Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Nance--Sour Yellow Cherry

I am so excited because a friend just gave me a gift of nances--something I know I will not be able to find in the US (correct me if I'm wrong!).  Nances are a sour yellow cherry-like fruit that grow plentifully here in the valley of Comayagua.   The picking season is from June to August and most people don't eat them fresh.  They are very popular as a conserve or a ferment with lots of sugar (and sometimes alcohol).  I was told that the bottled nances are best one they have set for about 6 months.  Here, people eat them straight out of the jar (like my second picture,  complete with the little pits), or use them as a topping for ice cream or snow cones ("minutas")  much like we might use maraschino cherries. 

For more info, see this link to Wikipedia :)


Monday, December 29, 2014

La Canasta Basica

One of the best gifts that many families can get during the holidays is what's called a "Canasta basica" or a "basic basket."  This consists of basic staples such as rice, beans, maseca (corn flour for tortillas), coffee, sugar, vegetable shortening or oil, and soap.  Some might have a different combination with spaghetti or wheat flour, etc.  Since the holidays are a time of increased costs for many families, this gift basket can be just the boost they need.  I remember pitching in with a friend and putting together a big one for my future mother in law once (now we just buy her the supplies and forgo the basket).  The plastic tub part of the basket is actually very useful for many families as they are truly multipurpose--soaking and washing clothes,  soaking whole corn to make tortilla masa, holding clean dishes, etc.  My school used to give a canasta basica to all of the cleaning staff at our Christmas and mothers day assemblies which I thought was sweet (until I got a little cynical about it and thought the best gift would be paying them enough to not need a canasta basica, but that's another story).  I saw this nicely packaged version at the supermarket this week--already assembled for about $18 and wanted to share rhis tradition.

Note: the phrase "canasta basica" or "granos basicos" is also used in Honduras to refer to the price of basic goods that everyone eats and uses and is also used to gauge the national economy.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad from Honduras!

Here are a few shots from the 24th to show how Hondurans get ready to party on the 25th.  I couldn't resist snapping one of the ginormous amounts of Salva Vida beer being unloaded and distributed at the grocery store.  The others are of some neighbors and friends' set up for making nacatamales, a traditional food at Christmas.