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Ann's Blog

Ste. Anne, Martinique:
March 19, 2011
Bite, suck, and spit:
Ginnip, the fun fruit

The crew of Receta is among those hooked on Stieg Larsson’s thrillers featuring hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander. We quickly devoured the first two in the series, and I’ll be buying the third on my trip north to visit Dad next month. No, I don’t have an e-reader…yet. And the odds of finding such a hot title at a cruiser book exchange – the main source of reading material for non-Kindle-or-iPad-owning yachties – is slim to non-existent.

A brief section at the start of The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second in the series, is set in this part of the world: on Grand Anse Beach, Grenada. (No need for a spoiler alert here.) And, in fact, I was reading it when we were anchored between Grand Anse Beach and St. George’s Harbour early last month. Salander “had avoided making the acquaintance of the criminal element on Grenada by falling in love with Grand Anse Beach,” Larsson writes. “There she could walk for hours without having to talk to or even encounter another living soul…. [She] stayed for seven weeks, doing little more than walking on the beach and eating the local fruit, called chinups, which reminded her of sour Swedish gooseberries – she found them delightful.”

Chinup, skinup, ginnip: Whatever you call it, it's a fun fruit

We find them delightful, too. Fun, actually. They go by several different (albeit related) names – ginnip, genip, skin-up, and (in Trinidad) chenette or chinette – and when you find them for sale, they’re cheap. A couple of twigs laden with five to ten fruits apiece cost a mere $1 EC (37 US cents) in the Castries, St. Lucia, market a week or so ago. (Because of the commonness and low cost of the fruit, the word “chenette” is also used as an adjective in Trinidad, meaning something of very low value.)

Pop, suck and spit: Bet you can't stop after one
Here’s where the fun comes in. You bite into the tough skin of one of the marble-sized fruits with your front teeth, and you hear a satisfying “pop” as the skin splits open, revealing a round seed covered with a gelatinous yellowish-pinkish-white pulp. Push the slippery seed out of the skin and directly into your mouth, rolling it around –kind of like a hard candy – and sucking off the juicy, sweet, slightly astringent pulp. When you’ve extracted all the flavour you can, spit out the seed and pop open another.

A couple of years ago, Steve was walking through Hillsborough, Carriacou’s main town, with our friend Chris from the sailboat Magus. They passed a woman selling ginnips by the side of the road and stopped to buy some. Though both guys love to eat, they have dramatically different metabolisms: No matter how many calories he takes in, Steve remains rail-thin, perpetually skinny; Chris, well, not so.

The woman gave Steve his little plastic bag of ginnips first. Then she started to hand Chris his bag, but paused and took it back – to add another handful of ginnips.

“How come he gets more than me?” Steve asked playfully.

“Because I love he belly,” the woman replied. Call it the pull of the paunch.

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One comment on “Ste. Anne, Martinique:
March 19, 2011
Bite, suck, and spit:
Ginnip, the fun fruit

  1. Emily @ As the Crowe Flies and Reads on said:

    Not sure if you ever get to Anguilla, but the bookstore there carries the Stieg Larsson books and has a nice selection of used books for trade. If you make the move to get an e-reader, please don’t get a Kindle–other e-readers let you choose where you want to buy your books, and thus who your dollars support. With Kindle you can only buy from Amazon and thus can never shop locally for your books.

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