The other day I stopped at a small fruit stand for limes, or so I thought.  I bought a bag of four lime-sized, lime-colored looking fruits, only they were peeled.  "Okay..." I thought, "that's a little different," but that's how the oranges next to them at the stand were prepared.  In Belize we often see peeled and prepared fruit for sale, so I really didn't give it much thought.  The little boy I bought them from seemed to speak only Spanish, so he wasn't going to argue when I held up the clear plastic baggie they were in and said "I'll take these limes too", as I was already buying bananas.  He may have snickered behind my back, though!

When I got home and showed them to Barry, we quickly realized that they weren't limes.  I was sick with a cold so didn't really feel like investigating at that time, so I stuck them into the refrigerator until I felt better.  They kept well, and today, three days later, they still looked about the same as the day I bought them.  I rinsed one off and decided to give it a try.  
Hmmm...it was sour, firm, a bit grainy, definitely stringy, and tasted a lot like a plum, but not a ripe, juicy plum like I am used to in the United States.  Unlike the plums I'm used to, it got sweeter as I got closer to the seed.  And I definitely needed the dental floss after eating it -- this thing was fibrous!

I still wasn't quite sure what I'd eaten, so I took the photo above and posted it on Facebook, asking if any of my San Pedro friends knew what it was.  And not surprisingly, Rebecca (SanPedroScoop) quickly replied that it was a Golden Plum.  She also said that I should eat it with salt and pepper.  Salt and pepper?!  I guess I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it, but I'm not so sure about that part.  I promise to try it with my second one, though.

I did a little research online, but information on this fruit is not too easy to find.  I found a photo of a tree seedling, Spondias spp, that is probably the tree that bears this fruit.  This site also said they are called hogplums (maybe they are used as feed on farms?) and governors plums (I like that one better!) in addition to golden plums.  And I found a photo of golden plums growing on a tree in Ceiba Jungle Camp on the mainland of Belize.

I guess it's a good thing that these little fruits turned out not to be limes.  As with so many things here in Belize, the unfamiliar ends up turning into a new learning experience!
Carmen
10/8/2012 12:53:40 pm

Emily, I discovered these tart little fruits a few years ago on Caye Caulker. A lady with a fruit stand cuts 'em up and puts them in a little zip lock bag with salt and cayenne pepper. That makes a nice "hot and sour" snack.

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BeBelize Emily
10/8/2012 01:18:07 pm

How interesting! Maybe chile pepper (i.e., Marie Sharp's) is what I should put on 'em instead of the black pepper I was thinking of!? You learn something new every day here!

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Carmen
10/8/2012 12:58:17 pm

Speaking of tasty eats, I stopped by Licks the other day after I saw you while I was waiting for the water taxi. The menu was over my budget for the day, but a lady from CC was there and said that they serve half orders for locals. I ordered the half Ravioli with side salad....it was delicious! And even that was more than I could eat...for $10 BZ. The owner is very nice. I will definitely go back and take my husband.

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BeBelize Emily
10/8/2012 01:26:55 pm

That's great to know! One of these days I'll actually find the place. Good to know that they have special deals for locals. :)

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Sabrina
10/8/2012 01:08:37 pm

Very interesting. Isn't it fun to try new, exotic foods? However I am with you in questioning the whole salt and pepper thing. Hum? Hope you are feeling better.

Sabrina

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BeBelize Emily
10/8/2012 01:28:30 pm

Thanks Sabrina! I still have a cough but am on the mend. I'll have to post a follow-up once I try the salt and pepper'd plums. It's a bit odd, but then again, a lot of people eat salt on watermelon (not here, but where I grew up in North Carolina), so who knows -- I guess I better keep an open mind!

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BeBelize Emily
10/11/2012 07:52:08 am

UPDATE: Today I tried salt and pepper on a golden plum. Not my thing at all. Also, the three plums left were hard as rocks and as sour as lemons. The first one, the one I ate and reported on above, was a bit yellower and sweeter. These remaining ones tasted like severely under-ripe fruit and had some serious pucker-power. Perhaps they were picked and peeled way too soon?

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10/12/2012 12:42:13 am

Lol @ serious pucker-power. That seems a bit to common here that fruits and veggies get picked too soon.

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BeBelize Emily
10/12/2012 01:11:31 am

I'm thinking a lot of it is because of the heat and the shipping that has to be done. They obviously keep a lot better if picked earlier. Some fruits and veggies will be okay and continue to ripen, but others don't. I've seen some of the palest tomatoes and other things here that I just wouldn't buy. But most of the fruits and veggies are good, fortunately.

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12/17/2012 02:07:03 am

I recently visited Belize and bought golden plums at a fruit stand where I was told they were Malaysian plums. The fruit is not a favorite of mine because of the strings, but an interesting new fruit to try as long as you have dental floss!

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