Also known as Caimito or Cainito, this one of a kind fruit gets its name from the star-like design when sliced. In Jamaica it’s also known as the “mean fruit” as picking the apples from the tree with your bare hands is not quite the easy task – need to bring out the machete!
About the size of an apple, the inedible skin is glossy, smooth and leathery, and feels like a rubber ball when slightly squeezed in the palm of your hand. They come in two varieties – dark purple with light purplish to white pulp, and pale green with a milky white pulp.
The sweet pulp surrounds a translucent jelly where the seeds are enclosed. I like to enjoy mine with a spoon and try to avoid overeating (hard to do by the way), which may lead to constipation which is no fun at all.
Did You Know?
According to research published in the September 2009 edition of the “African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology”, star apples may be of particular benefit to individuals suffering from diabetes. The study indicates that the leaves of this fruit may reduce glucose levels in diabetic rabbits, the same function that insulin serves.
Here is what Dianne Onstad, author of Whole Foods Companion: A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers, and Lovers of Natural Foods, had to say:
“When opening a star apple, one should not allow any of the bitter latex of the skin to contact the edible flesh. Health Benefits: The ripe fruit, because of its mucilaginous character, is eaten to soothe inflammation in laryngitis and pneumonia. It is given as a treatment for diabetes mellitus and as a decoction is gargled to relieve angina. In Venezuela the slightly unripe fruits are eaten to overcome intestinal disturbances; however, in excess, they cause constipation.”
Originating in the West Indies and Central America, this fruit is rich in the following minerals and vitamins:
- Calcium (10% of our daily body requirement) needed for strong bones and teeth, and may lessen cramps and abdominal pains associated with premenstrual syndrome.
- Iron (5% of our daily body requirement) oxygenates the body.
- Vitamin B and C strengthens the immune system.
- Phosphorous (just as important as calcium) needed for good bone health.
- Magnesium (works synergistically with calcium) needed for blood sugar regulation, and as a nerve and muscle relaxant.
How To Use
Although not commonly available in grocery stores and supermarkets, if you do happen to cross paths, whether on your travels to central America, south-east Asia, or just to your shop around the corner, do pick up a few to try.
I personally love the fruit just on its own but you can also try scooping out the flesh, adding some almond milk (or milk of your choice), and a bit of honey to taste (optional). Enjoy!
Yours in health,
Martine Chin ~ holistic nutritionista
Natural News Naturalpedia www.NaturalPedia.com
Onstad, D. Whole Foods Companion: A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers, and Lovers of Natural Foods