Coccoloba uvifera or sea grap
This yummy fruit is known as sea grapes in Anguilla! I actually do stop on the side of the road to pick sea grapes in Anguilla or go hunting for grape trees in areas where I randomly spotted them before they are ripe. Sea grapes are another favourite fruit of mine and probably yours too. I have yet to try the drink (which Nash promised me), jams and jellies.
During grape season, these grapes are a great healthy and free snack and if you remain alert you are sure to spot some trees on the road edges. Generally, these trees are often located close to the beach because they are salt tolerant and in many places were planted to help stabilise or beautify beach edges.
The leaves of this tree are also interesting and have many creative uses. Their flat, round and large shape makes them ideal for wrapping or holding items. Here are three great uses right here in Anguilla.
1) The leaves of the tree can be folded into a cone to hold your grapes firmly and snugly or you can just stay in the shade of the tree and pick and eat until you cannot eat anymore.
2) They are often used to wrap conky dumplings. If you have not tried this local cornmeal dish, you should. You may find conky dumplings by Mabel Gumbs stand on Saturdays. Mabel also makes a great corn soup which is raved about by locals and visitors. You can find Mabel directly opposite the Anguilla National Trust in the Valley.
3) Grape leaves are used for decor at events and weddings. They can be placed in glass vases, stuck to walls or used as foliage for centre pieces and much more.
How about you? Do you like sea grapes in Anguilla? Can you think of any other uses for the tree, fruit or leaves?
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Thanks for reading!