More stuff from the jungle

Mahogany Trees

Recently Ruben brought over 15 Mahogany trees for us that were about 6 months old. We were concerned about how they would grow under the cover of all the other trees on the property, or if we would have to clear an area for them. He said that it would be perfect under the other trees because they will grow tall and straight in search of sunlight and we would end up with nice trees. Since that is the case, as soon as the farmers have more seeds we will get more started and hopefully, by next year we will have a few hundred mahogany trees growing on the property. I have read that they can be harvested in as little as 10 years or wait 25 years till they are fully mature. At any rate, this will be great for our son or our grandkids in the future and hopefully, they can harvest them and build something really awesome.

Homemade mustard. Very easy to make and much better than store-bought.

There are some things that you just can’t find here such as stone-ground mustard. Having all that pastrami we just made, we knew it needed a good mustard. So after looking around for quite a while we found some mustard seeds and decided that we could make our own. Kelley looked up a recipe and ended up making some good spicy mustard that goes great with the pastrami.

Hopefully, we will have jars of pepperoncinis soon.

Other things that are hard to find here, but not impossible are pepperoncinis which also go great with a pastrami sandwich. So we ordered in some seeds and now we have about 50 plants growing. If all goes well, within a few months we should have some nice pickled pepperoncinis.

Hot sauce experiments

We only have a couple habanero and bird pepper plants (which is about all you really need) and they produce quite a few peppers. We usually just dry them and grind them up for later use, but we had quite a bit of ground peppers so we decided to make some hot sauces. The combinations of different spices and peppers gave each one a distinct flavor, now we just have to narrow it down to which ones we like the best. Oh…and they are all very hot!

Drying coffee bean skins.

Our coffee is starting to ripen and at this point, we are getting a small handful every other week or so. The other day Kelley was peeling the skins off the beans and asked if you could do anything with them. So a quick google search and it turns out you can make a tea with them called Cherry Skin tea or Cascara. I guess it’s a common tea in coffee-growing nations and is just catching on in the states, fetching more price per pound than the actual coffee bean itself. I’ll give it a try and let you know what I think, who knows maybe we are onto something here?

Jujube fruit

When we were initially buying all of our fruit trees we bought one called a Chinese Plum. We had no idea what it was, but we were curious to see and taste the fruit that would come off it. Well, it started to bear fruit and after a little more research we found out that a more common name is the Jujube fruit. It’s a small fruit between the size of a cherry and a plum. When green it has the texture of an apple and taste pretty good. And I guess when it turns brown it takes on more of a date flavor. It has a wide variety of culinary uses from soups to jams to wines. It’s a good thing there are a lot of different uses for this Jujube as the tree is loaded with new fruit right now and this is only the first year.

Grilled portobello mushroom with lobster. Nothing wrong with that!

All restaurants here are still closed with the exception of takeout or delivery and that really doesn’t work for us since we are quite a ways from them. Cooking at home has been great, but the percentage of the time we usually end up making the same things over and over. So we started getting a little more creative and thinking, if we saw this on a menu would we order it? So this week we came up with a grilled lobster stuffed Portobello mushroom. Olive oil the mushroom, add some Italian seasoning, a little mozzarella cheese, topped with lobster and a few scallions on top of that. Surprisingly it was very light and it was pretty tasty too. We think it could be a keeper.

Less than three minutes and it’s done.

Kelley also recently made some pesto with the peanuts and basil from the garden, so we decided to fire up the pizza oven and make a lobster, artichoke heart, and pesto pizza. Of course, there were also some basic pepperoni and homemade sausage pizzas. Since we’re not going out to any restaurants we are definitely trying some new recipes and hopefully the good ones we can share with you sometime when you are down here.

The new pizza peel getting tested for the first time.

Since the pizza oven was fired up, it was a great time to try out my new pizza peel that I recently made. It’s made out of scrap tongue and groove Nargosta hardwood, leftover from the house build, so it should hold up very well.

We are having a lot of fun growing and trying things here that we never thought we could grow or even knew that they existed. Plus making from scratch all the different things that we used to just run to the store and buy. We are seriously in a foodies paradise, and we are loving it!

The Egg Update

A very tiny gecko

The picture of the little eggs we found in the garage a few weeks ago finally hatched. They were just what we thought they were, geckos. We let them go outside, but I think they found their way back into the garage. There are a few geckos, other lizards, and usually a toad that lives in there. I assume by all their turds around that they are eating a lot of the bugs, otherwise they probably wouldn’t be living in the garage.

The airport has been closed since March (192 days), but next week it opens back up for tourists and travel. We also just got word that restaurants can open back up to dine-in customers with reservations, but limited to ten at a time. We’ll keep you updated on how this all goes so that we can all start making plans once again.

3 thoughts on “More stuff from the jungle”

  1. Once again a great blog, you and Kelley seem to have an endless supply of home grown fruits and vegetables and are doing a great job of using them all. The pizza oven is awesome.
    Do your neighbors live off the land like you?
    I am heading back to Choya in a few days for a 9 month stay. Looking forward to meeting your granddaughter, sorry you didn’t get to be at her birth.
    When you do get to come up to see her and if you have time to come to Choya please let me know. I miss you guys, even though the blog is like I’m right there in Belize with you!
    Stay safe and healthy, I hope the tourists coming in will be screened for COVID-19 and keep Belize safe and open.
    Best regards,
    Jeff Calvert
    4 Aces, Choya Bay 🇲🇽

    1. Hello Jeff,
      Yes a lot of the locals here have big gardens and we share when possible. Plus when a neighbor processes pork or beef they will offer it to us at a great price. Yes we are definitely planning a trip to Cholla next year. Have a safe trip back down, tell everyone we said hi and stay safe.

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