My friends and I took a hike through some of the towns and rainforest areas of Grenada last week. We brought along two local friends whom we met from our frequent trips downtown to the Spice Market to be our guides. We hopped on a local bus, and because of some miscommunication, ended up walking a great deal more than we had signed up for. A word of advice: never believe a Grenadian when he tells you there’s only one more hill to climb. He really means one hill before the the next hill…before the one after that. And then five more.
Fortunately, aching limbs and tired bodies weren’t the only things we got out of the hike though. Because we ended up walking to the rainforest (instead of riding the bus), we had the chance to see life in Grenada through the eyes of a local. Grenada is such a small island, our guides knew practically every person we met along the way! As we walked, I soon realized that walking through Grenada is very much like taking a stroll through a fruit garden.
We passed by banana plantations and also saw several banana trees up close.
We saw papaya trees heavy with fruit that were getting ripe for picking.
We also saw many goats like this one that probably provides milk for a family, and we saw a man tending a callaloo garden (callaloo is used much like spinach here!).
I tasted a cashew fruit for the very first time and was surprised to find that it was sweet, juicy, and delicious!
We passed by lemongrass and picked a few leaves to smell the fragrance.
And of course, what’s a trip to the rainforest without seeing monkeys?! On the right is a wandering fish market that sells fish from the back of a pick-up truck.
We also saw plenty of cocoa trees along the way. This is a cocoa pod filled with cocoa beans. The sweet pulp can be sucked off, and then the beans are fermented and dried in the sun to make chocolate.
A cabbage garden in front of a local Grenadian house.
And aside from bananas, mangoes are the most plentiful fruit here in Grenada! You’ll find mango trees in backyards, on the side of the roads, in the rainforest…everywhere.
So what to do with all those mangoes? Make mango ice cream! The following recipe uses mango as the main fruit, but it could easily be substituted for your favorite tropical fruit — soursop, durian, jackfruit. Anything that turns creamy and soft would be perfect for this recipe.
Mango Ice Cream
Yield: 1.5 quarts
4-5 mangoes (about 4 cups of pulp)
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 1/4 c. whole milk
3/4 can condensed milk
juice from 2 small limes
1. Peel the mangoes and puree the pulp into a smooth consistency. Remove any strands of fiber that you might see.
2. Stir in the heavy cream, milk, and condensed milk into the mango puree.
3. Squeeze in the juice of 2 limes. Mix thoroughly.
4. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow directions or follow David Lebovitz’s method for making ice cream without a machine. The condensed milk, heavy cream, and whole milk really help to prevent the mixture from turning icy or freezing rock solid. You can also pour the mixture into popsicle molds to make creamy mango-sicles!