Uva de playa/Seagrape/La Coccoloba uvifera

The sea grape is native to Central and South America. It extends south as far as northern Peru and Brazil. The sea grape is now widely grown around the world in tropical and subtropical areas such as Hawaii, southern Florida, the Bahamas and Bermuda. In Puerto Rico and other Spanish-speaking areas, it is known as Uva de mar. The Latin name for the plant comes from the Greek words for berry and pod.

The sea grape is a large shrub or small tree that grows to a maximum of 25 feet high, although most plants are no higher than 6 or 7 feet. The round, green, leathery leaves are up to 10 inches in diameter with red midribs. The fruit, each about 1 inch in diameter, is borne in loose bunches of up 75 fruit per bunch. It turns from bright green to deep purple upon ripening and contains a large, fibrous pit surrounded by tart, purple flesh. The flowers are small, fragrant, and 5- pointed with flaring white petals. The female tree is the one that produces the grapes. When they are still forming, or immature, they will be hanging in grape form from the branches, but are green in color.

The grapes are edible raw right off the tree, but do not have a pleasant taste when fresh, however as tart as they are in the raw, they make absolutely fantastic jellies and jams as well, which are usually sold to tourists who visit the Caribbean. In addition to their edible qualities, the fruits are also used medicinally for various problems, particularly in Yucatan, Mexico. The juice is employed as a tonic, and is used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and digestive problems as well as venereal disease. You won’t see too many of these unless you live in a tropical area because the tree is unable to survive frost. However, it is moderately tolerant of shade, and highly tolerant of salt, so it is often planted to stabilize beach edges and prevent erosion; it is also planted as an ornamental shrub.

According to The Practical Encyclopedia of Feng Shui, plants with round, flexible leaves are used to promote calmness. When placed in the bedroom, the sea grape contributes to the flow of love energies, bringing them back around to the occupant – much like the symbolism of a wedding ring. In this way, the sea grape may be a better candidate than the more commonly used jade plant.

Sea Grape Jelly

1 quart sea grape juice
1 package of powdered pectin
5 tablespoons of lemon juice
5 cups of sugar

Preparing the juice
Wash sea grapes and measure. Put in fairly large, wide pot with half as much water (1 cup water to 2 cups sea grapes). Bring to a boil. Mash often with a potato masher and continue boiling until fruit is reduced to a soft pulp (about 25 to 30 minutes). Drain through a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Do not squeeze.

Place one quart juice in a wide kettle. Turn heat high and add lemon juice and pectin. Bring mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in sugar and return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Pour hot into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 5 minutes in boiling water bath.

About zoom50

“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease”
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5 Responses to Uva de playa/Seagrape/La Coccoloba uvifera

  1. akamonsoon says:

    Looks yummy. This plant is looking familiar to me. I think I may have seen this a few years back on a Caribbean island. Not sure which one though. We were on a cruise and there were several stops.

    • zoom50 says:

      so its probably the same fruit, Monsoon. Remember that sea grape is an inhabitant of the Caribbean Sea. This grape is tolerant to salt air and therefore, can grow well along the seashore. 😉

  2. Aussie Emjay says:

    Another really interesting and informative post. Thank you Zoom.

  3. galynn says:

    I need an answer to my problem. I found several extremely large pear-shaped thick skinned pods on my sea grape tree. How do I make it frow? Soil ? water? Is it only one seed or are there many seeds inside ?

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