The Java apple is a delicious inverted heart-shaped fruit and goes by Kashu (di) Sürnam (in Papiamentu) in Curaçao and by Curaçaosche Appel (in Dutch) in Suriname… and we’re not sure why… though we suspect it has something to do with their mutual Dutch colonizers (1600s) or maybe mutual love and understanding.
Despite sharing colonizers, the two countries were governed separately and therefore only loosely tied population-wise. But that changed in the 1920s when a group of Surinamese migrated to Curaçao to fill vacancies in our (then) brand-new oil refinery. The Surinamese brought along their delicious roti, indigenous woodwork, Sranan Tongo / Taki Taki (Surinamese creole) and Faya Lobi… but did they also bring the Kashu (di) Sürnam?
Doubtful. Why would they call this fruit Curaçaosche Appel in Suriname?!
Part of the Myrtaceae family, the Java apple should not to be confused with her better-known cousin, the Malay apple (mountain apple). Her shell is shiny and her bite is crunchy, her flowers are yellowish-white and her fruit are light-red, greenish-white or cream-colored… and despite her name, she’s no accessory to a [cashew] nut. She’s native to Malaysia, Indonesia (another former Dutch colony) and the Philippines — and tends to prosper in areas with long dry spells, much like Curaçao .
Maybe Curaçao’s extra dry soil grows extra delicious Java apples — hence the name Curaçaosche Appel in Suriname?!
Interestingly, her cousin, the Malay Apple (Mountain Apple) goes by… drumroll please… Marañón de Curaçao in Panama.
Both Suriname and Panama associate this awesome fruit with Curaçao.
We’re not sure why.
But it’s pretty awesome.