A timeless article written for us by the late Jim Johnson back in 2005, which remains valid today...
Many people come to Nevis and often ask about the many fruits that they see! Questions include : Are they native? What are they? Are they really fruit? How do you eat them? The answers vary.
Some are native and some are not, some we are not sure! Mangos (over 50 varieties), papayas (at least 20 types), and oranges are not. They are primarily “Old World” fruits, originating in Asia or Africa or Europe. Sour Sop, Sugar Apples, and Custard Apples are all originally from the Caribbean (so is Passion Fruit which is technically a vegetable)! Guavas and Bananas grow wild and while some varieties are native, most are not.
Most of the fruit can be eaten straight off the tree, but some cannot. Many people are sensitive to the skin of Mangos, so the fruit must be washed before they can handle them. Mangos are also cooked in a variety of ways. Sour Sop (that strange thorny fruit on the roadside) can be eaten plain or made into soups and sorbets. Plantains and green bananas are mainly fried. Sugar and Custard Apples you eat straight from the tree and as fast as possible before some child comes and steals them from you!
It should be noted that regular apples, peaches and pears all require cold weather to bear, so are imported rather than grown locally. The same applies to orange tangerines and citrus, the local ones are always green, but grapefruits are originally from Barbados!
So come, relax, and enjoy some local fruits (or the drinks and wines made from them)!