Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora / Columna Conmemorativa Naufragio Balandra Aurora
On the coral cliffs of Paseo Padre Billini on the coast of Santo Domingo stands a single column pillar. This white pillar is topped with an urn. The Memorial Column to the Shipwreck of the Sloop Aurora. It honors those who lost their lives because of the shipwreck of the sloop Aurora.
On Sunday, September 27, 1908 he sloop Aurora was trying to enter the port to escape a torrential storm that was raging in the Caribbean. People watched as the ship crashed and sank off the beach Placer de los Estudios (Playa Placer is located at the mouth of Rio Ozama). The crew clung desperately to a tree as the storm raged on. A few Dominican men tried to rescue these crew members, but all lives were lost.
The monument dedicated to the memory of the Balandra Arora was built in 1910 to commemorate the tragic loss of lives. There was once a plaque at the bottom of the monument inspired by Federico Henriquez and Carvajal. The plaque read “Al ver la nave zozobrar perdida, un noble razgo les costó la vida” / “When seeing the ship capsize lost, a noble reason cost them the life”. The plaque also included the names of those who lost their lives on Sunday, September 27, 1908. The heroic Dominicans are Casimiro Almonte, José Cuevas, Miguel Veloz, José Maíz and Eusebio Lugo. The crew members of the Balandra Arora who lost their lives are Miguel Pérez, Juan Ramón Mandia and Rican Hilario Martínez.
Did you know? – A sloop / balandra is a sailing boat with a single mast. It typically has one headsail in front of the mast, and one mainsail aft of (behind) the mast.
Paseo Presidente Padre Billini, better known as the Malecon of Santo Domingo or Avenida George Washington, and Calle Sanchez. The memorial sits on the coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea, Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana.
I have listed a few of the incredibly fresh fruits and nuts that are grown here in the Dominican Republic. If you live here be sure to try something new from time to time. If you are visiting it is a must to taste the fresh fruits that are unfamiliar. You will, most of the time, be in for a wonderful surprise.
The Limoncillo was brought to the island of Hispaniola in pre-Columbian times and thrives in the Caribbean. It is a small round fruit about the size of a lime. The color is green to yellow with a hard, thin, leathery skin. Inside the skin you will find a yellow to pinkish, cantaloupe-colored almost slimy, translucent flesh. This bittersweet layer of flesh covers a large brown, hard seed. Limoncillos are a real treat and the flavor is pleasant. Even though it takes a little work to remove the fruit from the shell and the seed, it is well worth the trouble. Take your time and just think of it as a fun food to eat. They also use the fruit to make juice, jellies and other tasty items.
How to eat Limoncillos
– First you have to crack the skin. Usually, a little fingernail or a bite will achieve this, and it makes a little crack sound. Then push the insides into the mouth. Proceed by moving the fruit around inside the mouth, manipulating it to remove the somewhat slimy flesh from the large seed in the center. It does not look pretty as your face makes all the strange movements. It will take a few fruits to get it right, but once you master this the flesh removal process can go fast. After the sweet flesh is removed spit out the seed.
When spitting be careful, they are a little large and can hurt (I like to aim them at the garbage can and see if I can hit it. Makes it a little more challenging. LOL/jeje!). The next step is to start the process all over and go for another.
The fruit is usually available in July and August. You can buy it on the street in bunches connected by small branches tied with a little twine or grass. A must try!
NOTE – Make sure not to get any of the juice on your clothes. It will stain.
Tamarindo / Tamarind
Tamarindo is a fruit originally from Africa where it grows wild. Tamarind was introduced to Central America around the 16th century and it has thrived ever since. The tree is a slow growing type of evergreen that can get quite large. The fruit is covered in a brown shell and has a sweet/sour taste.
The Tamarind fruit is ugly in appearance. Just remember that they taste much better than they look (when I first saw this fruit it looked to me to be a dirty pod type thing). The pod is ugly and does not look appetizing. The fruit is the same, quite ugly. Yet, when you get past its ugliness and taste the sweetness its appearance seems to change to not be quite so unattractive.
The tamarindo fruit grows in pods on the tree. This pod has a brown shell covering the brown fruit that in turn covers the seeds inside. When the pod is mature it turns a dirty brown. It is filled with seeds, usually between 3 to 6. These seeds are surrounded by a brown, fibrous pulp. When it is ripe the shell of the pod is sort of brittle and can be removed easily. It breaks off and sometimes just falls of when touched roughly. On the inside of the pod, surrounding the seeds, is the sticky pasty pulp. This is the edible part of the fruit. It is sweet and yet sour, acidy and pungent. It is high in Vitamin B and Calcium and can make you a bit relaxed or even tired.
Tamarinds are good eaten fresh and plain. In the Dominican Republic the pulp is used to make a wonderful beverage that when mixed with sugar and water is very refreshing. It can be used for cooking and makes a great sauce, jelly and candy. You can also find it in many stores throughout the country in bags with the shell already removed.
Moringa can be found in most of the markets and on the streets of the Dominican Republic. People walk around carrying what looks like a bunch of weeds selling them to eager customers. This fast-growing plant is used for its miraculous healing attributes. It is one of the most nutritious teas in the world.
Much of the moringa plant is edible by both humans and animals. The leaves are rich in protein, minerals and Vitamins A, B and C. According to Wikipedia feeding the high protein leaves to cattle has been shown to increase weight gain by up to 32% and milk production by 43 to 65%. The seeds contain 30 to 40% oil that is high in oleic acid, while the degreased meal is 61% protein. The defatted meal is a flocculant and can be used in water purification to settle out sediments and undesirable organisms.
Moringa is said to help relieve symptoms of AIDS, reduce high blood pressure, lower blood sugar, increase breast milk production, help cure anemia and to help with diarrhea and dysentery.
I like the leaves made into a tea. For more information about this miracle plant, how to prepare and use moringa visit Moringa Matters.
The Noni tree grows wild in the Dominican Republic. It can be found growing along streets and on the beaches, pretty much everywhere. The plant bears flowers and fruits all year round. It is very stinky when it is ripe with a sort of smelly foot or even vomit odor. Noni fruit starts out green then ripens to a yellowish-white color and is semi-soft to the touch. If you can get past the stink of the fruit is edible either raw, juiced or cooked and the many seeds can be roasted. The fresh fruit and bottled juice can be found in the markets throughout Dominican Republic.
People say the juice of the Noni fruit is very beneficial. It provides energy and is also said to be a great antioxidant that boosts the body’s natural healing process.
For me, I have tried to eat the fruit. I have tried juicing the fruit even trying to mask it with other sweet fruits to hide the taste and smell. I just cannot do it. A friend told me that after time he got used to eating Noni he now eats it right off the tree and he likes the taste. I figure that there are other fruits that have the same benefits that do not smell like rotting flesh or stinky feet so I will pass. You should at least give it a try and see how you feel about Noni fruit. (FYI – Noni is also sold in pill form for those who want the nutrition but cannot handle the smell)
Almendra / Almond
Almendra is an edible nut grown on very large tropical trees. The trees produce flowers that are both male and female in the same tree. The fruit grows in clusters that turns from green to yellow and then to red when it is ripe. The outside red covering is soft and has to be removed to get to the hard shell inside. This shell needs to be cracked open and inside is a small single seed. This is the edible nut.
These seeds or nuts are not as big as the traditional cooking almond, they are long and thin and have the almond flavor. You can purchase them along the streets and in shops in Dominican Republic. They usually are roasted and salted. If you go to Palenque Beach you can usually find someone always selling these nuts in small bags that they picked and roasted themselves to make their living.
The Almendra tree is magnificent. Its large canopy of leaves makes it perfect for sitting under on very hot days. The canopy provides much-welcomed shade just be sure to watch out for falling nuts and when they are in bloom you could be covered with little falling flowers.
Did you know?
The locals say that if you soak the leaves in water you can put it on pet’s to wash away fleas.
Some of the many fruits and vegetables that grow in the Dominican Republic and their descriptions. Try a ripe yellow banana, a sweet, juicy pineapple or a tree-ripened mango. All are just too wonderful.
Lechosa / Papaya is a fruit grown on large trees in tropical climates. There are male and female trees and their offspring are the sweet fruit papaya. Here in the Dominican Republic it is called lechosa.
It is a large fruit green when unripe. When the fruit is ripe and ready for eating it is soft and yellow with some darker spots here and there. It is best eaten plain and is quite juicy. One of the best ways to serve it is to blend it with some milk or carnation and ice. It is called Batida de Lechosa. This is really tasty. The little black seeds inside are sometimes eaten, they have a little of a spicy taste. They are used as a substitute for pepper when dried and ground.
Mavi also spelled Mabi (pronounced Ma-Vee or sometimes Ma-Bee), is a staple in the Caribbean. This drink is made from the bark of the Mabi tree is also known as mabetree, soldierwood or seaside buckthorn. This bark is rich in glucosides (what is that you may ask? Wikipedia definition here) The bark is removed from the tree and boiled to make a tea. Sugar, usually raw or turbinado sugar is best as it has a little hint of molasses flavor to it. Many make this tea into the fermented drink by adding some yeast and letting it sit for a few days uncovered. It can also be made into a non-fermented drink as well. It is said to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and to make men more potent.
In Dominican Republic Mabi de Bejuco Indio is usually made locally and can be purchased in the Colmados and corner markets. It can be found in almost any type of bottle as the maker uses what is available. It is very refreshing and can be sometimes potent so beware.
The Avocado of Dominican Republic has a variety of types and flavors. It is one of our most imported fruits. We import both organic and non-organic versions of the fruit.
Some avocados are dry and not as sweet and others have a much different taste than the ones on the grocery shelves that most people are accustomed to eating. When this creamy, nutty-flavored fruit (yes it is a fruit, not a vegetable) is in season it can be found in abundance in every market, on the streets and in most restaurants at a very reasonable price.
Dominicans use this beautiful green colored fruit on salads or just eaten plain with a little límon/ lime-lemon to accompany any meal, soup or stew. Make a sandwich using this fruit on some pan de agua and you will be quite pleased. Aguacate is also used in many cosmetic preparations. Just remember, it is fattening (about 75% of an avocado’s calories come from fat) so don’t over indulge. Avocados have more potassium than bananas, have the highest fiber content of any fruit and are rich in B, E and K vitamins. They are also known to lower the bad cholesterol and help with the good HDL levels.
Guineo / Banana (the sweet type of fruit you can eat raw) – Platano/ Plantain (the hard fruit that is very starchy and needs to be cooked) are some of the most recognizable fruits of the world.
Here in Dominican Republic we love our bananas. They can be purchased in almost every corner store (Colmado) and in the streets. A sweet banana is a very nice fruit to refresh yourself and get some of the sugar your body might need on a hot day.
These large, big leaved plants can produce many fruits. They taste better here in the Dominican Republic because they are ripened right on the plant and not picked green like the ones shipped to other destinations. Choose a red, yellow or green banana/ guineo that can be eaten without cooking. Try a green to yellow platano that needs to be cooked to be eaten either plain or served in many imaginative forms. A fresh sweet yellow banana, nothing tastes or smells better.
The pineapple, simply called piña here, can be found growing in Dominican Republic. The ones sold in the streets here are usually vine ripened. This makes the piña taste so much better than ones you get outside of the country.
They can be purchased in almost any spot in the country, especially when they are in season. Vendors always have them either whole or cut for you to enjoy right on the spot. Some vendors cut them in a spiral way that you can hold like a lollypop. Do not be afraid to eat the core as it is soft and sweet just like the outside fruit.
The Mango is a well-known fruit that grows on a tall tree. The tree makes lots of fruits that are very sweet and juicy. There are many different varieties of mangos grown in DR.
The mango makes for some messy eating and it is well worth the mess. I suggest eating it with a knife instead of just biting into the fruit. This way you get all the juice in your mouth and not down the arm. Also, the pulp is very stringy and if you don’t have dental floss or a toothpick handy you will be digging at your teeth all day trying to remove the little fibers from between and this can get annoying. Another way to enjoy an overly ripe mango is biting through the skin and just sucking out the juice. It may sound strange but you should try it. It is very satisfying.
Mango fruits are wonderful and refreshing so please do not pass them up. They make a wonderful Batida (blended frozen drink) with some ice, milk or carnation, and a little sugar in a blender. I love to freeze this milkshake type drink for a freshening icy treat.
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