Thursday, April 21, 2011



The jaboticaba is a very cool fruit. Sure, it looks like grapes there, but look at this photo from Wikipedia:

See, the fruits grow directly on the trunk of the tree. And although the skin is thick and slightly tannic like a slipskin grape (fox, Concord, muscadine), the inside is soft and custardy, and similar to lychee or mangosteen in flavor. The seed is soft, a little bitter, a little mealy - certainly something you can eat if you want, and that's not going to break any fillings.

When eaten whole, the fruit is somewhat grape-like in flavor - the skin tarter and more tannic than the sweet innards, everything kind of balancing out. Alternately you can pop the innards into your mouth for something more tropical-tasting. You can see the innards in some of the burst fruit here, before I washed and sorted them:


The skins can be dried and used to make tea - it's not bad, though not very strong flavored unless you use a lot of them, or maybe I should be boiling the skins instead of just steeping them.

The fruit starts to ferment pretty quickly, even in the refrigerator - this is why there's been no attempt to sell jaboticaba on a wide scale in the US. (That, and the trees grow slowly, so it's a long time before you get a useful amount of fruit from them.) In fact, when I tried to candy some of the fruits using the usual method - soaking them in a sugar syrup and increasing the concentration of sugar every day while the fruit absorbs it - I wound up instead with a container full of slightly carbonated jaboticaba wine.

So with the candying failed, what did I do with these other than just eat them? Jjam and Jgin, of course.

Jaboticaba jam, jaboticaba gin

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