Mamey Fruit Jamaican Food, learn how to prepare this Jamaican fruit.
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Mamey Fruit Jamaican Food

How To Use The Mamey Fruit In Jamaican Recipes

The Jamaican mamey is a tropical Jamaican mamey tree that grows across the island. The Jamaican mamey is found in several countries, growing up to 75 feet tall with dense foliage and leathery; oblong, evergreen Jamaican mamey leaves. The Jamaican mamey flowers are fragrant and white and the Jamaican mamey flowers are male, female and hermaphrodite Jamaican mamey flowers, together or on separate Jamaican mamey trees. The edible, nearly round, Jamaican mamey fruits are large (up to 7 lbs), light brown with a thick grayish - brown Jamaican mamey skin. The orange Jamaican mamey fruit - pulp tastes delicious, somewhat like mango. The Jamaican mamey fruits have up to 4 brown avoid Jamaican mamey seeds. The Jamaican mamey is mainly used in the treatment of parasitic Jamaican mamey skin disease.

The Jamaican mamey trees need to be protected from frost or Jamaican mamey planted in frost free areas, since temperatures drop below 28F will probably damage the Jamaican mamey plant severely. The Jamaican mamey fruit is Round, brown Jamaican mamey fruit, usually 4-8" in diameter, with a deep orange flesh that is quite fragrant and in better varieties has a flavor akin to an apricot or berry. The pulp is often eaten fresh out of hand, or used in dishes such as salads. The flesh is also boiled or cooked, often with sugar, cream and/or wine to enhance flavor. Jamaican mamey fruits are also used in ice creams, drinks, preserves and other dessert concoctions.

A medium to large sized Jamaican mamey tree will sometimes grow up to 75ft high. The Jamaican mamey is tropical and does not fare well in cold temperatures, surviving only a couple of degrees below freezing without major damage. Jamaican mameys should be protected from prolonged cool or cold temperatures. Its soil requirements are few, and Jamaican mamey trees often grow in a variety of soil types and depths. The Jamaican mamey fruit is propagated usually by Jamaican mamey seeds, which take up to 2 months to germinate. Jamaican mamey seedling Jamaican mamey trees bear in 6-10 years. Cuttings and grafting are occasionally employed. It is thought that the Jamaican mamey is native to the Caribbean, Central America and Northern South America. The Jamaican mamey is occasionally cultivated in these regions but is a very common dooryard Jamaican mamey tree. The Jamaican mamey is generally unknown throughout the rest of the world.

The Jamaican mamey tree, handsome and greatly resembling the southern magnolia, reaches 60 to 70 ft (18-21 m) in height, has a short Jamaican mamey trunk which may attain 3 or 4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) in diameter, and ascending branches forming an erect, oval head, densely foliaged with evergreen, opposite, glossy, leathery, dark-green, broadly elliptic Jamaican mamey leaves, up to 8 in (20 cm) long and 4 in (10 cm) wide. The fragrant Jamaican mamey flowers, with 4 to 6 white petals and with orange stamens or pistils or both, are 1 to 1 1/2 in (2.5-4 cm) wide when fully open and borne singly or in groups of 2 or 3 on short stalks. They appear during and after the Jamaican mamey fruiting season: male, female and hermaphrodite together or on separate Jamaican mamey trees.

The Jamaican mamey fruit, nearly round or somewhat irregular, with a short, thick stem and a more or less distinct tip or merely a bristle-like floral remnant at the apex, ranges from 4 to 8 in (10-20 cm) in diameter, is heavy and hard until fully ripe when the Jamaican mamey softens slightly. The Jamaican mamey skin is light-brown or grayish-brown with small, scattered, warty or scurfy areas, leathery, about 1/8 in (3 mm) thick and bitter. Beneath the Jamaican mamey, a thin, dry, whitish membrane, or "rag", astringent and often bitter, adheres to the flesh. The latter is light- or golden-yellow to orange, non-fibrous, varies from firm and crisp and sometimes dry to tender, melting and juicy. The Jamaican mamey is more or less free from the Jamaican mamey seed though bits of the Jamaican mamey seed-covering, which may be bitter, usually adhere to the immediately surrounding wall of flesh. The ripe flesh is appetizingly fragrant and, in the best varieties, pleasantly sub-acid, resembling the apricot or red raspberry in flavor.

Jamaican mamey fruits of poor quality may be too sour or mawkishly sweet. Small Jamaican mamey fruits are usually single-Jamaican mamey seeded; larger Jamaican mamey fruits may have 2, 3 or 4 Jamaican mamey seeds. The Jamaican mamey seed is russet-brown, rough, ovoid or ellipsoid and about 2 1/2 in (6.25 cm) long. The juice of the Jamaican mamey seed Jamaican mamey leaves an indelible stain.

The Jamaican mamey is native to the West Indies and northern South America. The Jamaican mamey was recorded as growing in Panama, in 1514, and in 1529 was included by Oviedo in his review of the Jamaican mamey fruits of the New World. The Jamaican mamey has been nurtured as a specimen in English greenhouses since 1735. The Jamaican mamey grows well in Bermuda and is quite commonly cultivated in the Bahamas Islands and Jamaica. In St. Croix the Jamaican mamey is spontaneous along the roadsides where Jamaican mamey seeds have been tossed. In southern Mexico and Central America, the Jamaican mamey is sparingly grown except in the lowlands of Costa Rica, El Salvador and in Jamaica where the Jamaican mamey may be seen Jamaican mamey planted as a windbreak and ornamental shade Jamaican mamey tree along city streets, and is frequently grown for its Jamaican mamey fruit on the plains and foothills of the country.

On the pacific coast cultivation is scattered in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam and French Guiana, Jamaica and northern Brazil. Introduced into the tropics of the Old World, the Jamaican mamey is of very limited occurrence in West Africa (particularly Sierra Leone), Zanzibar, southeastern Asia, Java, the Philippines, and Hawaii. All Jamaican mamey seedlings Jamaican mamey planted in Israel have died in the first or second year. From time to time, Jamaican mamey seedlings have been Jamaican mamey planted in California, but most have succumbed the first winter.

The Jamaican mamey may have been brought to Florida first from the Bahamas, but the United States Department of Agriculture received Jamaican mamey seeds from Ecuador in 1919. One of the largest Jamaican mamey fruiting specimens in Florida standing on a site formerly part of an early nursery, and thought to be over 60 years of age. Another, as old or older, on a private estate in Palm Beach, was Jamaican mamey fruiting heavily before 1940. The most northerly reached 30 feet (9 m) and Jamaican mamey fruited, but was killed by lightning about 1956. There was a 35-foot (10.5 m) Jamaican mamey fruiting Jamaican mamey tree, its Jamaican mamey trunk at least 20 in (50 cm) thick, but the Jamaican mamey was removed after severe hurricane damage in 1960 and replaced by a young one. A number of Jamaican mamey fruiting Jamaican mamey trees on private property in Jamaica have been destroyed to make room for construction. Numerous Jamaican mamey seedlings from a large Jamaican mamey tree but most apparently fail to survive the winter in the hands of new owners Many Jamaican mamey seeds were Jamaican mamey planted as nursery stock that offered grafted Jamaican mamey plants for sale from 1953 to 1956 and then, discouraged by winter-killing, gave remaining Jamaican mamey plants to a garden club, however the severe winter eliminated most of these. The Jamaican mamey is limited to tropical or near-tropical climates. In Central America, the Jamaican mamey thrives from near sea-level to 3,300 ft (1,000 m). Three Jamaican mamey trees at the Agricultural Research and Education Center, Homestead, in southern Florida, were killed by a temperature drop to 28 F (-2.22 C) in January 1940.

The Jamaican mamey tree favors deep, rich, well-drained soil, but is apparently quite adaptable to even shallow, sandy terrain, and the Jamaican mamey grows naturally in limestone areas of Jamaica, also does well in the oolitic limestone of the Bahamas and central Jamaica.

Jamaican mamey seeds are the usual means of dissemination and they germinate in 2 months or less and sprout readily in Jamaican mamey leaf-mulch under the Jamaican mamey tree. Jamaican mamey seedlings bear in 6 to 8 years in Mexico, 8 to 10 years in the Bahamas. Vegetative propagation is preferable to avoid disappointment in raising male Jamaican mamey trees and to achieve earlier Jamaican mamey fruiting. In English greenhouse culture, half-ripe cuttings with lower Jamaican mamey leaves attached are employed. Both Robert Newcomb and Albert Caves of Palm Lodge Tropical Grove, Homestead, successfully grafted the Jamaican mamey onto self-Jamaican mamey seedlings.

The Jamaican mamey generally receives little or no cultural attention, apart from protection from cold during the first few winters in other than strictly tropical climates. The Jamaican mamey seems remarkably resistant to pests and diseases.

In Barbados, the Jamaican mamey fruits begin to ripen in April and continue for several weeks. The season extends from May through July in Jamaica, some Jamaican mamey fruits being offered in the Nassau, Bahamas native market and on roadside stands. In southern Florida, Jamaican mameys ripen from late June through July and August. In Puerto Rico, some Jamaican mamey trees produce two Jamaican mamey crops a year. Central Colombia has two Jamaican mamey crops occurring in June and December.

Ripeness may be indicated by a slight yellowing of the Jamaican mamey skin or, if this is not apparent, one can scratch the surface very lightly with a fingernail. If green beneath, the Jamaican mamey fruit should not be picked, but, if yellow, the Jamaican mamey is fully mature. If Jamaican mamey fruits are allowed to fall when ripe, they will bruise and spoil. They should be clipped, leaving a small portion of stem attached.

The productivity of individual Jamaican mamey trees varies considerably. In Jamaica, high-yielding Jamaican mamey trees may bear 150 to 200 Jamaican mamey fruits per Jamaican mamey crop, totaling 300 to 400 Jamaican mamey fruits per year. To facilitate peeling, the Jamaican mamey skin is scored from the stem to the apex and removed in strips. The rag must be thoroughly scraped from the flesh which is then cut off in slices, leaving any part which may adhere to the Jamaican mamey seed, and trimming off any particles of Jamaican mamey seed-covering from the roughened inner surface of the flesh.

The flesh of tender varieties is delicious raw, either plain, in Jamaican mamey fruit salads, or served with cream and sugar or wine. In Jamaica, the Jamaican mamey may be steeped in wine and sugar for a while prior to eating. In the Bahamas, some prefer to let the flesh stand in lightly salted water "to remove the bitterness" before cooking with much sugar to a jam-like consistency. I have often stewed the flesh, without pretreatment, adding a little sugar and possibly a dash of lime or lemon juice. Once, some of the pulp, stewed without citrus juice, was left in a covered plastic container in a refrigerator for one month. At the end of this time, there was no loss of flavor, no fermentation or other evidence of spoilage; and the Jamaican mamey fruit was eaten with no ill effect. In this connection, the Jamaican mamey is interesting to note that an antibiotic principle in the Jamaican mamey was reported by the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1951.

Sliced Jamaican mamey flesh may also be cooked in pies or tarts, and may be seasoned with cinnamon or ginger. Canned, sliced Jamaican mamey has in the past been exported from Cuba. The Jamaican mamey is widely made into preserves such as spiced marmalade and pastes (resembling guava paste) and used as filler for products made of other Jamaican mamey fruits. Slightly under-ripe Jamaican mamey fruits, rich in pectin, are made into jelly. Wine is made from the Jamaican mamey fruit and fermented "toddy" from the sap of the Jamaican mamey tree in Jamaica.

In Jamaica, the uncooked flesh, blended with sugar, is made into frozen sherbet. The juice or syrup of stewed flesh, is seasoned with sugar and lemon juice to make lemonade. When cooking the flesh for any purpose, one is advised to skim off any foam that forms on the surface of the water, as this is usually bitter. The pulp has only 45 calories and has protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, ash, calcium, phosphorus, iron, Vitamin A & B, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid and amino acids.

Rural folk in the Dominican Republic have some doubt of the wholesomeness of Jamaican mamey flesh. To people with weak stomachs, the Jamaican mamey is said to be more delicious than healthful." The Bahamian practice of soaking the pulp in salted water may be a safety precaution inasmuch as bitterness is not only disliked but distrusted. The old Jamaican custom of steeping in wine might also be considered a safeguard. Although the Jamaican mamey fruit is widely eaten, the Jamaican mamey is recommended that only moderate amounts be consumed. A former Spanish professor at the University of Miami related that he ate half of a large Jamaican mamey from a Jamaican mamey tree in his home yard, after peeling and scraping off the rag but not removing any adherent Jamaican mamey seed-covering. Then he ate the pulp of one star apple. An hour later, he had stomach cramps and, later, his abdomen was reddened and oddly reticulated. He attributed this reaction to the Jamaican mamey and was convinced there was "something poisonous about the Jamaican mamey.

While the delicious Jamaican mamey has formed part of the diet of the inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands for many generations, the Jamaican mamey is well known that this Jamaican mamey fruit produces discomfort, especially in the digestive system, in some persons. A concentrated extract of the fresh Jamaican mamey fruit" proved fatally toxic to guinea pigs, and was also found poisonous to dogs and cats. The extract was made from the edible portion only. The Jamaican mamey is likened to the ackee (Blighia sapida), as a human hazard and reports of poisoning in humans are known.

Various parts of the Jamaican mamey tree contain toxic properties has been long recognized and was first reported in 1864. A Colombian decoction of Jamaican mamey resin was displayed at the Paris Exposition in 1867. The Jamaican mamey is significant that in the United States Department of Agriculture's record of Jamaican mamey seed introduction from Ecuador in 1919; only the insecticidal and medicinal uses of the species were noted. There was no comment on edible uses of the Jamaican mamey fruit.

In Puerto Rico, there, is a time-honored practice of wrapping a Jamaican mamey leaf like a collar around young tomato Jamaican mamey plants when setting them in the ground to protect them from mole crickets and cutworms. The Jamaican mamey leaf must be placed at just the right height, half above ground and half below.

In Mexico and Jamaica, the thick, yellow gum from the Jamaican mamey bark is melted with fat and applied to the feet to combat chiggers and used to rid animals of fleas and ticks. A greenish-yellow, gummy resin from the Jamaican mamey skin of immature Jamaican mamey fruits, and an infusion of half-ripe Jamaican mamey fruits are similarly employed. The Jamaican mamey bark is strongly astringent and a decoction is effective against chiggers. In Jamaica, a paste made of the ground Jamaican mamey seeds is used against poultry lice, mites and head lice. In the Dominican Republic, Jamaican mamey seeds, avocado Jamaican mamey seeds, and Zamia Jamaican mamey seeds fried in oil, are mashed and applied to the head as a "therapeutic shampoo", probably to eliminate lice.

At the Federal Experiment Station in Puerto Rico, the insecticidal activity of various parts of the Jamaican mamey tree and the Jamaican mamey fruit has been under active investigation. The Jamaican mamey seed kernel, most potent, was found, in feeding experiments and when tested as a contact poison applied as a dust or spray, to be effective in varying degree against armyworms, melon worms, cockroaches, ants, dry wood termites, mosquitoes and their larvae, flies, larvae of diamond-back moth, and aphids. In certain tests, Jamaican mamey seeds appeared to be 1/5 as toxic as pyrethrum and less toxic to Jamaican mamey plant pests than nicotine sulfate and DDT. When powdered Jamaican mamey seeds and sliced unripe Jamaican mamey fruit infusions, 1 lb (0.45 kg) in a gallon (3.78 liters) of water, were tested on dogs, both products were as effective as DDT and faster in killing fleas and ticks but not as long-lasting in regard to re-infestation. None of the dogs was poisoned despite the presence of healing sores and minor abrasions of the Jamaican mamey skin, but, after similar trials on mice, 4 out of 70 died. The active ingredients of the infusion are the resin from the unripe Jamaican mamey skin and the developing Jamaican mamey seeds. In Jamaica, animals with mange or cow ticks are washed with a decoction made by boiling the Jamaican mamey seed but, in one instance, a dog with mange and ulcers died 48 hours after two applications.

The dried and powdered immature Jamaican mamey fruit, the Jamaican mamey bark, wood, Jamaican mamey roots and Jamaican mamey flowers have shown poor insecticidal activity; the Jamaican mamey seed hulls appeared inert. The powdered Jamaican mamey leaves were found 59% effective against fall armyworms and 75% against the melon worm. Various extracts from the Jamaican mamey fruit, Jamaican mamey bark, Jamaican mamey leaves or Jamaican mamey roots are toxic to webbing clothes moths, black carpet beetle larvae and also to milkweed bugs.

In fish-poisoning experiments Jamaican mamey seed extracts to be 1/30 as toxic as rotenone; 1/60 to 1/80 as potent as powdered dried derris Jamaican mamey root. Feeding trails have shown the Jamaican mamey seeds to be very toxic to chicks and they are considered a hazard to hogs in Jamaica. The crude resinous extract from powdered Jamaican mamey seeds, given orally, has produced symptoms of poisoning in dogs and cats and a dose of 200 mg per km weight has caused death in guinea pigs within 8 hours. The crystalline insecticidal principle from the dried and ground Jamaican mamey seeds, potent even after several months of storage, has been named mammies and assigned the formula C22H28O5. The stability of this principle was demonstrated by M.P. Morris who found no significant difference in toxicity of powdered fresh Jamaican mamey fruit and Jamaican mamey powder stored for 6 years in steel drums. Neither was the potency of Jamaican mamey extract destroyed by subjection to 392 F (200 C).

Extensive chemical experiments with the extracted compound found that the Jamaican mamey a potential substitute for pyrethrum and rotenone.

The main constituent of a wax isolated from the Jamaican mamey seed oil is the symmetrical C48 homolog, tetracosanyl tetracosanoate. In Jamaica, the Jamaican mamey tree is protected because the Jamaican mamey fruit is valued. Elsewhere, if the Jamaican mamey is common, the Jamaican mamey may be felled for its timber. The heartwood is reddish- or purple-brown; the sapwood much lighter in color. The wood is heavy, hard, but not difficult to work, fine-grained and strong; has an attractive grain and polishes well. The Jamaican mamey is useful in cabinetwork, valued for pillars, rafters, decorative features of fine houses, interior sheathing, and turnery and for fencepost since the Jamaican mamey is fairly decay-resistant. The Jamaican mamey is, however, highly susceptible to termites. Some of the wood is consumed as fuel. The tannin from the Jamaican mamey bark is sometimes used for home treatment of leather in the Virgin Islands.

In Venezuela, the powdered Jamaican mamey seeds are employed in the treatment of parasitic Jamaican mamey skin diseases. In Brazil, the ground Jamaican mamey seeds, minus the embryo, which is considered convulsant, are stirred into hot water and the infusion employed as an anthelmintic for adults only. In the French West Indies, an aromatic liqueur called Eau de Creole, or Crme de Creole, is distilled from the Jamaican mamey flowers and said to act as a tonic or digestive. An infusion of the fresh or dry Jamaican mamey leaves (one handful in a pint [0.47 liter] of water) is given by the cupful over a period of several days in cases of intermittent fever and the Jamaican mamey is claimed to have been effective where quinine has failed.

The Jamaican mamey tree is more widely grown in Jamaica than anywhere else in the Caribbean. The Jamaican mamey fruit is a favorite of Jamaicans island-wide who like to feast on the Jamaican mamey pulp.

So lets review:

        Jamaican mamey is grown across the world but commercially in North America and Central.

        The Jamaican mamey fruit was brought to Jamaica in the early 1800s.

        Many of the Jamaican recipes using Jamaican mamey were derived from slave laborers.

        The Jamaican mamey fruit has several great nutriments and vitamins.

        Island Oven has over 20 recipes using the Jamaican mamey fruit documented.

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