As you may be able to see from the above picture genips are grape-sized fruit. They grow in bunches on large beautiful trees that have a smooth silvery-gray bark. This is a picture of a male tree. It is about 40 feet tall. Males do not bare fruit.
Genips are tart/sweet. Beneath the green shell, which you can easily break open with your teeth, is peach colored meat covering a large seed.
Here are before an after pictures. Open and ready to eat.
Kids without genips in the summer is like Christmas without Santa. My sister and I, along with all the other kids, knew which trees produced the sweetest genips, which trees were the easiest to climb. We had spitting contests to see who could spit the green shells the farthest. To spit a shell, you put one half of it over the tip of your tongue and then propel it off your tongue with a force of air, just as you would propel a good hawker.
Genips are native to South America and have become naturalized throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. More than likely they made the journey up the Caribbean chain with the Taino Indians. Although I’ve never had them, the seeds after being roasted can be eaten or ground into a meal. Genips also make a very nice jelly.
A little know fact is the original key-lime pie was made with genips, not limes.