After just a few minutes in the hot sun, it was easy to understand why the Corozal market was a ghost town. By 8:30am, most of the locals had already done their shopping for the day and were already onto the next errand, breakfast. Instead of wandering the stalls like us tourists, they were huddled around taco stands or eating breakfast in the shade. Being off schedule afforded us the ability to wander through the stalls alone and gawk at the produce. Some of it was unmistakeable, a watermelon and pineapple are easy to spot. But those green citrus fruits, what are they? And how exactly does one tell the difference between a banana and a plantain? Let the wandering commence.
Unmistakably, habaneros are a staple in the Belizean diet. Almost every stall had piles of them overflowing in a variety of shades of ripening (and heat.) Those purple ones, I've been told can pack a punch.
Root vegetables abound from the cassava to the potato, which are all stars of Belizean cooking. One such dish is the "boil up" that features cassava (seen above), sweet potato, plantains, fish and pig's tail.
Ginger wasn't something I thought I would see in Belize, but there it was and some of the most beautiful ginger I have ever seen.
In addition to fresh produce, dried goods were also for sale. Beans in a variety of shades, as well as pepitas or pumpkin seeds. Roasted and salted, they make a tasty snack.
Possibly the most educational part of the market was to realize that citrus is not always what it seems. Here the oranges were green and ripe according to our local guides. Later, when we spotted a lime that was orange (both inside and out), our minds were fully blown.
Just like the rest of the world, you can find imported foods, as well. Washington apples were front and center with the rest of the local wares.
Banana or plantain? To be honest, I still don't know the difference. But the look of polite horror on the face of our driver as a fellow blogger took a big bite of one, will forever remind me that one does not eat a plantain raw, not in Belize, at least.
My trip to the Corozal market felt like more of a museum visit than shopping. Lots of confused looks and questions. Asking, what is this? What do you do with it? It felt odd to be in a market without a purpose or a meal to prepare. On my next trip, I'll be sure to rise early and head out when the locals do. So I could watch them at work, finding the best bargain, and see what mom was picking up to feed her family. And I'll have a kitchen handy to try my hand at doing the same.