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Mystery Fruits of Belize: The Plum

Walk down the street of San Pedro and you are bound to see someone selling fruit.  The year-round standards are banana, beautiful pineapples, watermelon, oranges, limes, and papaya.   All grown in Belize (check out my post about the banana industry in the south – super interesting to me.)

And then we get seasonal fruits – all sorts of things that I’d never seen in the states.  Often just available for a few weeks…many of these sweet fruits like soursop, custard apple and mamey are just best fresh.  They are delicate and go bad quickly.

Gorgeous mamey.

And some of them are EXTREMELY tart and while LOVED here, our northerly neighbors (US, Canada) don’t have the same taste in fruit.   Fruits like hog plums, grosella, green mango and the one I’ve finally figured out today – the plum.

Grosella so sour they make your eyes cross as you SPIT it out

In Belize, these fruits are often sold in little plastic bags with salt, red pepper and lime and devoured by kids.  Some are tempered a bit by soaking them in sugar and water or lime.  To give your mouth a fighting chance.

Think healthy Sour Patch Kids.

One of the most popular winter/spring fruits is the plum.  NOT the plum that is purple and sweet – the one that you dry to make a prune.

We have those once in a blue moon – always imported.

They are crispy crunchy green plums.  And we happen to grow TONS of them at Cayo Frances Farm & Fly.  There are about 10 trees and all are practically laying on the ground bursting with fruit.  Each tree tastes different – some too sour for me to eat, some sweeter like a crispy green apple.

The branches of the tree also has some fierce spines – like a lime tree.

Last year, I filled a few buckets with them and sold them for $20bzd a bucket to the fruit vendors in town.  This year I’m just dropping off bags for friends.

Eaten the same day as they are picked, these green plums are pretty delicious.  Sour, yes.  But crispy crunchy and kinda addictive.

I spent about an hour yesterday, googling, trying to find out EXACTLY what type of tree this is.   Try searching for “green plum” and you’ll see why it took me so long!

So interesting to figure out who eats these fruits, what they are called in different countries and if there are any other uses for the plum.

I found that our plum is called The Governor’s Plum or the Coolie Plum in Jamaica.   There is even a reggae song about them by Bob Marley and the Wailers.  Under the Cool and Cozy Coolie Plum Tree.

Most popular in India and Bangladesh – called the Indian jujube – and called the dunk or dung in other parts of the Caribbean, it is officially the Ziziphus Mauritania.

It’s confirmed that the tree produces a RIDICULOUS amount of fruit – 5 to 30 thousand.

Additional uses, ie.  will I go into the business of plum processing and distribution.  Is this plum the next SUPER FOOD?

  • Feeding to camels
  • dried, it is a mild laxative
  • the fruits and bark can be applied to sores
  • much higher in Vitamin C than citrus

Not my ticket to fame and fortune – at least, I can’t see a way.  I’ll have to do more research or get more creative if I am going to become a plum tycoon.

Until then, I will just drop off a bag here and there.  And let the birds eat the rest.

See below for lots more information on fruits of Belize.  One day, I’ll need to do a more official compilation.





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1 thought on “Mystery Fruits of Belize: The Plum

  1. TarheelBornGal

    Fascinating and one of the most fun things about Belize to me — the mystery fruits! If you left your “plums” (green and crunchy) on the trees longer, would they get softer and sweeter? Or just fall off and rot?

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