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Fruits of the Island

Last year while walking downtown Albert Street in Belize City, I saw a fruit vendor offering for sale seagrapes. She had a whole bucket and told me she got it from San Pedro. They were being sold at a dollar a bag. Last week a young man passed by my house offering sea grapes at five dollars for a small bag. These incidents reminded me of fruits of San Pedro because seagrapes grow wild in San Pedro and nobody thinks of buying them because it is a sport to go picking grapes.

The seagrapes of San Pedro grow on trees and not on vines like grapes do. The entire island is infested with these trees which give a very sweet fruit with one large seed and little flesh around it. It is purple when ripe, but there is the white variety which remains green even when ripe. There used to be only one tree in town right by the cemetery and most of the hunting of grapes used to be in the dense bush. Today it is right on the side of the roads.

Guavas also grew wild on Ambergris Caye and were grown in some yards. It was a popular sport to go Sunday evening along the coast at some areas like Tres Cocos, Mata Rocks, Habaneros, Palmeros, Punta Piedra and as far as Bercellon to get these delicious fruits.

Two very delicious fruits a bit difficult to describe and with no known English name were Caniste and pinuela. Caniste is a golden yellow when ripe with a tangy sweet flesh around several seeds. There is a tree right across from Tienda Los Caminantes on the road and another one in the alley that leads entrance to Xanadu Resort. The other fruit, the pinuela, only grew in the Basil Jones area (Bercellon) and is a small fleshy fruit, sweet and sour with tiny seeds that grows at the base of a grass type plant. One plant can give you up to fifty pinuelas.

This was our large variety of fruits that grew locally on the Island. Of course we have always had the coco plums which grow all around the seagrapes. The almonds have also grown in abundance in San Pedro but not everybody eats the flesh of the almonds and everyone is too lazy to crack the seeds to enjoy the nuts. A few other fruits grown locally by some people in their backyards are papayas, watermelons, pomegranate, and bananas. And this is pretty much all about fruits in San Pedro twenty five years ago.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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