As I write this post, the dotted red line (signalling spelling error) under the word guinep plagues my page. Even as you are reading this, I can see you struggling with the pronunciation. Guinea-nip? Gui-nep? Guin-ep? This confusing, exotic fruit from my childhood is the ‘ketch’ of the week.
Name and Pronunciation: Pronounced (at least in the Caribbean) as guin-ip – with a ‘soft’ g – like gym. I think I must’ve spent a good 10 minutes trying to think of the best way to sound the word out. Thankfully, you can just click here to listen to an audio clip. Pronunciation definitely varies throughout the Caribbean, as well as the name of the actual fruit. It also goes by ‘Spanish Lime,’Quenepa, or Mamoncillo.
What it is: Consulting the ‘Encyclopedia of Fruits and Nuts’ (because for the life of me, I have no idea what I am eating), these tiny, round fruit are “around 3cm in diameter” and grow in bunches on trees. This is a popular ‘snacking’ fruit is “grown in West Indies, as well as Central and South America.”
How to eat: Guinep is mostly a snacking fruit. It often reminds me of lychee, in terms of both size and eating procedure. The outside of the fruit is covered by a smooth but textured thin green rind. Once the rind is peeled an almost ‘salmon-coloured’ flesh is revealed. You would then pop the fruit in your mouth and began to suck the flesh and pulp (don’t bite down!). Once you have ‘sucked’ the pulp, you are left with an obnoxiously large seed that is usually thrown out (see picture below for comparison on flesh vs. seed).
How does it taste: It’s sweet and tangy at the same time. Undoubtedly its flavour is unique but it often reminds me of the sort of tangy-sweet you would find in a kiwi. Depending on the batch you get, it can either be more on the sweet side or more tangy/citrusy. When sucking the fruit, the pulp often coats your tongue which may be a turnoff to some people. Otherwise, it’s delicious if you don’t want a super sweet fruit!
Where do I find it: Aside from a West Indian grocer, I’ve seen this fruit all the time in Asian Supermarkets in Toronto (T&T), as well as around China Town. Usually sold in bunches, it’s usually a hit or miss on if the fruit is good or bad, as the rind isn’t a good indicator. However, if the grocer is nice they’ll let you try one from the bunch to make sure its a good purchase!
Recipe of the week: Again, guinep is mostly a snacking fruit as it is very tedious to separate flesh from seed. However in the island guinep is often used to make a drink. I found a great recipe online if you are feeling adventurous – and it seems quite straight forward! Click here for more info.