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!
 
Today we had to ride our bikes into town twice because we bought so much produce we couldn't carry it all on the first trip!  We also spent all our cash on the first trip, but the very nice fruit-stand proprietor said that we were welcome to take all the fruit and veggies that we wanted and bring him the money later.  Wow!  Even though we are regular customers there, I was still surprised and honored that he would be so trusting.  It reminded me that we are in Belize, where small-town courtesies have not gone by the wayside, not yet.

We couldn't carry any more on our bikes anyway, so we rode back to our condo to unload and headed right back out for the second trip to get the rest.   Here's our haul:  
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Oranges, mangoes, papayas, limes, avocados, onions, bananas, tomatoes, green beans, and bell peppers
 
Sorry for the lack of blogging recently.  It's been really hot and sunny, and we haven't done anything all that adventurous lately.  We spend more time indoors hiding from the sun, but we do still ride our bikes into town most mornings to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and a few groceries.  

Yesterday Maria gave us some interesting little fruits to try out.  They look like tiny little round limes that are kinda dried out and past prime.  I'd heard of a small round fruit called craboo that is much beloved by locals, but after reading that it stinks and doesn't taste too good if you weren't raised on it, I wasn't too keen to try it.  However, after googling, I determined that these little fruits were not craboo at all -- they are genip, also known as waya.  Here's the web page that confirmed their identity:  San Pedro Sweet Treats: Genip/Waya.
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Genip fruit by a wedding ring for sizing
They are about the size of a grape.  The thin skin is brittle, like limes gone way too dry, but easier to peel.  Inside is a soft, orange fruit that is quite delicious!  It tasted to this Southern gal a lot like a scuppernong grape; and like a scuppernong, you have to suck the pulp off to get the juicy flavor, which seems to have a hint of cantaloupe and maybe mango in there too.  Unlike a scuppernong, there is only one large pit rather than several small seeds.  
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Inside of Genip fruit
For your trouble, you don't get a whole lot of fruit from this small gem, but what you do get is so good, this has to be my favorite new fruit we've tried since moving here.  If only the genip was the size of a mango!

I also wanted to share a few photos from our veranda recently.  With the wall-to-wall sunshine, the sea has been exceptionally turquoise, and there have been some colorful sights right outside our screen doors.  It's always a pleasure to look out and see scenes like this:
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Kiteboarder -- we get quite a few of these coming by. This was the prettiest kite I'd seen.
Or this:
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Parasailer -- this is the first one I remember seeing up this way
And then of course we had the "supermoon" recently, which was stunning rising right over the Caribbean Sea out our doors.
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Early in the evening on Saturday, May 5
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A couple of nights later -- not quite full but very orange and dramatic just after rising
 
I happened to notice a pile of new mystery fruits today at Maria's fruit & vegetable stand, so I asked her about them.  "Apple", she said.  "Belizean apple."  She said they were sweet with just a little sour taste, and that the skin was edible.  What did I have to lose?  She picked out a nice one for us, and we added it to our pile of baby bananas and limes.  

The "apple" must have been reasonably priced as we got it, along with four small limes, and a nice-sized bunch of bananas, for just $8 BZD ($4 US).  And of course Maria threw in a few other veggies for good measure, since we're frequent customers.

When I got home, I started my usual googling to determine exactly what this lovely burgundy pear-shaped fruit actually was.  Turns out, it is a Rose Apple, named because it tastes like rosewater.  Cool!  Rose Apples are very low in calories but high in Vitamins A and C, calcium, and niacin.  What's not to love?  At this point, I gave it a sniff, and it does have the aroma of old-fashioned roses -- you know, roses that actually have a fragrance.  My mother loves all things rose and frequently sprinkles rose water over fruit for a simple Greek dessert, so I wish she could try this interesting new fruit along with us.
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Next to a small lime to show the size
But the proof would be in the tasting.  The flesh inside is fine and very white.  It has a large seed and some "fuzz" around it that I scooped out with a spoon, then I sliced the fruit.  The skin is edible and soft, so there's no need to peel it.
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Interior of Rose Apple
The taste and texture resembled a pear doused in rosewater, with slightly finer flesh, not grainy the way a pear can sometimes be.  It's nice, but like some of the other new tropical fruits we've tried since moving here, I am not sure I'd go out of my way to eat it plain.  I think it would be nice in a fruit salad with brighter colored fruits or chopped up in yogurt. It would also be a good addition to a fruit smoothie.

But it can't beat my favorite "new" fruit since moving here.  That honor still goes to the pitaya (dragonfruit).  Love the seeds, texture, and flavor of that one, but it's out of season at the moment.  I blogged about it in this long post (scroll down to July 5 for info and photos).  But I'm always up for trying yet another tropical treat!

And on a different subject entirely...

Have our adventures given you the itch to come visit Belize yourself?  We usually keep this blog completely non-commercial, but are making a small exception this time since this involves a friend and neighbor of ours....

Ambergris Caye, Belize vacation special - 50% off!

Just in case anyone reading this has a flexible schedule and wants to come stay in a beautiful beachfront condo SOON, our neighbor Mike's unit is available from Feb. 18 through 28 due to a cancellation. He's offering 50% off the usual rate with a four night minimum. This is a one bedroom luxury condo with a sofa bed in the living room as well.  It's a gorgeous unit, just completed last summer. The view of the Caribbean Sea from the large veranda is unbeatable! The special price is $224/night (+ hotel tax/fees of 15%) for those days.  Please see Mike's VRBO link for full details and photos, and tell him Barry and Emily sent you!
 
We made a really delicious chicken salad tonight with all sorts of fresh fruit.  Perfect island food.  
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All the raw ingredients
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The finished product
I can't even recall where we found this recipe, but it's a good one.  We substituted chopped mango for the mandarin oranges.

Banana Chicken Salad
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 / 2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder  (I used a full teaspoon and could have used a little more, actually)
  • 1 can (20 ounces) chunk pineapple, drained  (we used fresh pineapple, but of course!)
  • 2 large firm bananas, sliced  (I used four small "baby bananas" that are so yummy here)
  • 1 can (11 ounces) Mandarin oranges, drained  (substituted a cup of chopped very ripe mango - yum)
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • Salad greens  (Sol Farms organic greens were perfect here!)
  • 3 / 4 cup salted peanuts or cashew halves  (we used Sol Farms salted peanuts)
Place chicken and celery in a large bowl. Combine mayonnaise and curry powder; add to chicken mixture and mix well. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Before serving, add the pineapple, bananas, oranges and coconut; toss gently. Serve on salad greens. Sprinkle with nuts. Serves 4-6.    

We served this on salad greens from this bounty we received from Sol Farms on the mainland this week.  They have wonderful produce, and we're so happy that we can have it delivered to San Pedro.  Our health is improving by the day, I'm quite sure!
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Sol Farms haul o'the week
 
Have you tried soursop?  We hadn't.  We hadn't even seen one before until our friend Debra bought one.  We were game to play too, so we picked up one of these odd looking, prickly, green fruit at Maria's fruit and vegetable stand on Monday.  We had no idea what to expect, and after some diligent googling, I still wasn't too sure if eating it unadorned would be okay.  Most sites I visited mentioned soursop juice, soursop smoothies, soursop ice cream.  But I wanted to keep it simple and try the fruit au naturel first. Supposedly it is ripe when soft to pressure, so last night was the night to give it a try.
Here is what it looked like cut in half.  
The skin is inedible, so I started scraping out the pulp with a grapefruit spoon and removing the rather numerous black seeds on the cutting board as I went.  Some sites I'd checked said that these were toxic, but it was a bit difficult to make sure I'd gotten them all.  The fruit was both fibrous and mushy (perhaps it was slightly overripe, actually?), so a little hard to work with.  I basically had to get my hands in there and feel for the seeds, then cut around them with a knife and pick them out by hand.  This is not what I'd call an exceptionally easy fruit to prepare, but it wasn't any worse than a mango, for instance, which requires cutting carefully around a large center pit.  I make Barry do that!

When all was said and done, I ended up with a bowl of off-white custardy mush that looked like a cross between mashed bananas and steamed won-tons.  Not super appetizing in appearance, but the fragrance was tropical fruity, musky, and nice.  Still, it took a bit of courage to take that first bite.
I tried it first.  It tasted better than it looked.  It was definitely sour, but sweet enough as well.  It tasted kind of like an combination of pineapple and banana, with a hint of cantaloupe.  The texture was both fibrous and mushy, not completely appealing, so I can see why it's normally used more in recipes than on its own.  Still, not bad.  We ate about half of it and saved the second half to throw into a fruit smoothie today.  

Would I buy it again?  The jury is still out.  It's definitely a nutrional powerhouse, containing a variety of vitamins and minerals, and is low in calories.  It may even help in the treatment of cancer.  Here are some additional resources if you want to learn more about this exotic fruit:
 
I've mentioned Maria's fruit stand several times here, since we are frequent customers.  Today we finally got a couple of photos of the lovely lady herself.  She always gives us a freebie or two when we stop in for fruits and veggies, and today our treat was freshly cut slices of delicious watermelon.  She saw about to take photos of each other eating it and ran out to be in the pictures with us.  She is truly a delightful little lady, and we're so happy to support her family's business here in San Pedro.  ¡Te amamos, Maria!
 
It's been a rainy weekend, but nothing brightens up a dreary day quite like Barry's tropical fruit smoothies.  They are delicious!  The recipe is quite flexible, but on a typical day consists of:
  • fresh papaya
  • fresh mango
  • a banana
  • orange juice
  • real vanilla extract
  • chia seeds
  • whey protein powder
  • cinnamon
Sometimes we have fresh pineapple, dragonfruit (pitaya), or coconut, and will throw that in too.
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Blend with crushed ice
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Serve and enjoy
 
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Drinking fresh papaya juice from Maria's fruit stand. So refreshing when dripping with sweat!
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Next pit stop was to snack on a shared apple streudel on our way back from town.
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Today's haul from Maria's -- only $25 BZD ($12.50 US)