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#125590 - 08/01/06 11:51 PM Sea Grape, a distinctive tree  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,679
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
from Wendy Auxillou....

Its sea grape season....... my favorite island fruit. Nothing tastes as delicious as the fabulous Caye Caulker sea grape..... except maybe sea grape vinegar.... and/or sea grape wine...

Sea Grape distinctive tree
Sunday 30th July, 2006 Posted: 22:45 CIT (03:45 +1 GMT)

The Sea Grape tree is native to West Indies, the eastern coasts of Central America and the Northeastern coasts of South America.

It can reach up to 30 feet (10 m) tall, but is generally smaller, as it often grows in coastal areas where winds tend to suppress the size of the tree. The sea grape has large rounded leaves and clusters of edible fruits.

On a hot day the leaves make an ideal fan; they are very tough and don’t mind sandy soil and salt spray!

They are mostly found growing along the seaside and benefit from the light reflected from the water.

While walking along the sea, look for the fruits that are now clustered on these beautiful trees. The flesh is edible, and contains a single seed. This fruit is generally eaten raw, but can also be processed into jellies or drinks. They remain green and hard for a long time but eventually change to their mature deep purple colour.The following is taken from Wild Trees in the Cayman Islands by Fred Burton, with illustrations by Penny Clifford.

Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera)

The Sea Grape is an unmistakable tree, conspicuous for its large circular leaves with red veins. It has pale grey bark which sheds woody flakes to reveal rich orange–brown patches beneath.

This is a tree characteristic of sandy beach ridges, where Sea Grape forms dense thickets stunted near the vegetation line by wind and salt spray.

In deep shade beneath the tree canopy, the trunks grow almost bare of leaves, branching from ground level and spreading in all directions in complex but beautiful tangles.

The ground is always densely carpeted with fallen Sea Grape leaves: a dry Sea Grape leaf makes a good sail for a toy boat built from Red Birch wood.

The conspicuous flower spikes are pale yellow, and the clusters of edible “grapes” turn from green to purple when ripe. They are still eaten and used to make Sea Grape jelly, and are also a popular food for parrots and other birds, as well as the Rock Iguanas on Little Cayman. Oral history suggests some of the larger Sea Grape trees in Cayman must be at least 150 years old.

Sea Grape is still abundant on coasts of all three of the Cayman Islands, though most Sea Grape thickets are now very fragmented by clearing for coastal housing and hotels. This tree grows throughout the islands and on the mainland coast of the Caribbean.

It can be propagated by cuttings, air layering or from seed, and if given plenty of water and good soil, it will grow reasonably fast.

#125591 - 08/02/06 01:56 AM Re: Sea Grape, a distinctive tree  
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 379
lacysisland Offline
lacysisland  Offline
Marty, you say you love the sea grape, do you like to eat it off the trees or let it furment in a jar better?I love wine, and if we can make a tasty one off sea grapes, I think we have something!!Just Curious!!

#125592 - 08/02/06 04:12 PM Re: Sea Grape, a distinctive tree  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,366
deacon+ Offline
deacon+  Offline
Where can you buy the wine and jellies? Are they sold over the net?

#125593 - 08/02/06 04:35 PM Re: Sea Grape, a distinctive tree  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,436
Short Offline
Short  Offline
Still got some homemade Sea Grape wine (2005), and love it... not for sale though.
You can also eat them of the trees; sweet! - little pulp and big seed though.

Live and let live
#125594 - 08/02/06 04:44 PM Re: Sea Grape, a distinctive tree  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,366
deacon+ Offline
deacon+  Offline
Short, you have a recipe I could use?

#125595 - 08/02/06 07:24 PM Re: Sea Grape, a distinctive tree  
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 723
SFJeff Offline
SFJeff  Offline
We're serving a sea grape mojito here at the bar... pretty darn refreshing drink!!!! Tons of them ripe right now!!!

#125596 - 08/02/06 07:27 PM Re: Sea Grape, a distinctive tree  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,366
deacon+ Offline
deacon+  Offline
What do they taste like?

#125597 - 08/02/06 07:36 PM Re: Sea Grape, a distinctive tree  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,436
Short Offline
Short  Offline
Originally posted by deacon+:
Short, you have a recipe I could use?
Secret of course, but I'll pm you the recipe later this evening.

Live and let live
#125598 - 08/02/06 09:17 PM Re: Sea Grape, a distinctive tree  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,366
deacon+ Offline
deacon+  Offline
Cool.very cool.

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