The quenepa is a tree-grown fruit found in a gigantic swath of the tropics: from Florida to Mexico it grows, and across the Caribbean and Central and South America. It is my favorite fruit, by far, because it is a bit like candy. That is why kids adore it, as do virtually all adults who grew up with it, as I did in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
But it’s a hard sell for my fellow Minnesotans. I’ve been trying to seduce them for years. I once returned from a trip to the tropics brandishing a bag of quenepas (also commonly called mamoncillos or Spanish limes among other names, and officially dubbed Melicoccus bijugatus), and excitedly handed them out to my friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Invariably, the reaction was puzzlement — or even mild disgust. I couldn’t fathom this because quenepas are so good, and so easy to eat.
Quenepa photo by James And James.