The cohune palm is a well known source of oil in Belizean kitchens and was one of the most important trees in the Mayan culture. Ancient civilizations used cohune oil for nutritional and medicinal purposes, as a moisturizer, in cosmetics and makeup, cooking, soaps, just to name a few.
Making cohune oil is hard work and not for the lazy. Flesh from cohune nuts are harvested, dried then pounded in a wooden bowl referred to as mortar and using a round-ended stick called a pestle. The pulverized cohune is put in a drum and then boiled until its fat floats to the top. That fat is scraped off then put into a smaller pot and fried until all water is removed. The finished product: golden cohune oil.
It was the brainchild of the Flowers Bank Women’s Group to turn the production of Cohune oil which they do so well, into a business venture geared toward putting money back into the pockets of residents of the river valley area. The product will initially be sold locally, but big plans are in store to make Flowers Bank cohune oil reach the shelves of international supermarkets.
Written by Kimberly Timmons