Pomerac is a tasty seasonal fruit in T&T, Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
It is beautiful, bright red when ripe, and has soft, white flesh that has a similar texture to apple. That’s why it is also called Otaheite apple and Jamaican apple.
The fruit also has some health benefits. Here’s more on the benefits, calories and recipes with pomerac.
What is pomerac (Otaheite apple)
Pomerac is a tropical fruit that is pear-shaped, red to dark red in color when ripe, and contains a single large seed surrounded by white flesh that has a softer, spongier texture than an apple.
It has a floral, sweet taste.
Its botanical name is Syzygium malaccense.
Common names include:
- Otaheite apple
- Jamaican apple
- pomerac or pommerac
- Malay rose apple
- mountain apple
- pink satin-ash
In Trinidad and Tobago, we call it pomerac which is likely a derived term from the French name: pomme Malac which means Malayan apple. The plant is native to the Malaysian region.
Pomerac may have come to the Caribbean during colonial time, much like many other fruit plants in T&T.
How to grow a pomerac tree
Moistening the seed and storing it in an airtight plastic bag with cotton should be sufficient to germinate a pomerac seed.
The tree requires two things – tropical conditions and a lot of space to grow. It is sensitive and needs the tropical heat and rain otherwise it will not survive. The plant also gets really tall – we’re talking about 60 feet or more.
This plant in my aunt’s backyard (behind the banana and citrus) is about 10 years old. And, do you see that beautiful bright pink color on the ground? Those are petals from the flowers! The tree is getting ready to bear.
So when is pomerac season? The trees usually bear twice per year in February and late May. That means March to June is pomerac season.
Pomerac fruit benefits
What is pomerac good for?
Pomerac is predominantly water
Pomerac contains about 90% water by weight. The fruit is a delicious way to boost your hydration, wouldn’t you say?
Pomerac fruit contains Vitamin C
It also contains good levels of Vitamin C. In 100 grams, the fruit can provide 25% of the daily value you’ll need. But, it is by no means the richest sources of Vitamin C. You’ll have to look at West Indian cherries and guavas for that.
Besides Vitamin C, pomerac has very low levels (less than 3% daily value per 100 grams) of all other vitamins and minerals.
Pomerac has antioxidants
That bright red edible skin contains anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidant compounds.
This 2013 study out of Jamaica found anthocyanins are present in both the pulp and skin of Otaheite apples. But, as the fruit ripens, the antioxidant levels increase in the skin and decrease in the pulp. So, be sure to enjoy that bright red skin!
Pomerac leaf contains other antioxidants
While there aren’t many studies on the benefits of pomerac, there is interesting evidence on the benefits of the leaves of the tree.
This 2019 study found the leaf extracts contain myricetin compounds. These are antioxidant compounds also found in many veggies like tomatoes, fruits, nuts, berries and red wine.
Myricetin also has possible anticancer, anti-hyperglycemic, antiviral, antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Pomerac may be good for diabetes
Pomerac is predominantly water, contains few calories and has antioxidant compounds like myricetin which may help to lower glucose levels in the blood. Pomerac leaves are also used in traditional medicine to treat diabetes.
Enough of the benefits of pomerac. Let’s turn to what to do with the fruit.
Otaheite apple calories
One hundred grams of otaheite apple or pomerac contain about 32 Calories, since the fruit is over 90% water.
What are some pomerac recipes
The fruit is mainly enjoyed raw, much like a pear or an apple. But there are a couple interesting recipes you can try.
The fruit makes a wonderful juice that can be mixed with berries, apple, ginger and more.
Wash, cut, remove the seed and blend the fruit with a little water. Add whatever other flavorings and sweeteners you like.
Check out this Cocktailz Jamaica video on making one version.
When pomerac is in season, pomerac chow is a must.
To make pomerac chow, cut the top off, remove the seed, cut the flesh into bite size pieces and mix the pieces with Caribbean green seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper. Chill for an hour to allow it to marinate. Serve as an afternoon snack.
Otaheite apple tarts and crisps
Due to the similarity in texture to apple, the fruit can be used to make tarts and crisps. This video from Jamrock Vegan is really nice.
Jamaican apple jam
When the fruit is in season, preserve some by making jam. To make the jam, cut and remove the seed, and shred the flesh. Make a thick syrup, add the shredded fruit, grated ginger, and bring to a boil. You can add pectin and acid too in order to thicken the jam.
This video from Next In Food gives a great tutorial.
Funny enough, I have pomerac wine in my fridge… a couple years now! I’ll have to get the recipe from the friend that gifted it – will update you when I do.
What do you make with pomerac? Let me know in the comments!