Tuesday, October 24, 2017
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Dominican super fruits - part 1


Dominican Super Fruits, CabareteThe Caribbean islands are world famous for beautiful fruits with loads of vitamins and amazing taste, and the Dominican Republic is no exception. To give you an idea of what is available and how these fruits can be beneficial to your health we’ve researched the first three entries of the Dominican super healthy fruit list.

 

 

Avocado is amazing in salads, on bread or as a side with some lemonAvocado (en) / Aguacate (es)
Outside of the Dominican Republic the avocado is mostly known as the main ingredient for yummy guacamole. Dominicans, however, use this beautiful green colored fruit (yes, it is a fruit not a vegetable) on salads or just eaten plain with a little lime and salt to accompany any meal. Or spread it on your sandwich for a tropical smooth touch.

Health benefits
Fats account for around three quarters of the calorie count of an avocado, but most of it is mono-unsaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid. Mono-unsaturated fat is considered to be a "good fat" which reduces levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease.

Research has further shown that there may be a number of other benefits associated with the fruit, including reducing the risk of diabetes, promoting lower body weight, and preventing cancer.

Avocados are also an excellent source of potassium (containing more per weight than bananas). In addition, the avocado is an excellent source of fiber and vitamins (K, B, C and E).

Season: July to April
The avocado comes from a hardy jungle tree that bears fruit twice a year. When this creamy, nutty flavored fruit is in season it can be found in abundance in every market, on the streets and in most restaurants.

How to pick a ripe one
The best way to tell if your avocado is ready to eat is by shaking it so you can hear the large seed inside rattling and the skin should have a slight softness to it.


Don't leave the Dominican Republic without having tried passion fruitPassion fruit (en) / Chinola (es)
The name says it all really! A tangy, wonderful tasting fruit that is so distinctive in flavor it can’t really be compared to anything else.

Once cut open the pulp is a yellowish – orange color and it is full of tiny seeds.  You can simply spoon all of this out to eat including the seeds which have a delightful exotic flavor. Add it to plain yoghurt and you’ve just created a tropical breakfast for champions! In the Dominican Republic it is often used in fruit juices and also a wonderful topping for ice cream.

Health benefits
Fresh passion fruit is high in beta carotene, potassium, and dietary fiber. Passion fruit juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and good for people who have high blood pressure. Some research shows that purple passion fruit peel may help with controlling asthma symptoms.

Season: the whole year
The passion fruit grows on a vine that clings on to the sunny side of trees; the three petaled leaves are poisonous.

How to pick a ripe one
When ripe the fruit is about the size of a tennis ball with a smooth yellow thick skin.  Wait for the skin to get wrinkly and the inside will taste even better.


Rehydrate with coconut waterCoconut (en) / Coco (es)
Although the coconut is not indigenous to the Dominican Republic, the coconut tree is the one tree everybody thinks of when the tropics are mentioned… lining beautiful white beaches with its leaves gently swaying in the trade wind breeze. The coconut palm tree was actually introduced by the Spaniards from Africa but since then has been growing steadily all over the island, even in the coastal regions where the soil can be very salty.

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The coconut oil derived from the ripened fruit is a hugely important and affordable base food all over the world. The white, fleshy part of the seed—the coconut meat—is edible and used fresh or dried in cooking. But the best way to have a coconut is to get a green coconut and drink the incredibly refreshing water that’s inside.

Health benefits of coconut water
Fresh coconut water is packed with simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish dehydration within the human body. Unlike WHO-Oral Rehydration Solution, coconut water is very low in sodium and chlorides, but rich in sugars and amino acids, so this well-balanced fluid composition, along with much-needed calories, would be the ideal drink to rectify dehydration conditions.

Coconut water is composed of many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase, RNA-polymerases etc., which help with digestion and metabolism.

Further research suggests that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water can have significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic (anti-clot formation) effects.

Coconuts grow all year roundSeason: all year round
The coconut palm is a year round plant and it takes about twelve to fourteen months for the coconut to ripen fully. After six months the fruit is fully grown, but the pulp still has to grow inside, and is perfect to harvest for coconut water. A good tree will produce about forty to fifty coconuts per year.


Where to buy fresh fruit in Cabarete
To buy great fresh seasonal fruit in Cabarete, look for the little fruit stand on the other side of the street from Gorditos, the Mexican food place on the main street. There are also other fruit and veggie outlets on the main street close to Blue Bar. Or get your fresh juice made in front of you at one of the many fruit juice stands of Cabarete.

When a particular fruit is very abundant you will also see people with wheel barrows walking around Cabarete trying to hawk that fruit. This happens a lot with avocadoes, mangoes and small sweet bananas.

 

Click here to continue reading the 2nd edition of Dominican Super Fruits.

Click here to continue reading the 3rd edition of Dominican Super Fruits.

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