By Annick Megie/ Image © Tchakayiti
A small square bowl with a red lid, a pack of my favourite salted crackers; a staircase, small talk punctuated with bursts of laughter; sounds of young girls playing in the background; a math exercise or another course explained to a fellow classmate…all while dipping those crackers in the bowl, before biting into them…
Such is the picture that comes to mind when I think of this fruit. I was a teen in high school and chadeque or apricot jam (get the recipe here!) had become my favourite and only breakfast before heading to class in the morning. Anyone who knows me knows I rarely ate breakfast. Yet, on the high school playground, I was known for my somewhat well organized morning pick me up meal. I was known for the exact meal described above: a small container of jam and crackers.
I was very fond of certain jams and the Caribbean apricot flavour was one of my favourites. For years, this preparation was the only way I consumed apricot, to such a point that I had never once stopped to wonder what the fruit actually tasted like on its own. Well at least, that was until I finally agreed to be adventurous and sample the “raw” thing.
“…I definitely mistakenly judged this fruit by its look. It turned out to be a great lesson that one must never judge a book by its cover.”
I am not sure who first introduced me to the natural apricot. I do however recall being reluctant to try it for some reason. I had been eating it cooked in sugar and sweet spices for so long that I had a hard time picturing it being eaten as is, especially given the look of the fruit. In my humble opinion, from the outside, a Caribbean apricot did not look appealing.
With its thick brownish outer skin, it was hard to picture this fruit having a likeable flavour. And boy, was I wrong. I definitely mistakenly judged this fruit by its look. It turned out to be a great lesson that one must never judge a book by its cover.
Indeed, the thick outer shell and slightly yellow membrane that protect the fruit hide a wonderful world of flavours that I was enchanted to finally discover once I set my apprehensions aside.
A slice of uncooked Caribbean apricot brings a mouthful of happiness. The bright orange pulp, which can be soft or firm depending on the ripeness of the fruit is sweet, yet mildly tangy and appetizing.
To the person who opened my palate to this world of delicately fruity apricot flavours, I say thank you. Today, this fruit is featured on my list of favorite fruits to just peel, slice and eat.
When I don’t eat it cooked as a jam, I personally love eating the thin slices of apricot right out of the fridge. Somehow, the flavours seem to come out even bolder after a few minutes in the fridge. I encourage you to give it a shot if you ever come visit us here in Haiti this time of the year as Caribbean apricots are in season in May. Careful though, if left in the cold too long, the fruit starts to lose its firmness and seems to become soggy.
I highly recommend eating it as soon as possible so as to enjoy the fruit at its best. Trust me, you will not regret it. I should actually warn you. You won’t stop eating the apricot until it’s all gone. You may even complain about the fruit being deceptively small.
That is how good a “raw” Caribbean apricot is!
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Does apricot grow in your part of the Caribbean? Do you like it? How do you prepare it? Do tell us all, in the comments below!