I don’t remember a better year for mangos on Ambergris Caye. I’m not sure if it is a blowout year on the mainland for mangos. Or that there are fewer consumers (no tourists!) of fresh fruit in Belize right now. OR if mango-tree-owners are extra-incentivized to distribute more fruit (and maybe make a bit more money uring these TOUGH economic times.)
Whatever it is? I am EXTREMELY grateful for the cheap, plentiful mangos we are seeing on Ambergris Caye.
Let me back up a bit and tell you a bit about my experience with mangos in Belize.
- They grow in ABUNDANCE on the mainland – both near and far from the sea. The seaside town of Hopkins Belize is known for her mangos. They have a festival each year (though 2020s was obviously canceled) to celebrate the fruit. They are literally everywhere…so many litter the street that even the birds can’t keep up. SO MUCH FUN.
- Mangos are seasonal fruits – so we only see them from about late May until August. Any other fresh mango outside of those dates? Is probably an illegal import from Mexico.
- There are very few mango trees on Ambergris Caye. I’m not sure if it is the soil (or lack of it) – the sea spray and salt…the shortage of rain for 5-6 months of the year. I actually bought 4 beautiful mango trees at the 2018 Hopkins Mango Festival. They flourished for about one year – growing a few feet taller at the camp. Jeff and I spent hours mooning over the trees and dreaming about feasting on mangos in our retirement. But last year, the entire country suffered a terrible drought…and salt leached up through the soil and killed them. (The trees were actually grafted – local mango tree trunk, Philippine Gold branches from the queen of mangos – Miss Emma)
Here’s a pic of one of her Phillippine golds. (sounds a bit like a name for heroin or…I’ve been watching too many episodes of Narcos recently)
When I bought some yesterday – he also had some delicious MAMEY. A sweet, almost custard-like fruit that you are going to want to try. Dusty and brown on the outside and inside? (Here’s my write up on this cool fruit)
Strange Fruit: Grocera or Grosella
Earlier in the week I visited David for another supply of fresh mangos. He had jars of what looked like berries…a green color so pale, they were almost white.
Grocera, David said. Do I want to try?
I didn’t…not really. You see…we have a few grocera trees at the camp.
In April and May, the strange berries grow and…as I stated in the blog a few years ago…if there was a scale of things SOUR from 1 to 10. These things are definitely 110.
The tree is actually called Phyllanthus acidus and is a type of gooseberry.
Grocera is not to be eaten raw. Here – they are soaked in salt, white vinegar, wild oregano and habanero – and are crispy (watch out for the small seed in the center) and taste so much like spicy pickles. They are delicious!
I fully expect to see these used to garnish Bloody Mary’s and Micheladas…and used to make dirty martinis soon.
I have the jar in the fridge and I’m snacking on them now…
Four Belize dollars for the jar? You can’t beat it!
Have a great holiday weekend in the States and stay safe everyone!