Hello Sirenian Bay friends!
The rainy season is on its way here, which means that mango season is coming!
Here’s a fun fact: the Caribbean is home to 900 different varieties of this amazing fruit, with 15 (yes, 15) of those found locally around Placencia.
Ours go way beyond the famous Julie mango to include blue, black, white mangos, and even the garlic mango, named for its subtle notes of garlic. In Placencia you’ll see mango trees growing all over: in the forest, along the road, and in people’s yards. And we eat them in ways you’d never believe. Stewed, in jam, cheesecake, barbecue sauce…and even wine!
But mangoes aren’t even close to being the king of the fruits here. Let’s take a look at some of the other tropical wonders that make our fruit salads like nothing you’ve ever tasted.
Sapodilla. Sapodilla, aka chico, is a Belizean native. Identifiable by its leathery skin and orange flesh, it has a custard-like flavour that makes it perfect as a dessert or as an ingredient in a smoothie. But if you’re in a hurry, sapodilla isn’t for you. Trees can take 8 years to fruit, with the fruits themselves needing up to 24 months to ripen!
Soursop. Don’t let the spiky green skin of the soursop fool you—it’s a softie inside! Taste-wise, it’s a delicious blend of strawberry and pineapple, with a creamy texture that’s a bit like banana or coconut. You’ll find soursop juice used in candy, sorbet, ice-cream, milkshakes and smoothies. Tasty stuff!
Prickly pear. Another Belizean native, prickly pear is a jewel-colored fruit that grows on the nopales of the prickly pear cactus. Stunning to look at, the fruit tastes a bit like watermelon mixed with bubble gum, and is popular in cocktails, vinaigrettes, jams and syrups. A word of warning: while market pricklies come pre-cleaned, if you’re picking your own, wear gloves to protect yourself from their tiny thorns.
Water apples. Bell-shaped and waxy, water apples have an ultra-sweet, crispy taste, along with a watermelon-like texture. They’re originally from Malaysia, but have become a popular favorite here.
Cacao. In Belize we’re chocolate-lovers from way back. Grown on the cacao tree, the cacao fruit contains dozens of almond-shaped beans covered in a sweet white flesh. Since you’re probably only familiar with the taste of the ground beans, I highly recommend giving the flesh a try.
Breadfruit. Though not a native to the region, we’ve definitely claimed the breadfruit as our own. Rich in starch, the breadfruit is at its sugary best when very ripe, and is popular roasted, baked or fried with dinner.
Genips. Last, but most certainly not least, genips—known by about 20 different names regionally—are a small, exotic fruit that looks a bit like a melon ball in a lime skin. Tart and tangy, these tiny beauties are a whole new experience for your tastebuds.
These are just a handful of the amazing fruits that we might have sitting in the fruit bowl in our villas at any given time. For a more comprehensive taste of the Belizean orchards, you might just need to come and visit!
Well, that’s all from me for now! Until next time!