. Because of the large seeds, they pose a danger to small children as they are a potential choking hazard.
The guinep trees grow wild in pastures, and many homes boast a tree in the yard. Most people will let you pick from their trees – but remember to ask nicely first.
Picking and eating guineps is one of my great childhood memories.
My favorite tree was in Kate Berry’s backyard in Big Rock, Bodden Town. It was the sweetest tree in our neck of the woods, but Ms. Berry kicked up a storm whenever we raided the tree on our way home from school.
Plenty of times, the boys got caught up in the tree when Ms. Berry came out the back door after hearing the commotion outside.
At first, she would shake the limbs to dislodge the boys, and when that did not work, she threatened to call their parents. Sometimes, she just sat under the tree until nightfall, waiting for the boys to come down. They would often remain up the tree until Ms. Berry got tired of waiting.
We saw it as good fun, and although Ms. Berry seemed like a cantankerous old lady, she meant us no harm and loved us like her own.