Surinam Cherries

February 6th, 2012 | Fruit Maven

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be unexpectedly kissed by Angelina Jolie (and if you haven’t, then go ahead and pause and do that now), then this is the fruit for you!
surinam-cherry_0

I was giddy with excitement recently when I stumbled across a tree of surinam cherries. I saw one at a California Rare Fruit Growers convention a few years ago and have been casually on the lookout ever since.

Since this particular tree wasn’t exactly owned by me and the owner wasn’t exactly around, I made sure not to pick any from the actual tree. However, I couldn’t help but forage the precious little babies lying on the ground. It was either me or the birds, and I picked me. Plus the seeds are toxic, so really I was out saving lives. SAVING LIVES!

I was completely fine with this expedition until my three year old asked the following question in that loud whisper that really only a toddler can do: “MAMA! WHY ARE WE TIPTOEING?”

“Oh honey…um…We aren’t tiptoeing. We are just being careful. Yes. Careful that we don’t step on any of these luscious berries. The owner wouldn’t like that. Now hurry and stuff these in to your pockets. Ready to run?”

Surinam Cherry

APPEARANCE Rating: ★★★★★

Plump, ruby flower-shaped fruit about the size of a traditional cherry. Deep red flesh and juice.

AROMA Rating: ★★★½☆

Tangy. Reminiscent of guavas but not in the tropical way, more in the fermented fruit way.

TEXTURE Rating: ★★★½☆

Soft and extremely juicy with melting flesh. Has a few strings throughout and a small toxic seed.

TASTE Rating: ★★★★☆

Tart and acidic with a tropical flavor that reminds me of sweet guavas combined with a complex tomato.

OVERALL Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

This is an acidic little fruit that is bursting with personality. First of all, I was captivated from the moment I set my eyes on it. Have you ever seen a cuter fruit? Adorable. And these aren’t even prime specimens. Then it has this complicated and assertive tropical flavor that knocks you over from the second it touches your tongue. This fruit pretty much embodies a perfect first kiss: WHOA! Did I like that? Did I hate it? Better try it again immediately.

NOTES

Also known as Brazilian Cherry, Florida Cherry and Cayenne Cherry. They are not at all related to traditional cherries. Apparently they get sweeter as they get darker and I was probably lucky to be eating the ones that were ripe enough to fall to the ground. They are often described as having a resinous quality. I have no idea what that means. Maybe that is the correct word to use for that “fermented” taste, which I kindly described as “tropical”. Not sure. I liked it though. Want. More.

FRUIT
Surinam Cherry
PEAK
Intermittent
PURCHASED
We will not speak of this
VARIETY
Unknown
GROWN
California

6 Comments

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  • Adam Feb 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    This is, what, your second flirtation with poison fruit since the start of the year? What is up with that?

    You need an Xtreme Fruit section or something. Thanks for protecting the rest of us from the toxins, O Fruit Ninja!

  • Fruit Maven Feb 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    @Adam: HAHAHA. I know — right?!?

  • Kate Feb 19, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Ooh, those sound yummy and fun! I want to try them, but to do that I’ll probably have to stumble across them like you did! :)

  • Felicia May 30, 2012 at 5:54 am

    As an FYI, these are also known as Pitanga. A (not overly-friendly) neighbour had a large shrub/small tree when I was a kid and I remember picking all the fruit that hung over the fence. I’ve been smitten and on the lookout ever since.

  • Fruit Maven May 30, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Ohhh I would love to have a neighbor with these. They are so cute! They would be fun to look at regularly even if I didn’t get to eat them. Sometimes I think I like how fruit looks equally as much as how it tastes.

  • Dennis Dunn Apr 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Can anybody tell me what happens when you eat a handful of cherries without taking the seeds out.
    I pulverized whole cherries in the blender and added honey to improve the taste.
    What is a toxic seed??
    I hope my doctor knows.

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