Strange Fruit in Belize: Cashew and Wax Apples + Off to the Belmopan Agriculture Trade Show I Go

‘Tis the season for fruit in Belize and two new ones arrived at my local fruit stand yesterday morning.  One tasty and one downright horrible.Let’s start on a positive note:  the wax apple or the rose apple or the water apple.  Aptly named since it has a waxy skin and tastes like a juicy, crisp, watery apple.

Ideally darker red like these…

they are almost hollow.  Eat the skin and the crisp crisp flesh leaving just the bottom core.  I think you might like them.

The cashew fruit, on the other hand is a far more interesting for a number of reasons.  One reason is the sickly sweet, rotten taste and smell.

Another is their beauty.  That cannot be denied.

The true fruit of the plant is the greenish/gray kidney bean at the end.  That contains one cashew nut.  Botanically speaking (as I often am), it isn’t even a nut.  It’s a seed.  The husk contains irritants and toxins similar to poison ivy.  Only by proper roasting in an open area are those poisons cooked out and the nut can be extracted.

The yellow, orange, red “false fruit” is also eaten.  The cashew apple has a very thin, rubbery skin, is super juicy and well…SWEET.  Rotten sweet.  The smell of the fruit is very distinct.  It says it all.

In Belize, the juice can be made into Cashew Wine.  To me, the “wine” tastes like super sweet teriyaki sauce.  If that is your dream liqueur flavoring…you, my friend, are in luck.  Drink to your heart’s content.

Most stores carry this brand made by Traveller’s Rum.

Once you get out on the mainland, you can find more local brews.  There should be plenty of tastings at this year’s Cashew Festival in May in Crooked Tree.

The actual tree is crooked and relatively squat (usually but can grow up to 25 feet high) but quite broad across the top.

Here’s a cool bit of trivia.  The largest cashew tree in the world is in Brazil and covers 7,500 square meters (81,000 square feet!!!).  Yankee Stadium’s field in New York is 11,500 square feet.  (Fan capacity 52,535.)

An American football field is about 58,000 square feet.  (Here is Cowboy Stadium, capacity 80,000 people.)

An international Soccer field is about 78,000 square feet.  Here is one of the biggest stadiums in the world, Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.  It seats 104,000 people.

Are you picking up what I am laying down?  This tree is a MONSTER. And produces 60,000 fruit a year.  Oh my…just think of the scent when the fruit start falling from the tree!  It is in the Guinness Book of World Records.  And blissfully far from my home.  Though last night…when the wind shifted…I swore I could smell it.

The nut?  Delicious.  One of the best on earth.  Sometimes called a “magic nut”, it is filled with vitamins, minerals and proteins.  Vegans love them.  The smooth fatty cashew butter is a good substitute for dairy butter in lots of recipes.

Enough about cashews.  And don’t worry for all of you who are getting bored with me blabbing about fruit all the time…

I will be in Belmopan (sweating, drinking, eating and sweating some more) for the next two days at the Agriculture and Trade Show.  (Tropic Air to Belize City Municipal and then the bus.) Stay tuned for pictures of plants, fruits, food, animals, rodeos, rides, kids and who knows what else on Monday.

And then Monday morning, I am taking the new Tropic Air flight to San Pedro Sula to do some exploring in Honduras.

Talk to you soon.

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