It’s soon sea grape season.
In Barbados, apples, and oranges, peaches are often in abundance in the supermarket, but seasonal fruits are a favourite among the people.
With each season comes a new fruit (sometimes in 2s and 3s.) On the heels of a lovely mango season that’s now rounding off, we get ready to welcome in a small and watery fruit, found on a beachside shrub. We watch the trees for the first signs of the fruit that announces its presence in the form of a tiny lime green ball.
The sea grape.
A fruit you literally are not ever likely to eat just one of. At least a handful or small bag of these is the general quantity to satisfy a fruit-hungry tummy.
How to eat sea grapes: Pick by gently pulling the fruits from the branches. There are no thorns so no need to be finicky about it, but keep an eye out for clawed climbers that would nibble a stray toe of left unattended. Collect a small bagful, being considerate to let other fruit fans have their share too. Wash and sprinkle with salt, or dip and consume “real time” in seawater. There isn’t much pulp, but the taste is worth it. Look out for the small seed under the pulp; those, you can stack in your compost heap at home, pelt in the sea or leave near the tree.
September to October is sea grape harvest month, from scouting and sourcing experience so far. (Note this year it’s looking more like October though I was enjoying handfuls of these in September of 2016.) Evidence is seen on the roadside approaching town and near roundabouts in the countryside at this time. Small bags of the grapes (accompanied by a light to generous dose of salt most of the time) are sold for Bds.$2.00 (Usd.$1.00) at the moment.
Sea grapes and sweet purple/green grapes have two distinct tastes; the former always comes with seeds, and the shape is slightly different (the first round, the second oblong). They do however share two things in common. Both are a watery type of tiny fruit.
I don’t much much about the nutrients in sea grapes, but I do know they’re a light and delicious fruity snack that grows on shrubs with big heart-shaped leaves, near the sea.
As I find myself looking forward to the ripening of the sea grapes while scanning the nearby trees for signs of the fruits transforming from lime green to deep red, I remember the anticipation and excitement of mango season that’s now making way for the same sea grapes and right after, breadfruits.
This causes me to pause…and be grateful. To be present…and joyful. To not compare, but to accept and appreciate what is given. The concept of seasonal fruits is a reminder to:
a) live in joyful expectation
b) give thanks for the fruits we have and those in store
c) savour the flavours and nutrients of the gifts we receive
d) be patient