Craboo tree flowering, Maya Center Village
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Tuesday June 2, 2015

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Craboo tree flowering (aka Nance)

By the banana stand at the north end of Maya Center Village. This was in late April.

Mmmmm. We have so much wild craboo around here. My pigs loooove it and it makes them taste yummy too. It is called rain tree in Belize but the true name is saman tree or mimosa large tree. The leaves close in the late eaving and open in the morning, that the reason it is called the rain tree because when the leaves open the leaves have water and fell on the ground always cool and grass grows under it most of the time. This one has a small round sweet fruit. Sour craboo are found in the Pine Ridge.

Craboo is a small tree with many benefits. The tree itself is drought tolerant, and easy to cultivate in a wide range of environments. It is also pleasing to look at; during the dry season, the branches are covered with showy yellow blooms that slowly turn orange-red. The fruit skin is high in tannins and can be used to dye cloth a light brown color. In Guyana and Mexico, the pulverized bark is used to treat wounds among other ailments.

Despite its usefulness, this tree has never been widely cultivated outside of its native range spanning Mexico to Brazil. Itís possible that the unique flavor and scent of the bright yellow fruit have contributed to this. The flavor can range from bland to sweet, acidic, or even cheesy with a strong odor to match. The odor becomes especially strong once the fruit falls and begins fermenting on the ground.

Craboo is well loved by many Belizeans who grew up eating it and know the fermented fruit as a special Christmas treat. Other recipes for the fruit include fermenting it into wine, stewing it with sugar, serving cold with condensed milk, and frozen into ice cream.

Photograph by Jerry Brown

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