Tropical Fijian Fruits & Island Inspired Drinks

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Coconut-Palms-Fiji-Fruit Tropical Fijian Fruits & Island Inspired Drinks

Fiji is paradise on earth, with a kaleidoscope of pristine environments gracing every corner of the country. Combine this with the delicious, mouth-watering tropical fruits that grow free and wild and have a far superior quality than the artificially ripened kinds found in supermarkets in temperate climes. Cultural recipes handed down between generations, from the simple lemon and lime refreshing beverage to the more refined fine dining restaurants, have started to define the unique culinary palette of the islands, elevating and refining the fruits in a carefully balanced way. Below, we have started listing some of the more obscure fruits…

FruitDescription
Guava (Psidium guajava)The fruit is distinguished by a sweet and somewhat granular flesh which represents a great source of essential nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It can be consumed in a variety of ways – fresh, in salads or as a dessert, canned, or in the form of jellies, jams, or juices.
Mango (Mangifera indica)The fruit varies greatly in size and character. Its form is oval, round, heart-shaped, kidney-shaped, or long and slender. The smallest mangoes are no larger than plums, while others may weigh 1.8 to 2.3 kg (4 to 5 pounds). Some varieties are vividly coloured with shades of red and yellow, while others are dull green. The single large seed is flattened, and the flesh that surrounds it is yellow to orange in colour, juicy, and of distinctive sweet-spicy flavour.
Soursop (Annona muricata)The fruit’s juicy, fibrous, white flesh, which combines the flavours of mango and pineapple, can be eaten fresh and is strained to make custards, ice creams, and drinks.
Lemon – Citrus aurantifolia
Table: Fruits of Fiji

Recipe: Fresh Fijian Lemonade (3 Ingredients)


fresh lemonade
Fresh Lemonade | Image: Supplied

Ingredients – (Servings 2)

  1. ½ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  2. ½ cup Fiji Sugar
  3. 4 cups cold Fiji Water

Instructions

  1. In a pitcher, mix together the lemon juice and sugar
  2. Add the cold Fiji Water. Stir to combine.
  3. Wait until the sugar is dissolved and serve.
  4. (Prep Time – 5 mins  Total Time – 5 mins)

Recipe: Guava Juice (4 Ingredients)


fresh guava juice
Fresh Guava Juice | Image: Supplied

Ingredients – (Servings 2)

  1. 1 pound ripe guava, rinsed, randomly diced, (deseeded optional)
  2. 4 cups cold Fiji Water
  3. 1/2 lemon, juiced (optional but recommended)
  4. Fiji sugar or Fiji honey
  5. Handful of ice cubes, to serve

Instructions

  1. Add in the guava, water, lemon juice, and sugar into a blender, until well combined.
  2. Fill 2 tall glasses with ice, then divide the guava juice evenly between them
  3. (Prep Time – 5  mins | Total Time – 5/10 mins)

Recipe: Soursop Juice (6 Ingredients)


soursop juice
Soursop Juice | Image: Supplied

Ingredients – (Servings 4)

  • 16 oz Soursop
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp Fiji Sugar
  • 1 cup Fiji Water
  • 2 cups ice
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves

Instructions

  • Peel the soursop and remove the core. Pull the pulp apart with a fork as needed to find and remove the seeds.
  • Add the soursop flesh, 1 cup milk, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1 cup water to the blender and blend until the pulp liquefies.
  • Strain the mixture into a large bowl to separate the pulp from the juice.
  • Serve the juice over ice and garnish it with mint leaves.
  • (Prep Time – 15 mins | Total Time 15 mins)

Recipe: Mango Drink


delicious mango drink
Fresh Delicious Mango Drink | Image: Supplied

Ingredients – (Servings 2)

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 cups frozen chopped peeled mangoes
  • 1/2 medium ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

  1. Blend the pineapple juice, yogurt, and honey until smooth.
  2. Add the frozen mango and banana, cover, and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into two chilled glasses; serve immediately.
  4. (Prep Time – 10 mins | Total Time 15 mins)

Passion Fruit


Passion Fruit Passiflora edulis
Passion Fruit – Passiflora edulis | Image: Supplied

There are eight species of Passiflora represented throughout the Fijian archipelago of which two are indigenous and the other six are cultivated and/or naturalized. The name Passiflora, or passion flower, is derived from the observation of the shape or form of the flower parts by early Spanish missionaries/explorers.

FruitDescription
Passiflora edulisCultivated and sparingly naturalized vine found from near sea level to an elevation of 700m. This species bears inflorescences with white petals and corona filaments that are proximally pink, purple, and distally white, and also bears edible fruits that are yellow to purplish when ripe. It flowers in February and November and is known as loamy Passion fruit, used as Quit drinks or food.
Passion Fruit (Passiflora foetida)In Fiji, it is a scrambling and twining vine that naturalizes as a weed along roadsides and in coastal thickets, patches of forest, and cane fields from sea level to about 500m above sea level.
Passion Fruit – (Passiflora maliformis)In Fiji, it is sparingly naturalized from near sea level where it scrambles over forest edges and in thickets with yellow to white flowers. The fruit is yellow-green and becomes purple when ripe. It is generally known as Hardshelled Passion Fruit, ripe fruit is edible and is commonly used as a fruit drink.
Table: Types of Passion Fruit
FruitDescription
Avocado (Persea americana)The pear-shaped fruit has a buttery, yellow flesh. So buttery, in fact, that in Fiji during February and March, locals use it as a butter substitute on their bread. it’s the most nutritious of all fruits, rich in Vitamins A and B, and has three times the protein of apples and pears. Avocados have smooth and thin green skin and is one of three subspecies.
Breadfruit – Artocarpus altilisMust be cooked; more like a vegetable than a fruit, and has a dark, smooth skin. Often confused with breadnut, which has a spikey skin, their difference to the connoisseur is that one has seeds (the breadnut) and the other doesn’t. Called UTO in Fijian, the fruit is boiled, roasted, or cut into chips and fried, and the tree, which may reach 18 metres in height, was in past years valued as a good wood for building canoes.
Wi– Spondias dulcisThe oval-shaped, green-skinned fruit has a tangy taste, and is popular with the country’s Indian community as a pickled condiment, when, still green, tart and sour, it is cut into slices, sun dried, added to mustard seeds and oil, chillies and garlic and made into ‘archar’, a tasty accent to curry dishes
Dawa (Pometia pinnata)The fruits are green, yellow, or dark red up to 4 cm (1.6 in) long, each with one seed surrounded by a fleshy aril. This popular fruit is slightly larger than a longan, but its flesh is less watery and its shell is thicker.
Fei Banana (Musa troglogytarum)Can be distinguished by there have highly coloured sap, pink through to bright magenta and dark purple. The bracts of the flowering spike (inflorescence) are bright shiny green rather than dull red or purple. The flowering and fruiting stem is more or less upright (rather than drooping), so that the bunches of bananas are also upright. Ripe fruit has brilliant orange, copper-coloured or red skin with orange or yellow flesh inside.
Kavika (Syzygium malacensis)The fruit is oblong-shaped and dark red in color, although some varieties have white or pink skins. The flesh is white and surrounds a large seed. Its taste is bland but refreshing. Jam is prepared by stewing the flesh with brown sugar and ginger.
Molikana – Citrus maximaThe flowers are large and white and are succeeded by very large spheroid or almost pear-shaped fruits, which are lemon-yellow to green in colour and have a sweet flavour.
Vutukana (Barringtinia edulis)The fruits are oblong berries with persistent calyces, up to 10 cm (4 in) long, with densely matted short hairs, greyish-green, becoming reddish or purplish as they ripen.
Jakfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) Was originally imported from India, where it was said to be the “food of sages and philosophers”. The largest of all cultivated fruits (a Jakfruit can sometimes weigh 35kg), the fibrous core is not eaten, but the egg-shaped seeds, covered with juicy flesh, are a favorite in many Indo-Fijian curries and other culinary preparations, in addition the seeds are sometimes roasted and eaten like chestnuts.
Table: Tropical Fruits

Fiji’s Bananas


Lady Finger bananas
Lady Finger bananas | Image: Supplied
FruitDescription
Pink Banana Has bright pink inedible fruit that stand erect, unlike most bananas which droop. It is a fairly recent introduction in Fiji.
Lady fingersThese were introduced in the late nineteenth century and have become very popuar eating bananas, being short and plump – hence the name – thinskinned and easy to peel, and deliciously sweet.
Table: Types of Bananas in Fiji

Bananas are a tropical plant that has long been a mainstay of Fiji’s subsistence and economy. In botanical terms, bananas are a kind of ‘herb’, rather than a tree, their resemblance to palms being purely coincidental: the apparent trunk is composed of the layered bases of the leaves.

Bananas can grow to 9 meters in height and produce a striking deep red male flower (soba in Fijian), which hangs down in most species. The groups of female flyovers that follow eventually become the fruit. Since there are no seeds, bananas are propagated by means of offshoots from the base of the ‘mother’, known as ‘suckers’ (suli-na).

For many years during the early and mid-twentieth century eating bananas was a major export of Fiji, being regularly shipped to New Zealand, and provided the first source of monetary income for many Fijian villagers.  Apart from producing fruit, some bananas produce a fiber that has numerous uses:

  1. Forming the noose of mangrove lobster snares
  2. The sticky substance at the base of the trunk is used to bind together the components of the bait used in woven fish traps
  3. The leaves are used fresh as platters at traditional feasts and as covering for food being cooked in the earth oven, and heated to make them supple for use as containers for various cooked foods. When dry and withered (suluka), they are used as cigarette paper.
  4. The trunks are used for animal fodder, bound together as rafts, and also chopped up to provide a bed for food being cooked in the earth oven, to prevent it from being burned by direct contact with the hot stones.
Video: Walkabout – Seasonal Fruits in Fiji
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