Of all the fruit trees mentioned in this section, one smallish species may be both the least known by Northerners, and yet one of the most commonly found around Maya homes. A raceme of its yellowish, 2/5ths-inch wide (1cm) fruits is shown below:

NANCE fruits

This is the Nance, which is the Spanish name, and in Spanish it's pronounced NAHN-seh. It's Byrsonima crassifolia of the Malpighia Family, a family little known to Northern plant lovers.

My impression is that in the old days the tree's fruits were much more appreciated by the Maya than now. Before the days when every Maya felt entitled to his or her daily Coke, Nance fruits were used to make a sweet beverage reminding me of Kool-Aid. Mash a pan of Nance fruits into juice and pulp, add about a quart (liter) of water, sweeten to taste, and you have a nice drink. Fancier recipes are known by every family. Nance fruit pulp is white and oily, and varies in flavor from sweet to acid to cheesy, to having not much taste at all. Depending on the flavor, the fruits might also be eaten raw, cooked as desserts like plum stew, added to soups, or even used as stuffing for meats.

Families who no longer use their Nance fruits might keep the tree around just for their pretty flowers, shown below:

NANCE flowers

The individual ¾-inch-wide flowers (2cm) are elegant little things, as made clear below:

NANCE flower