One of the best things about visit a tropical island (other than the obvious sun, sea, sand and palm trees) is to try out the local delicacies and fresh local fruits.
The Seychelles like many other tropical destinations boasts an abundance of delicious fruit such as bananas, mangoes, pineapples, passionfruit and starfruit, but we also a few other fruits that you may not have heard about, let alone ever tried.
We covered one such fruit, the islands favourite “Breadfruit” in one of our blogs recently and you can read all about this versatile super-food right here: “Creole Recipes: Breadfruit”
This week we wanted to tell you all about another two quirky local fruits that we hope to feature in both our menus and delicious cocktails; Dragonfruit and Jackfruit.
Dragon fruit is the epitome of a tropical fruit with its vibrant pink and brilliant green exterior and seeded, white flesh interior. Interestingly the plant is actually a type of cactus which gives its waxy skin (which is not edible by the way).
Dragon fruit flesh is delicious, sweet and crunchy, with a flavour and texture somewhere between kiwi and pear. Perfect for the health conscious, this fruit is low in calories and offers and array of nutrients, including Vitamin C, phosphorus, and calcium, plus plenty of fibre and antioxidants.
To choose a ripe dragon fruit, look for bright, even-colored skin. Like an avocado, a dragonfruit should give a little when pressed with your thumb or fingers, but it shouldn’t feel too soft of mushy as this would mean it was passed its sell-by date.
Removing the flesh from the skin is quite simple. Slice the dragonfruit down the middle and run a tablespoon around the circumference of the sections to separate the flesh from the skin (a bit like an avocado). Turn the mound of flesh over and remove any residual pink flesh as this is not edible and then slice up however you wish to serve.
Whilst delicious and striking on its own or added to a fresh fruit salad, dragonfruit is super versatile and can be perfectly matched to both savoury and sweet menu options, as well blended into moorish fruity cocktails.
Here is an easy dragonfruit martini recipe that you can try at home;
Recipe from “The Spruce” (www.thespruce.com)
- 1 ripe dragon fruit
- 1/3 cup vodka
- 1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 2 to 3 Tbsp. white sugar, to taste
- 2-3 ice cubes
- 1/4 cup coconut milk (may be omitted – see note below*)
- garnishes: dragon fruit wedge, slice of lime or star fruit
- Prepare your dragon fruit by scooping out all of the flesh.
- Place dragon fruit flesh in blender or food processor. Add all other ingredients and blitz 20 to 30 seconds on high speed.
- Taste-test for desired strength and sweetness, adding more vodka if not strong enough, or more sugar if you’d prefer it sweeter (note that the sweetness will also depend on the ripeness of your dragon fruit – the riper it is, the sweeter it will taste). If too sweet for your taste, add another squeeze of lime juice. If too strong for your liking, add more coconut milk.
- Pour out into martini glasses and garnish with your choice of garnishes. ENJOY!
Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, weighing in anywhere from 5kg up to a whopping 45kg (so best not to sit directly under a jackfruit tree). The fruit is a greeny, yellow when ripe and smells, unappealingly, like rotten onions but don’t let the smell fool you, the yummy fleshy yellow bulbs inside smells like a cross between pineapple and banana – much more appealing and very tasty.
Jackfruit is considered a “miracle food” in many parts of the world as it’s a good source of protein, potassium, calcium, and iron. The jackfruit tree can easily grow up to 150 jackfruits in a year, with each fruit bearing anywhere between 100 to 500 fleshy seeds which can feed a lot of people.
The fruit can be a main meal and dessert all in one. It is commonly eaten ripe, when it is soft, fruity, and delicious, but can also be served unripe when it offers a startchy, potato-like texture. The seeds can also be roasted and eaten, or ground into flour which gives it infinite uses.
Shyamala Reddy, a biotechnology researcher at the University of Agriculture Sciences in Bangalore, India says that “It’s a miracle. It can provide so many nutrients and calories. If you just eat 10 or 12 bulbs of this fruit, you don’t need food for another half a day.”
Another very popular use for this miracle fruit is to incorporate it into a unique cocktails. Here is a super easy recipe to bring a tropical twist to a classic glass of champers or prosecco;
- 50 ml Jackfruit puree
- 100 ml Dry Prosecco
- Blend 500g of fresh jackfruit (seed removed) with caster sugar \until it becomes a puree. Add sugar to taste and water to dilute if puree becomes too thick.
- Combine Jackfruit puree and chilled prosecco in chilled champagne flute and gently stir