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Cherry and Gimbilin Juice
On Easter Monday, a public holiday in Jamaica, I went to a party in Mona, upper St. Andrew,
accompanied by my wife and one of my younger cousins. An old friend, Ms Marj, whom I have
not seen in a couple of years, invited me to the party.
It was a get-together to honor another
friend who just received his Ph. D from the University of the West Indies… this was cause for
celebration, of course.
We arrived at Ms. Marj’s house a little after 2:00 P.M. and apart from
being glad to see her and the rest of the crew, we immediately head for the table with the food.
Ms. Marj made run-dung, ackee, boiled green bananas, callaloo, and tossed salad for all of us.
However, the most surprising of all the delicious homemade fare was the gimbilin juice.
Well let me describe what gimbilin is. Gimbilin is a tree bearing fruit that is usually ultra tart. It is
grows in a cluster with two or three seeds inside and has a bite that could be described as
crunchy. In addition, the gimbilin’s bite size makes it convenient to chew completely, if you dare.
When Ms. Marj pointed out that she had, among other drinks, gimbilin juice available, my
mouth started to water because I remember the sour taste and the cloying effects from eating
too much of the fruit when I was a child.
However, one cautious sip of the juice and I was hooked. The juice did not taste tart, or acidic,
as I was expecting it to; it was smooth and sweet like a rich orange aid. I was surprised that
gimbilin could taste that good, after all, what happen to the mouth watering taste that usually
shocks your taste buds. Well, she explained that this type of gimbilin is not the traditional sour
ones that we are used to growing in Jamaica; these gimbilins are also different in size, taste, and
She then showed me the tree with some fruit on it looking like a fruit called star
fruit…much bigger than our usual gimbilins.
She also explained that these gimblins grow all year round and therefore she is never out of
them….yah mon. Ms Marj gave me about half dozen gimblin fruits and tell me to try them. I
took them over to Aunt Brownie’s yard in Spanish Town and showed her the fruits but never
said what they were. Aunt Brownie looked at the fruits and they were good in Cherry Juice. I was surprised.
Yes of course, because I ‘ve had Aunt Browine’s cheery juice and she never mentioned any
thing about adding this fruit to the mix. Anyway, the following morning Aunt Brownine said she
is going to make me a big breakfast. My fearing she would feel insulted if I refuse her big
breakfast offer made me agreed to accept.
The two acerola cherry trees in Aunt Brownie’s backyard had barely enough cherries on them
worth shaking to make any juice. And I should not have thought so, because she instantly told
me to salvage what’s left of the rest of the cherries on the tree that was closer to the house. I
managed to pick a half a bowl of cherries and gave them to Aunt Brownie. She washed them
and added them to the gimbilins that Ms. Marj gave me the previous day and made the most
delicious cherry and gimbilin juice. As a matter of fact, that’s the first time I ‘ve had gimbilin
juice and cherry juice together.
Here is the recipe for the juice Aunt Brownie gave me (the portions are optional):
½ cup Acerola Cherries
½ doz. Gimbilins or Star Fruit
3 tbsp. Brown Sugar
½ tbsp. Groung Ginger
Add cherries, gimgilins, and ginger to an electric blender bowl with water. Blend fruits and
ginger together with water until pulp forms in the blender bowl. Remove the pulp with a spoon
and strain it through a fine strainer. Use a spoon to press the pulp in the strainer to remove the
remaining juice. Sweeten the juice to taste with the brown sugar. Serve with crushed ice in a
This is a very simple juice but you should experiment with the portions to change the taste to
your liking. In the past, Aunt Brownine would sometimes add mangoes to the cherry juice to
give it a another unique flavor.
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