Carissa also known as Natal plum is native to South Africa and is also planted in some parts of America, a fruit that can be eaten fresh but can also be cooked. Some people enjoy the Carissa fruit raw or in jellies, jams, pies, and sauces. They taste like a slightly sweet cranberry with the texture of a ripe strawberry, but many people say like a slightly unripe cherry.
It’s surprising that someone hasn’t concocted a commercial fruit juice that tastes like the Natal plum. It is low in cholesterol, sodium free, and vitamin C, B1, B2, A, calcium, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, copper and is low in fat.
Carissa can be difficult to grow because the plant exudes a milky sap when cut or broken, which aggravates harvest and transportation of the fruits because they can easily be damaged. And the berries have a short shelf life because the sap congeals. Not only is the crop a valuable source for nutrition, it became a huge source of income for African farmers and has the potential to do well in a global market.
It is known to prevent cells from damages, protects the teeth from decay and the gums from diseases, strengthens the nails and lowers the risk of depression. Carissa’s are preserved whole by pricking, cooking briefly in sugar syrup and sterilizing in jars. Peeled or unpeeled, they are made into jam, other preserves, syrup or sweet pickles. Jelly is made from slightly under ripe fruits or a combination of ripe and unripe to enhance the colour.
The consumption of fruits have always been known to improve our health and keep us healthy, it is also good for the skin as it prevents pre-mature aging and offers other benefits as well because fruits contain powerful antioxidants, it protects the heart from disease. Fruits should always be a part of the daily diet.