Quenepa, also known as Spanish lime, limoncello, mamón, mamoncillo, genip, talpa jocote, huaya, and many others, is a round small fruit with a thin, green peel which is very similar to the lime. This little fruit is native to northern South America; however, it was naturalized in Central America and in the Caribbean as well.
In Puerto Rico, this little fruit grows exceptionally well, so much so that there is a Celebration called the National Quenepa Festival. It takes place every year and lasts three days in the city of Ponce. The fruit grows so abundantly in this city; it is common to find it in the backyard of its residents.
Curious to discover more about this distinct tropical fruit? Keep on reading to learn how to eat quenepas, its health benefits, and an easy recipe so you can try it out.
How to eat Quenepas
Quenepas can be eaten raw or used as an ingredient in recipes, if you would like to try it raw, bear in mind that this little fruit possesses a huge slippery seed on its inside that you do not want to eat. In order to avoid a potential choking, follow these simple tricks:
Firstly, it is always recommended to wash the skin of fruits, even if you do not plan on eating it, as is the case with quenepas, it is important to wash as any bacteria or dirt that can be on the outside might pass to the flesh once you crack the peel. Secondly, crack the shell, and here comes the trick, do not eat the whole fruit at once, instead, suck it until the whole flesh is gone, then you can simply spit the seed out.
Due to the fact that this fruit has a potential choking hazard, it is recommended to avoid giving it to kids and to pets. If you want them to try a piece of this fresh tropical fruit, make sure to remove the seed first.
If you have not tried this fruit yet you might be wondering, what do quenepas taste like? Once you bite a quenepa you will feel a juicy, citrusy, and sour taste. Their flavor is similar to lychee – if you have already tried it – although they are less sweet.
Quenepas Nutrition Facts
Now that you know what do quenepas taste like, let’s take a look at their nutrition chart table. In every 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of quenepas there are:
Quenepas are considerably low in calories, so if you are on a low-calorie diet consider adding this fresh fruit to your daily menu. However, is this all the good news about quenepas or are there any other health benefits of eating this fruit? Keep on reading to find it out.
Besides being low in calories, quenepas offer a wide array of benefits. Here are the most interesting benefits of quenepas:
Lower blood pressure: quenepas are filled with phenolic compounds. These antioxidants substances have been heavily studied and linked to protecting overall cardiovascular health, they act by reducing damages in blood vessels caused by free radicals. In addition to helping reducing cholesterol levels.
Support digestion: fibers are an essential substance when it comes to improving overall digestive system health. Quenepas have a large content of fibers, thus it helps to prevent constipation. Moreover, their leaves can be used to treat intestinal problems.
Weigh loss: as you can check in the above chart, quenepas are incredibly low in calories, they contain no fat, and a great quantity of fiber, a perfect combo if you are trying to lose some weight. Therefore, quenepas are a great option for an afternoon snack.
Improve immune system: quenepas have a handful of key vitamins and minerals that are required for normal immune system functionality. For instance, vitamin C, vitamin A, and Phosphorus among others, contribute to eliminating free radicals as they can act as antioxidants for the cells.
Stabilize mood: quenepas are also used as a natural medicine to treat anxiety and mood instability. The high number of minerals and vitamins present in this fruit can potentially help neural transmitters return to their normal levels.
Control Hormonal Effects: quenepas contain a great amount of phosphorus, which helps to normalize hormonal functions. In many tropical countries, quenepas are recommended to be eaten during menstruation, for example.
Maintain Healthy Bones: Although quenepas should not be your source of calcium, they do have a moderate amount of this mineral, which helps improving bone strength and preventing osteoporosis.
Where to Buy Quenepas
Now that you know that the benefits of quenepas are endless, you might be wanting to buy this tropical fruit as soon as possible and start incorporating them into your daily diet, however, where to find quenepas?
If you happen to live in Puerto Rico or in a Central American country, this task would be pretty easy for you, as you can probably grab in your backyard or buy from someone who is selling in the streets. However, if you live anywhere else, this task might be a little bit harder, and the options boil down to either shipping them from tropical American countries or search for a more specialized grocery store that might sell them.
Quenepas or – depending on where you are from – Spanish limes, limoncillo, mamón, genip, and so on, are little round green fruit, with a tangy yellow pulp and a huge seed inside. Native to tropical southern America, quenepas were then introduced to Central America and the Caribbean until finding their place in Puerto Rico, where this fruit grows abundantly.
With regards to how to eat quenepas, you can consume it raw or use as an ingredient in recipes. This little fruit has a sweet, citrusy, sour taste, somewhere between lime and lychee for you to have an idea. Furthermore, quenepas possess a fair amount of positive health benefits including lowering blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and supporting digestion. Also, consider adding them to your diet if you are following trying to restrict the number of calories as they have a very low-calorie count.