Guarapo de Jagua is a fermented beverage, one of the most refreshing traditional Dominican drinks, and a great alternative to soft drinks.
Guarapo de Jagua is one of those “obscure Dominican gastronomic secrets” that we mention so much in our blog. One of those recipes that sometimes we ask ourselves why even bother writing it.
There is no glamor here. There are no secrets or tips. There is not much traffic on the internet looking for this recipe, nor waves on social media.
It doesn't matter, we will continue to document these treasures of our traditional cuisine. Especially because this is one of the most refreshing drinks that our cuisine offers, and it is a great alternative to soft drinks.
But first, let's talk about these two unusual words.
What does guarapo mean?
Guarapo is sugarcane juice, or the fermented juice obtained from it (1). In the Dom. Rep., Guarapo is used to describe various types of fermented fruit juices. The most common is Pineapple Guarapo, which is made with the peel of this fruit. The second most common is this guarapo de jagua.
What is jagua and what is it for?
Genipa americana, or jagua (2) is a fruit-bearing tree native to the American continent. Also known as genipa, marmalade box, genipapo, and huito.
Its fruit is used to make ice cream, marmalade, and in the Dominican Republic, to make a fermented drink.
Properties of genipa (jagua)
The genipa fruit has astringent, anti-inflammatory and anti-anemic properties. This fruit is also a natural source of iron, riboflavin and antibacterial substances (3).
About this recipe of guarapo, or jagua juice
There is not much to say about this recipe, it is super simple, and requires very few ingredients. I have simply followed the steps I saw my mother follow when she was making this guarapo (which she did frequently).
If you know of another way to prepare this drink, we would love to hear it.
Guarapo de Jagua (Genipa Fermented Drink)
- 4 jaguas genipas
- 1 qrt water 1 liter
- 1 cup sugar or sweetener of your choice
- 2 cups ice
- Wash the jaguas, cut into small pieces. Place in a container with a lid with a capacity of 2.5 liters (1 gallon). Add the water. Cover with a piece of cloth or a clean kitchen towel.
- Leave on the kitchen counter for 24 hours, in a place where the sun does not hit it or there is too much light. Remove the cloth, and close with the lid. Move to the fridge for the next 4 days. By then bubbles should have formed in the liquid.
- Strain and sweeten to taste. Serve with ice.
- You can reuse the jagua by refilling again and letting it rest in the fridge for 5 more days.