Seagrape

Wah gwaan?!!! Weh mi likkle h-steppers dem deh? Ununh readi fi a next shelling article? Lol yes, the little Jamaican creole/ patois just rolled off my fingers as my mind conjured it all. But as translation- Hi! Where are my little h-steppers? Y’all ready for another amazing article about seagrape?

This fruit can be found on one of the things Caribbean people can brag about- its beaches! So, if you even live in Florida you must have noticed this fruit minding its own business and enjoying the view it was provided with on its tree or shrub.

But don’t try to pick it because in some places in Florida it is heavily protected by laws. This is because it helps to protect the beach from dune erosion, therefore, you are advised to stay away from these trees or shrubs that are at the shorelines if you don’t have a permit.

In Jamaican creole ‘nuh trouble weh neva trouble u!’ or ‘see n blind, hear n deaf’ which when translated means, don’t trouble what didn’t trouble you or pretend like you don’t know it exists!

In essence, leave it, alone guys. But the good news is that if your state or country doesn’t prohibit you from consuming the fruits at the beaches then that’s a plus but it would be recommended to just plant it yourself or purchase the fruits.  Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

seagrape tree on white sandy beach

What Is Sea Grape?

Seagrape tree

This tropical and perennial plant is vastly known to be grown on many beaches, thus, making it an easy crop to harvest if you live near the ocean or sea. Seagrapes are known to be native to Mexico, South Florida, and the Caribbean, especially, to the Greater and the Lesser Antilles like Barbados and Bermuda.

The Seagrape trees or shrubs have broad leaves that can grow up to about13 inches that are red in color when young but after maturity, it changes to green with red veins. While the overall tree can grow to about 55 feet in height! Tall right?

Does it bloom flowers?

Yes, it is a flowering plant that blossoms in clusters of off-white/ivory/white flowers. Seagrape belongs to the Polygonaceae family (Buckwheat family- fun fact, sorrel is a part of this family!), where it is scientifically called Coccoloba Uvifera. Check out recipes from the buckwheat family,   Buckwheat Porridge, 25 Best Quinoa Recipes. 

So, sea grape or bay grape is just a common name that is used for the fruit. Some other aliases include; Caribbean grape, bow pigeon, Caracas Kino, Coccoloba Kino, Columbian Kino, hopwood, Jamaican Kino, mangrove grape, platter leaf, South American Kino, West Indian Kino, wild grape, and wild mangrove grape.

The plant is dioecious, meaning that they distinctive from male and female in separate organisms. But pollinators, for example, bees, are no doubt up for the job and do a great job too! So, fretting about pollination shouldn’t be of too much concern.

The Fruit

These are small grape-like fruits stemming from its evergreen shrub or tree, that is grown popularly on beaches. They normally grow in clusters like grapes and are said to have a similar flavor to that of muscadine grapes. Hence, the name sea grape because it’s grown near the sea and it resembles some properties that grapes have.

seagrape with leaf on a white background

What do sea grapes taste like?

Sea grape or bay grapes typically have an oceanic taste that is sometimes described to be fresh, but it also has this potent sweet and acidic flavor too. The skin is normally purple and it has less pulp because the light brown seed in each takes up its space; just like in Barbados cherries (which we did an article on).

 

This is not to be mixed up with green caviar which is also known as sea grapes. If you ever tried seaweed then bingo! That’s what that sea grape tastes like. It can give off a tad bit of a salty flavor too due to the ocean/sea. This kind of sea grapes is found in Asia that is called caulerpa lentillifera. They look like pebble bubbles that are green and burst in your mouth where some people love that effect. But let’s get back on track! Green caviar is for another time and who knows could be soon too!

What do sea grapes look like when matured?

So, normally they are green in color when young but once matured they have a purple color.

 

Where can I buy sea grape?

I will be honest, it will be difficult to get these fruits, especially, if you live in an area that they aren’t grown. Even at that stage where it is grown, you will hardly find it at your supermarkets or farmer’s market. Like I said before majorly underrated! But what you can do is to try your luck and online! Or buy the seeds or suckers then plant. Once it is groomed correctly then it will grow then blossoms those nice sea grapes you might crave.

 

Season and storage

You will typically see sea grapes in the season from August to probably late October. The best way to store sea grapes is by washing them then placing them in a zip resealable bag then refrigerate or keep frozen.

 

Uses

Some popular uses for sea grapes are:

  • Beverages
  • Jellies
  • Jams
  • Skincare
  • Medicinal uses
  • Its bark for furniture
  • Dyeing
sea grape clusters on tree

Health Profile for Sea Grape

Honestly speaking, this fruit is no doubt and very often neglected or overlooked. But I’ve made it a point of duty to ensure that I shed some light on the magnanimous fruit. By the time this article is over seagrape should be getting an Oscar award. Can you hear it? The presenter said, “And the award for best fruit goes to-Sea grape!”  Ok too overboard, but you get the drift. So, the typical question is what is sea grape good for? Seagrape is said to contain a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, protein, zinc, and iron. It also contains a high level of omega3 fatty acids too.

Other components:

  • Alpha-Tocopherol ( Vitamin E)
  • Vitamin K
  • (Riboflavin) Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  • Biotin
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Pectin
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Sodium

 

8 Health Benefits of Sea Grape

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty of the fruit! The health benefits!

  1. Antioxidant Properties

Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E let’s not forget magnesium are known for their ability to neutralize free radicals caused by oxidative stress (oxidation), tobacco smoke or over-exposure to UV light. Hence, acting as marvelous antioxidants within our bodies when consumed from the food we eat. The great thing about this is that sea grapes have antioxidant properties! So, it has free radical scavenger hunters!

 

  1. Fortify Bones, Muscles, and Joints

Sea Grapes have a good amount of calcium, phosphorus, protein, and polyunsaturated fatty acids found in the omega 3 groups. Therefore, it is said to be effective for reducing inflammation and symptoms of arthritis.

 

  1. Helps to Strengthen Eyesight and the Heart

Seagrapes contain omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and other nutrients that are known to improve eyesight/vision. Other benefits include; efficient brain functionality, improves memory, reduce high cholesterol, maintain blood vessels and arteries, and also prevents cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, atherosclerosis (an artery disease that involves the build-up of too many fatty materials on the inner walls), and myocardial infarction (heart attack).

 

  1. May Help Prevent Hypertension and Diabetes

Sea Grapes are a wonderful source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C and are effective in reducing blood pressure due to the ability to promote excretion and regulate normal blood pressure for people with hypertension.

In addition, magnesium and potassium reduce high blood pressure by increasing the production of nitric oxide- which is a signaling molecule- that helps relax blood vessels. This is really crucial especially, for systolic pressure (this is the volume of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle).

While potassium is also known for reducing muscle cramping which is essential for diastolic pressure (the pressure when your heart muscle is between beats). The components in sea grapes also help to regulate/control blood sugar levels by reducing/inhibiting the binding of glucose and protein. Hence, reducing the effects or complications of diabetes.

 

  1. Prevents anemia

Seagrape contains a good source of iron-main contributor for producing hemoglobin- which is very important for preventing anemia (lack of red blood cells that carries oxygen in the blood). Not only does iron help to produce hemoglobin but also assists in regulating body temperature, helps to improve the immune system, aids in brain functionality for better focus, helps in gastrointestinal processes, and helps in producing energy.

 

  1. Helps Prevent Constipation

Seagrapes contain magnesium and phosphorus that are excellent for causing loose stool, where magnesium may act as a natural laxative too. This is done by relaxing the bowels and pulling water across the wall membranes of the intestine, thus allowing for an easy flow.

 

  1. Helps with Skin and Hair Health

The omega 3 fatty acids, as well as Vitamin A, Vitamin B9 (folate), and Vitamin C found in sea grapes, help to build and protect cell membranes, improve the elasticity and lower the permeability of the blood vessel walls (to diminish the indications of dry skin) as well as creating a firmness within the skin by increasing the manufacture of collagen. Ultimately these helps to decrease the aging-process and let’s not forget that the components above also assist with hair growth!

 

  1. Helps with weight loss

Seagrapes are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, protein, Vitamin C, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and zinc which are considered top nutrients that are great for weight loss or dieting consumers.

 

Say no more right? These little pebble-like fruits can do so much? Yes! See why it needed some bragging rights? But what we recommend is not to overindulge ok? Just eat a FEW and then that’s it. We hope you enjoyed this article and had a few smiles or laughs here and there. Because spreading a little love and laughter is always good! Until next time- be safe or as Jamaicans say ‘walk gud!

Other Tropical Fruit Articles

Cerasee

Ackee

Star Fruit

Stinking Toe

Black Sapote

Seagrapes clusters on tree by the sea

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