Unique Fruits of the Caribbean

Many fruits which are eaten in America have their roots in the Caribbean. Not too long along, fruits such as mango, papaya, passion fruit, and guava were nearly impossible to find in the produce section; now they are eaten in every state from Maine to California. Even though the American palate has become accustomed to many types of fruit which had their origins in the Caribbean, there are still many more types of fruit to discover. Here are some types of fruit which are native to the Caribbean, but practically unheard of in America.

Ugli fruit

This Jamaican fruit is becoming increasingly popular in America. An ugli fruit is a hybrid; part tangerine and part grapefruit, the ugli fruit is sweeter than a grapefruit and contains less seeds. The tropical climate of Jamaica makes it an ideal location to grow this fruit, and it won’t be long until ugli fruit growers start springing up in America’s citrus states.


Also known as naseberry, sapodilla, or sapoti, dilly is the fruit of a tropical evergreen tree. The fruit from this tree is very sweet and resembles a potato. The flesh of the dilly or naseberry is similar to that of a pear. In Cuba and the Dominican Republic, this fruit is known as the nipero.


This fruit, which is related to the lychee fruit found in Asia, goes by many different names. It is also known as guaya, chenet, guinep, and quenepa. The fruit is tart and tangy, and can only be eaten by sucking on the fruit, since the inner seed makes up most of the volume of the mamoncillo. The seed itself can be roasted, much like a pumpkin seed.


Also known as the mammee apple or Santo Domingo apricot, is also the fruit of an evergreen tree found throughout the Caribbean. A relative of the mangosteen, mammee is often eaten raw or made into jellies and preserves.

Mamey Sapote

Often confused with the mammee apple, mamey capote is a fruit which originated in Mexico but is widely cultivated in the Caribbean. The fruit, which resembles an apricot, tastes like a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, and cherry. This fruit is also rumored to be an aphrodisiac.

Mountain Soursop

Widely available in Jamaica, this fruit is very fibrous in texture and is rarely eaten raw. However, the juice of this fruit is a popular beverage and has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes.

Barbados gooseberry

The Barbados gooseberry is the fruit of a tropical cactus known as pereskia. Gooseberries are yellow to orange in color and have an excellent flavor.

These unique fruits are indigenous to the Caribbean, but with some searching can be found in specialty grocery stores in major American cities.

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