Noni & Guifiti

While in Guanaja (Honduras), I learned about a couple of regional health elixirs from the locals and wanted to share my discovery.

One is noni juice from the noni shrub. A 75 year old ex-deep-sea marine I spoke with swears by the stuff, drinks the juice every day, and admits it tastes pretty bad. The fruit, leaves, flowers, bark, and roots have been eaten and used topically for hundreds of years by different cultures to treat various ailments. Many claim that noni contains valuable nutrients and phytochemicals that can treat asthma, lower cholesterol and inhibit cancerous cells from growing - a controversial claim that "modern" medicine has not proven yet...

Another is the Garifuna tonic guifiti - an elixer of plants soaked in rum. Made from medicinal plants (including local spices and noni), the recipe is guarded and passed on generation to generation. The Garifuna use guifiti for all sorts of ailments: impotence, menstrual cramps, pain relief, nerves, high blood pressure, low blood pressure... I remember the bottle I saw had a long list of all sorts of things. I tried some, and it was spicy, herby and swampy tasting - not that bad :-)

Images: Noni photos from Wikipedia, Guifiti photo by April

Guanaja Mango Vinegar & Roatan Honey

Booty! I scored these exquisite locally produced goods while on The Bay Islands, Honduras.

The Springers make this delicious fruity organic vinegar from their own mango trees on the little mountainous island of Guanaja: it's like a mango version of apple cider vinegar. Awesome on salads with olive oil and a bit of sea salt.

I love tasting honey from all over the world. This fragrant honey made on the island of Roatan reminds me of Yucatan honey, as it has similar exotic floral and orange blossom aromas - likely from orchids and orange trees. I overhead someone saying that this honey was made by stingless bees - endangered native bees cultured by the Mayans.

Lime in the Coconut

I'm back from the Bay Islands, and had an absolutely amazing time - many fantastic adventures... Rum was the drink of choice, so I enjoyed lots of delicious fruity cocktails made with Flor De CaƱa. Danny at West Peak Inn scored some fresh coconuts for us - a total treat. This was my favourite way to enjoy one of these:

  • have someone experienced with machetes and coconuts hack one of these open for you. A hole about the size of a quarter in one end is all you need.
  • drink about 1/3 of the milk with a straw
  • pour in 1-2 shots of white rum
  • fill the rest with fresh sweetened lime juice (or the juice of a lime and simple syrup or other sweetener)
  • enjoy :-)

Photo by Crispin

Recipes from the Depths

I'm off to the Caribbean for a couple of weeks for some much needed R&R - this time The Bay Islands, Honduras! (Interesting fact: Honduras means "the depths" in Spanish.) Besides relaxing in a hammock under a coconut palm, hanging out in a mango tree, snorkeling with sea turtles, and kayaking, I'm looking forward to enjoying a lot of fresh fruit and fish and other local fare.

Here are some regional recipes that sound wonderful:

Honduran Mango Avocado Salsa - Great with fish.
Caribbean Recipes from Roatan Honduras - Check out the Baked Mango Dessert, Coconut Bread, and Johanna's Mango Salsa "to die for".
Tortillas - A Honduran staple. This is a very good detailed description on how to make your own - fresh is so much better!
Garifuna Backyard Oven Allspice Cinnamon Buns - Sarita the "Sweet Bun Lady" uses her great-grandmother's recipe. Great story.

Hasta luego mi amigos!