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Your Guide to Caribbean Summer Produce

June Caribbean Summer Produce

Mangoes are bursting with sunshine, pineapples with crowns of green, and passion fruit blushing purple – Caribbean summer produce is here! The islands are overflowing with fresh, local fruits and vegetables, tempting you with their vibrant hues and tropical aromas. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Caribbean market, you’ll be greeted by a symphony of colors and scents that will have you itching to get creative in the kitchen. Don’t miss this chance to explore the bounty of the season – this guide will help you navigate the vibrant stalls and make the most of the delicious offerings available in June.

June’s Juicy Jewels:

  • Mango: The undisputed king of Caribbean fruits! Look for plump, slightly yielding mangoes with a fragrant aroma. Store unripe mangoes at room temperature and ripe ones in the refrigerator for a few days. Enjoy them sliced, in salads, or a refreshing mango smoothie.
  • Pineapple: Another tropical treasure, pineapples are at their sweetest in June. Select pineapples with a golden yellow rind and fragrant leaves. Fresh pineapple chunks are perfect for fruit salads, grilled alongside fish, or juiced for a vitamin C boost.
  • Guava: Available in red and white varieties, guavas are a delicious source of antioxidants. Choose guavas that are slightly soft with yielding skin. Enjoy them fresh, or use them to make jams, chutneys, or sorbets.
  • Passion Fruit: Look for passion fruits with wrinkled, purple skin. Their tangy-sweet flavor complements savory dishes and desserts alike. Try passion fruit juice in cocktails, or use the pulp to add a zing to your yogurt or ice cream.
Caribbean summer produce
Caribbean Summer Produce

Veggie Vibrancy:

  • Breadfruit: This starchy, versatile fruit can be enjoyed ripe or unripe. Ripe breadfruit has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be roasted, boiled, or fried. Unripe breadfruit has a firmer texture and can be prepared similarly to potatoes.
  • Malanga: This starchy root vegetable is a staple in Caribbean cuisine. Choose firm malanga with unblemished skin. Boil, roast, fried or mash it for a versatile side dish.
  • Christophene (Chayote Squash): This pear-shaped squash has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Pick chayote that feels heavy for its size and has a firm stem. Enjoy it stir-fried, added to soups and stews, or grated into salads.
  • Eggplant (Aubergine): Caribbean eggplants come in a variety of colors and sizes. Choose eggplants that are firm and smooth-skinned. Eggplant is prominently featured in many Caribbean dishes, stews, and curries.
  • Okra (Gombo): Look for okra pods that are firm, green, and blemish-free. Okra adds a delicious thickening element to soups, stews, and gumbos, a popular dish in the French Caribbean.

Tips for Picking the Best Produce:

  • Shop Local: Visit your local farmers’ markets for the freshest seasonal produce. This will support local farmers and ensure the shortest time between harvest and your table.
  • Look for Imperfections: A few blemishes are natural – avoid produce with excessive bruising, discoloration, or soft spots.
  • Give it a Sniff: Fresh fruits and vegetables should have a pleasant, characteristic aroma. Avoid produce with a sour or off smell.

Storing Your Bounty:

  • Proper Storage: Most fruits and vegetables last longer when stored in the refrigerator. However, some tropical fruits like mangoes and avocados are best kept at room temperature until ripe.
  • Ethylene Apart – Keep fruits and vegetables that release ethylene gas, like apples and bananas, separate from those that are sensitive to it, such as broccoli and lettuce. This will help prevent your ethylene-sensitive produce from spoiling prematurely.
  • Ripe vs. Unripe: Store fruits that need to ripen at room temperature and refrigerate those that are already ripe.
  • Know Your Greens: Leafy greens can be stored in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel.

Flavorful Inspiration for Caribbean Summer Produce:

  • Tropical Fruit Salad: Combine sliced mangoes, pineapple, passion fruit, and your other favorites for a refreshing and healthy summer treat.
  • Grilled Vegetables with Herbs: Grill eggplant, okra, and other summer vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs for a flavorful side dish.
  • Curried Chicken with Breadfruit: This hearty dish combines the richness of curry with the starchy goodness of breadfruit.
Pineapple, Papaya, and Cucumber Salad
A refreshing and simple recipe for your favorit omeat roast or grilled chicken.
Get the recipe
Pineapple, Papaya, and Cucumber Salad
Eggplant Fritters or Acra Aubergine
Acras D'aubergines or Eggplant Fritters, a delicious vegetable fritter that is easy and simple to prepare, and not costly.
Get the recipe
Eggplant Fritters
Breadfruit with Shallots and Parsley Vinaigrette
This creamy breadfruit provides a tender base in this light and tangy vinaigrette, Parsley and shallots add depth of flavor, while olive oil and champagne vinegar pull it all together. A delicious, healthful addition to your dinner meal
Get the recipe
Breadfruit with Vinaigrette

By following this guide, you can embrace the flavors of summer in the French Caribbean and enjoy the health benefits of fresh, local produce. So get out there, explore the markets, and get cooking!

Source:

https://ucsdcommunityhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ethylene.pdf

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