It’s just so amazing how Mother Nature provides us with natural sources of edible fruits and plants. Just so remarkable how things like that happen; it’s really a mystery to me. Just take a look at this beautiful tree, Oh my lord, isn’t this a gorgeous tree? Definitely! That’s what I thought, when I saw this. I just wish I could get this fruit locally grown all year around here.
Myrciaria cauliflora is one of the most popular native fruit of Brazil. This is a slow-growing rather bushy tree up to 15 ft tall, often multi-stemmed with opposite small leaves. The larger trunks and branches have bark which peels off in small patches which is found to be very attractive. The tree is evergreen, but once or twice during the year it will shed large numbers of leaves generally corresponding to heavy rains. Small white flowers are produced along the larger trunks and branches (“cauliflora” means “flowers growing on trunk”). Fruit development is very rapid, usually taking only 20-25 days from flower to full maturity.
The fruit forms on the trunks on short stems, with 2-3 fruits sometimes in a cluster. When trees are in heavy fruit, you cannot see the branches for all the large numbers of dark purplish-black fruits that look like large grapes. They have a white pulp with several small seeds. The word “jaboticaba” is said to have been derived from the Tupi term, Jabotim, for turtle, and means “like turtle fat”, presumably referring to the fruit pulp. An early “hearsay” account of the Jaboticabas of Brazil was published in Amsterdam in 1658. The Jaboticaba was introduced into California (at Santa Barbara) about 1904. A few of the trees were still living in 1912 but all were gone by 1939. In 1908, Brazil’s National Society of Agriculture sent to the United States Department of Agriculture plants of 3 varieties, ‘Coroa’, ‘Murta’, and ‘Paulista’. The first 2 died soon but ‘Paulista’ lived until 1917. A Dr. W. Hentz bought 6 small inarched plants in Rio Janeiro in 1911 and planted them in City Point, Brevard County, Florida. Only one, variety ‘Murta’, survived and he moved it to Winter Haven in 1918. It began fruiting in 1932 and continued to bear in great abundance.
Jaboticabas are mostly eaten out-of-hand in South America. The plant explorers, Dorsett, Shamel and Popenoe, wrote that children in Brazil spend hours “searching out and devouring the ripe fruits.” Boys swallow the seeds with the pulp, but, properly, the seeds should be discarded. The fruits are often used for making jelly and marmalade, with the addition of pectin. It has been recommended that the skin be removed from at least half the fruits to avoid a strong tannin flavor. In view of the undesirability of tannin in the diet, it would be better to peel most of them. The same should apply to the preparation of juice for beverage purposes, fresh or fermented. The aborigines made wine of the Jaboticabas, and wine is still made to a limited extent in Brazil. (Source: hort.purdue.edu)
So to you dear readers, here are two wonderful fabulous exceptional recipes. Cin-Cin!
½ teaspoon (tablespoons) butter
300 grams of puff pastry
Egg for brushing
A glass of wine
1 / 2 juice of a lemon
Open with a roll the dough on a floured area and cut into small squares. Spread a little jam Jabuticaba between them. Repeat this until you finish the ingredients. In the end, pass the beaten egg over each piece. Grease a baking dish with butter, flour and pass the squares. Bake in moderate oven, preheated for about 35 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with sugar and serve and, if desired, fill with more jelly.
Place in a pan with Jabuticabas 2 inch of water and boil. Soon after strain and the same amount of liquid that place, add the sugar and boil it in another pot for about 60 minutes. Soon after the lemon and add the wine.
1 kg Jaboticaba
700 grams sugar
Water in quantity enough to cover the Jabuticabas
Place the fruit in a large saucepan, cover with water and simmer for about 40 minutes. When the fruits become shriveled and blackened liquid, strain without squeezing the jaboticaba. Replace the liquid in the pan, mix sugar with a wooden spoon until it falls apart completely and leave, uncovered, over low heat for about 20 minutes. Just go back to tinker with when the jelly is firm, with bubbles bursting, not to grab the pot.