Grenada’s Culinary Delights: Juices

When we first arrived, one of the things that surprised us is that very few people in Grenada drink soda.  If they do drink a carbonated beverage, it’s something like Ting (carbonated, sweetened grapefruit juice) or beer.  Ironically enough, there is a Coca Cola bottling plant here in St. George’s that turns out the best Cokes we’ve ever had, strongly carbonated and fresh-tasting.

What Grenadians do drink in large quantities is fruit juice.  A stunning variety of juices is available in the grocery stores, but even better are the fresh juices that are sold on the streets by juice vendors.

Juice vendors sell juice packaged in two ways:  in tied-off baggies or in plastic water bottles.  The baggie juices are between $1-$2 EC ($0.35-$0.75 US), and the bottled juices are generally $5 EC ($1.85 US).  Juice vendors make their juices, load them in a cooler, and sell them on the side of the road.  Some enterprising vendors will load their coolers on a dolly and walk down the main road down to the commercial port area, hawking their juices along the way.

And what amazing juices they are! Our favorite juice lady, Christine, comes to the marina on Tuesdays and Fridays with her amazing drinks.  Some of our favorites are:

Passion fruit:  Passion fruit juice has a light, honey-tinged taste.  It is very smooth and gently sweet.  The fruits are a little bigger than a golf ball and grow on vines.  Here in the Caribbean they are yellow, but in other parts of the world the fruits are purple. 

Tamarind:  I fell in love with tamarind juice in Cuba and have never looked back.  The naturally tart, tangy bite is blunted a bit with added sugar, and the result is sweet but astringent and so refreshing.

Golden apple:  Thinking Granny Smith apple juice? Nope.  Golden apples are about the size of mangoes and grow in clusters on trees that can grow 30 meters tall.  The juice has a sweet, tropical fruit taste overlaid with a very strong grassy tang.  It is extremely unique, and I like it a lot.

Sea moss:  Yes, it’s actually a drink made from algae.  Also known as Irish Moss, the red algae named Gracilaria is cultivated in Grenada (and other Caribbean islands) and used to make a very popular drink.  It’s not a juice per se, as the recipe involves sweetened condensed milk and spices; it has the consistency and dairy taste of a milkshake. 

Sea moss: it’s good for what ails ya.

It is frequently mixed with a shot of Guinness stout or rum.  When I drink it, I get some serious side-eye from locals as it is mostly marketed as an aphrodisiac and “performance enhancer” for men.  Whatever.  It tastes great!

The best thing is that all of the fruit juices that we enjoy the most are made from local fruits that I can buy as well.  I’ve made passion fruit juice from scratch, and it was embarrassingly easy.  I see more homemade juices in our future!

I realize these passion fruits don’t look terribly appetizing, but this is when they are at their peak for juicing. When they are unripe, they are a smooth yellow fruit. When they ripen, the skins become wrinkly and brown-speckled.
Step one is to slice the top off of one end of a fruit and scoop out the flesh and seeds. The skin is incredibly tough and requires a very sharp knife.
Step two is to dump all of the passion fruit “guts” into a blender and give them a good jolt to separate the flesh from the seeds. Since I don’t have a blender, I just put everything in a bowl and used my immersion blender to give the fruit a good thrashing.
Step three is to strain off the seeds and add water. I ended up adding 2:1 water to juice. I then gave the juice one last whirl before putting it in a container in the fridge. Some people eat the seeds, but I don’t think they taste like anything. I bought six fruits for $5 EC ($1.85 US) and ended up with about half a quart of fresh juice. Win!