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Grown In DR 2

Fruits & Nuts Grown In Dominican Republic

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.

Limoncillo | Tamarindo | Moringa | Noni Fruit | Almendra

Limoncillo

A bundle of Limoncillo fruit ready to eat.
A bundle of Limoncillo ready to eat.

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 / Tamarind in the shell pod being sold on the streets of Dominican Republic
Tamarindo / Tamarind in the shell pod being sold on the streets of Dominican Republic

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.

Tamarindo / Tamarind pulp fruit being prepared for juice
Tamarindo / Tamarind pulp fruit being prepared for juice

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.

Make some Tamarind Juice/ Jugo Tamarindo.

Moringa

Moringa leaves in the market
Moringa leaves in the market

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.

Noni Fruit

Noni tree and fruit with a honey bee enjoying the flowers.
Noni tree and fruit with a honey bee enjoying the flowers.

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.

Ripe Noni fruit in the tree
Ripe Noni fruit in the tree

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

A large Almendra tree growing on Calle las Damas in Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo
A large Almendra tree growing on Calle las Damas in Ciudad Colonial, Santo Domingo

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.

A large Almendra tree growing on the beach of the Caribbean Sea
A large Almendra tree growing on the beach of the Caribbean Sea

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.

Almendra nuts roasted and packaged ready for eating
Almendra nuts roasted and packaged ready for eating

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.

Grown In Dominican Republic Page 1

Grown In Dominican Republic Page 1

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 | Mavi | Aguacate/Avocado | Guineo/Banana | Piña/Pineapple | Mango

Lechosa/Papaya

Very ripe and juicy Lechosa / Papaya being sold in the streets.
Very ripe and juicy Lechosa / Papaya being sold in the streets.

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.

Sweet Papaya, known as Lechosa in Dominican Republic, cut showing the black seeds inside
Sweet Papaya, known as Lechosa in Dominican Republic, cut showing the black seeds inside

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. 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

Dominican Republic Mabi de Bejuco Indio
Dominican Republic Mabi de Bejuco Indio

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.

Aguacate/Avocado

Ripe aguacates / avocados ready to be eaten
Ripe aguacates / avocados ready to be eaten.

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.

Avocado trees in Salcedo, Republica Dominicana
Avocado trees in Salcedo, Republica Dominicana

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

Beautifil and prefectly ripened Guineos / Bananas
Beautifil and prefectly ripened Guineos / Bananas.

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.

A truck full of Platano/ Plantain in the market.
A truck full of Platano/ Plantain in the market.

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.

Rulo, another type of Plantain
Rulo, another type of Plantain

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.

Baby young bananas growing on a tree
Baby young bananas growing on a tree

For platano cooking information check out our recipes page.

Piña/Pineapple

A beautiful ripe pineapple, known as piña here in Dominican Republic
A beautiful ripe pineapple, known as piña here in Dominican Republic

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.

A truck full of pineapples /  piñas
A truck full of pineapples / piñas

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.

A pineapple / piña, sweet and juicy, ready for eating.
A pineapple / piña, sweet and juicy, ready for eating.

Mango

Ripe Mangos being sold in the street.
Ripe Mangos being sold in the street.

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.

My favorite type of mango, Banilejo. Very large, sweet and juicy.
My favorite type of mango, Banilejo. Very large, sweet and juicy.

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.

Mangos ripening in a tree
Mangos ripening in a tree

Mango fruits are wonderful and refreshing so please do not pass them up. They make a wonderful juice 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.

Tsunami – Maremoto

Tsunami / Maremoto / Tidal Wave

Tsunami (tsoo-NAH-mee) is Japanese for “great harbor wave.” This wave can speed across the ocean at 500 miles (805 kilometers) an hour. When viewed in the deep waters the waves are only a few feet high. But watch out when the waves come close to shore and the more shallow waters. These little waves swell with energy and grow in height. Usually a second wave follows the first in about 15 minutes followed by others. These can last up to 2 hours or more.
There are Tsunamis in Dominican Republic. Many have been recorded in history.

Tsunami / Maremoto
Significant Tsunamis in DR | Districto Nacional Flood Zone | Official Warnings and Alerts | Warning Signs | Survival | Links to Tsunami Related Web Sites

A view of the Caribbean Sea and Santo Domingo in the distance.
A view of the Caribbean Sea and Santo Domingo in the distance.

Significant Tsunamis in DR

There have been 10 significant documented tsunamis in the Caribbean since 1492. Not only can an earthquake cause a tsunami but also landslides and volcanic eruptions can trigger a giant wave.

Tsunamis in DR:

*October 11, 1918 – Small tsunami on the coast of Punta Cana killing a person.

*August 4th, 1946. This destructive tsunami was triggered by a magnitude 8.1 earthquake in the Dominican Republic. It killed about 1,800 people in the Caribbean. The natural phenomenon had waves over 10 meters high causing extensive damage to the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, according to contemporary reports in some low places the sea came up to 1500 meters inland. Reports say that the town of Matanzas was destroyed and an estimated 500 deaths occurred in that town alone. They say that one could walk underneath the pier in Puerta Plata, in the northern part of Republica Dominicana, because the retreat of the sea was so great. Read an account of the August 4th disaster.

We had a real tsunami warning after the 7. Earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010. It was declared for Cuba, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. Witnesses claimed that in the Dominican town of Pedernales the sea moved away. Shortly after the alert was made it was withdrawn.

Dominican Republic has set up mock tsunami drills in different areas throughout the country. These drills were executed very well. There are warning plans in place since an approaching tsunami cannot be felt as an earthquake can. A tsunami can sneak up on a person. The Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) has been set up for this purpose.

Districto Nacional Flood Zone

The flood zone in the event of a tsunami can be from two kilometers from the coast or 20 meters high. An example of how far the flood Zone is in the National District, Santo Domingo that would be from the Avenida George Washington covering much of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, Gascue and the Colonial Zone.

Official Warnings and Alerts

The warnings and alerts and what each of the different warnings mean:

*Warning: Earthquake occurred. Tsunami may have been generated. Arrival times 2 hours
*Watch: Earthquake occurred. Potential resultant tsunami not measured. Arrival times 3 to 5 hours
*Info Bulletin: Earthquake occurred but not sufficient to generate a damaging tsunami
*Info Message: Earthquake occurred but not magnitude too weak to generate tsunami.

See a Map of the Caribbean with respect to the Tsunamis in the Caribbean area. Tsunami Messages for All Regions in the past 30 days. Tsunami Warning Center – Caribbean Sea.

Warning Signs

Tsunami and Tidal Wave warning signs and evacuation routes signs.
Evacuation sign in case of tsunami “tsunami” / Señal ante alerta de tsunami.

Zona de Tsunami - Tsunami Area sign
Zona de Tsunami – Tsunami Area sign
Tsunami Warning Sign - Entrando Zona De Peligro -  Entering a Dangerous Area
Tsunami Warning Sign – Entrando Zona De Peligro – Entering a Dangerous Area
Tsunami Warning Sign - Zona De Riesgo De Tsunami. En Caso De Terremoto, Vaya A Suelo Alta O Tierra Adentro - Tsunami Risk Zone. In Case of Earthquake, Go To High Ground Or Inland
Tsunami Warning Sign – Zona De Riesgo De Tsunami. En Caso De Terremoto, Vaya A Suelo Alta O Tierra Adentro – Tsunami Risk Zone. In Case of Earthquake, Go To High Ground Or Inland

Survival

The best way to survive a Tsunami is to pay attention to the warnings put out by the government.
*Abandoning your belongings and home and get to high ground FAST.
*If getting away is not an option go to a tall building, climb a tree, do whatever you can to get high.
*If all else fails find something that floats and hold on for dear life.
*Stay wherever you found refuge and wait to be sure the tsunami is really over.

*The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS) was established in 2005 as a subsidiary body of the IOC-UNESCO with the purpose of providing efficient assistance on tsunami risk reduction to Member States in the Caribbean region after the lessons learnt from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The newly established Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC). The IOC Tsunami Programme (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Tsunami Programme) http://www.ioc-tsunami.org/ is part of UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization)

*Oficina Nacional de Meteorologia (ONAMET) in Dominican Republic

*An excellent brochure put out by The United States Geological Survey (USGS) “Surviving a Tsunami – Lessons From Chile, Hawaii, and Japan.” Actions that saved lives, and actions that cost lives, as recounted by eyewitnesses to the tsunami from the largest earthquake ever measured, the magnitude 9.5 earthquake in Chile on May 22, 1960.
http://www.ioc-tsunami.org/images/stories/documents/usgslessons_e.pdf

*Tsunami: The Great Waves (Documents in English and French)

*The Tsunami story from NOAA

*Account of the 1942 Quake and tsunami in Dominican Republic (in Spanish) “Domingo 4 de Agosto del 1946 a las 12:55 p.m

*National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA Tsunami Information

*United States Search and Rescue Task Force. Tsunamis

*Tsunami – Tidal Wave – Santo Domingo Danger Areas (English and Spanish).

*Caribbean Tsunami Information Center CTIC and the Tsunamis and Warnings – A System for the Caribbean