Scientific Name: Eugenia uniflora
Surinam cherry (Eugenia uniflora) is a flowering plant that belongs to the Myrtaceae family whose notable members are clove, guava, and bay rum tree. It is also known as pitanga. There are two types of Surinam cherry: the common bright-red one and the rarer dark-crimson to nearly black one. Surinam cherry is native to the east coast of tropical South America, and it is mainly grown in this area. In the US, Surinam cherry is most popular in Florida. This plant grows best in tropical and subtropical regions and can tolerate almost any soil type, as long as they do not contain salt.
Surinam cherry has high amounts of vitamin C, as well as some vitamin A, containing 44% and 30% of recommended daily value (DV) respectively. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C is also involved in the formation and maintenance of collagen, a protein compound that builds the organs of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, etc. The main function of vitamin A is to maintain vision health. Retinal, one of the fats found in vitamin A, is essential for color vision. Not only that, vitamin A helps protect the cornea and conjunctiva. In addition to their primary function, vitamin A and C both help with immunity and cell function.
Surinam cherry has various uses. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, the cherry is used as a folk remedy in South America against stomach diseases. In addition, Surinam cherry is also known for its use for blood pressure reduction and bronchitis, heartburn, and colic prevention. Besides medical purposes, Surinam cherry is an amazing fruit to be consumed on its own (when it ripens) or in desserts or fermentation products like vinegar, wines, or distilled liquors. When eaten, the seeds should be removed as they are extremely resinous.