Excerpts courtesy Ambergriscaye.com
The ingenuity and traditional practices of colonial communities in Belize have long helped sustain their livelihoods. In some small villages in Belize, the art of cohune palm oil extraction once became a valuable income earner for slaves during the off-season months of the timber trade.
The methods used by slaves to process cohune nuts were labor intensive, but today, modern technology is enabling their descendants to produce valuable cohune oil while preserving the local ecosystem.
Cohune oil is derived from the kernels of the fruits, or huts, of the cohune palm tree. The nuts, once cracked, are sun-dried and then pounded. The pounded mass is mixed into excess water and boiled for hours, and the oil is skimmed off. Finally, the oil is heated and purified. It is used both for cooking to give a nutty flavor and for hair and body treatments.
At Caribbean Spice Belize, we buy cohune oil from local village women and bottle it for sale. You can buy cohune oil here!
The nuts are also roasted and eaten, as well as the heart of the tree. The bunches of nuts usually weigh over 50 pounds. The palm leaves are also harvested around full moon for thatch to make palapa roof. You can order cohune oil, still made by local Mayans.