Visitors to Belize often find themselves impressed by the immense biodiversity on view in our tropical country. Offshore, the Belize Barrier Reef is home to thousands of species of fish. On land, hundreds of bird species are a delight to naturalists. But did you know that coconuts, too, come in abundance in Belize? We’ve got more than 25 native species of coconut trees!
The plentiful tree, a relative to the date palm, has a long history, and myriad uses. Its fronds provide shade to crops and wildlife below, and its trunks provide lumber. In Belize, locals climb coconut trees with a long stick to whack the fruit off its perch. The coconut shell works great as a bowl and other utensils, while the husk, when burned, can provide charcoal and acts as an insect repellent. But it’s what’s inside the coconut that we love most—though you have to work for it! A machete helps cut the fruit open. That’s where you’ll find nutrient-rich coconut meat (the source for coconut oil), and—to the delight of every thirsty beachgoer— refreshing coconut water.
At Itz’ana, one of our favorite coconut recipes is our pickled coconut relish. A mixture of sweet and tangy, it’s a great condiment for crackers and meats. The simple recipe is a breeze to make, although it takes three days to fully pickle. Here’s how to make Itz’ana’s Coconut Relish.
Enjoy as a spread after at least three days of brining.
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