trini fruit spotlight- kymit (cayemite)
Ok so this is the story- in Trinidad and Tobago we speak our own English language and many of our words are derivatives of other words from other country’s languages- French, Spanish, British English, Portuguese, Chinese, Hindi languages etc- hence sometimes we really don’t know the true pronunciation of a word. It’s really difficult to explain this to people who aren’t Trini/Caribbean but I’m sure if you’re a Trini and reading this you would understand!
So, today I’m talking about a Trinidadian fruit called kymit (cayemite). I found some information regarding cayemite which is quite popular and widely eaten in Haiti. The fruit is also referred to as the ‘milk fruit’ in Asia and is grown in Cambodia and Vietnam. I don’t know how other Trinis would spell kymit, but I’m spelling it exactly the way we say it down here in Trinidad.
If you read one of my entries entitled ‘baked fish platter‘ I spoke about persimmon fruit and it’s similarity to kymit. For those who have never tasted persimmon fruit (also called Kaki, Sharon fruit or Caqui- native in Japan, China and Burma) I will attempt to describe the taste of kymit without comparing it to persimmon fruit.
The fruit is usually purple or green in its ripened state. They are grown on large trees and found in various areas throughout Trinidad. The edible portion on the inside is usually composed of alternating layers of a clear gelatinous flesh with a milky cream/white flesh(in the green variety) or purple flesh(purple variety). Both types taste exactly the same. The gelatinous portions taste very similar to sweet coconut jelly- the ‘younger’ coconuts. The fleshy opaque portions taste sweet and creamy and the fruit itself contains a sort of ‘milk’ that gets stuck to the sides of your mouth and tongue making it feel a bit tangled! The seeds aren’t edible and are usually found in the fleshy opaque parts of the fruit. When cut in cross section the gelatinous internal aspect of the fruit forms the shape of a 9 pointed star. The fruit is about the size of an average orange and when not fully ripened can be squeezed or rolled on a hard surface to ‘loosen’ the milky juices(similar to how you might roll a lemon on the kitchen counter so that most of it’s juice could be more easily extracted when cut and squeezed).
The best way to eat a kymit is to use a spoon to scoop out the insides since the skin is thick and the areas closer to the skin aren’t particularly tasty or edible. If you do get the ‘milk’ stuck to your mouth a quick rub with baby oil does the trick of removing it. The fruit is best eaten when soft, (easily squeezed) ripe and chilled.
I grew up eating kymit and have it on my list of favorite local fruits. Every time I spot them being sold at the sides of the road or at the market I simply must indulge. If ever you’re in Trinidad and see one do not hesitate to try it- chilling it only improves its sweet, jelly-like texture and taste!