Stewed Craboo

The craboo or nance is a large shrub or small tree that is well known and enjoyed in Belize. The tree produces a fruit that the local children and adults love.

Once ripe, the craboo drops to the ground. The fruit is peculiarly odorous, orange-yellow, round, 8 to 12 centimeters wide, with a thin skin and white, juicy, oily pulp varying in flavor from bland to sweet, acid, or cheese-like. Even though it has an offensive odor, the fruits are eaten with rice, in soups, in tamales and as preserves. The craboo wood has a very pleasant odor which some people use for smoking meats. Bark infusions are said to help cure diarrhea and gum disease. Belizeans use the bark infusion as an antidote for snakebite. Whatever its name, it is both prolific and popular in Belize.

Children and adults alike like to smash the fruit and mix it with evaporated milk for a desert. But one special treat made with the craboo is when it is stewed. The stew craboo may have a peculiar smell, but apart from that it is equally yummy and scrumptious. The process of making the stew craboo may be time consuming, but the end result makes a perfect snack.

In a pot, rinse and wash fruit properly and add ingredients; sugar, water, spice seed and cinnamon. Place on medium heat and leave to simmer until mixture turns syrupy and the fruit brown. You can add more water and sugar to its contents and longer on the heat, which is usually the best thing. Let it cool and the serve. This stewed craboo and countless more can also be bought in San Pedro at Antojitos Letty’s on Pescador Drive.

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