Belize Fruit Caimito-1

What: Caimito

Come again? Kai-mee-toe

Try me one more time: Fine…Star Apple, Milk Fruit, Aguay, Estrella, Pomme du lait…in Sierra Leone it’s actually referred to as breast milk fruit…

Okay, okay…so what is it? It’s a fruit (duh) and it’s delicious.

That’s helpful…Well, scientifically speaking, it is a tropical tree – Chrysophyllum Cainito, from the Sapotaceae family. The tree is native to Central America and the West Indies, growing quickly and up to 20 meters in height. It has tiny purplish-white flowers with an amazing sweet smell. The tree is hermaphroditic.

It’s what? Hermaphroditic; that means it’s self-fertilizing.

That is so cool! Right?! So it self-fertilizes, and produces these little round, purple-skinned fruits. Actually, in Belize, the majority of the fruits are green. But purple abounds as well. The skin and rind are not edible, but wow the fruit itself delicious. The texture is almost jelly-like, and it is sweet and refreshing. One warning: the skin and rind are rich in latex, so you end up with super sticky mouth. It’s really fun to glue one’s lips together while eating them; it’s all in the fun!

Belize Fruits Caimito-2

So you play with your fruits…Are you done judging? Because I can tell you, not only is it playful and fun to eat, it also has amazing health properties*. The fruit contains anti-oxidants, the bark is considered a tonic and stimulant. An infusion of the leaves has been known to be effective against diabetes and articular rheumatism.

Where can I find these little gems: There’s a season for them, well, here in Belize anyway. You can often find them around March – right around what ya’ll call spring. It is the first of the deliciously yummy fruit season, closely followed by the mango. Fruit vendors, stalls around the corner, kids walking around with baskets of them, etc., those are some of the ways to get your grubby paws on some. Keep your eyes peeled, and elbow your way through the throng to make sure you get at least one. Enjoy!!

*Health Disclaimer: Always check with your general physician before taking these home-made, homeopathic remedies.

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About the Author: Mary Gonzalez

Mary Gonzalez writes under the pseudonym ‘Tia Chocolate’. Tia Chocolate enjoys writing short stories that focus on her life growing up in the small Maya village of San Antonio, Cayo District, Belize.

Tia loves (and we mean LOVE) eating and writing about her food experiences, often times trying out new recipes to try and recreate the foods of her memories. She also loves to travel, indulging in the culture wherever she is privy to visit.

She is slave to a giant cat named Kitty Boo Boo, and her cooking exploits are enjoyed by her significant other, Pookie.


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