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Sea grape

 

Botanical name: Coccoloba uvifera


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The sea grape is native to the Caribbean. Since it is not sensitive to sand and wind it is planted today mostly on tropical coasts.

 

Appearance, taste, characteristics

The sea grape grows on a shrub or a multi-stemmed tree that is up to 15 m tall, wide and sprawling. Its evergreen, leathery and very sturdy leaves are round to kidney-shaped. As they begin to grow they are red, owing to the formation of anthocyanins. These are plant dyes that can cause red, purple, blue or blue-black colouring.

The blossoms are yellow-white and grow on ca. 20-cm-long, hanging inflorescences, or clusters. Some trees carry only male, others only female blossoms. The latter develop fruits.
Sea grapes grow on vines, similar to wine grapes. At the beginning they are green and as they ripen they turn reddish-purple. The fruits are sour and somewhat tart.

 

Ingredients

One hundred grams of sea grapes contain 17 mg of vitamin C. Because of their high pectin content they are suitable for making jam and jelly, as pectin has a gelling effect.

 

Presumed effect on health

A decoction made of cooked roots and bark can be used as a remedy for diarrhoea.

 

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Owing to their particularly sour, tart flavour fresh sea grapes are not very popular. However, the fruits are used to make jam, jelly, wine and juice. The red juice is also used in dyeing and tanning.

 

 

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