October is our slow season in Caye Caulker and Belize. The sandy streets are quiet with the exception of a few backpackers enjoying the island and all the discounts available. It is the time, when most business’s close and prepare for the upcoming busy season. It is also the peak time of Hurricane Season which officially ends November 30th. October 1st is the first day of Conch Season. All the fishermen have been busy and the local kitchens have been busy cooking up some of the favorite dishes that have been missed. The conch is a beautiful pink shell that you see all throughout the Caribbean. Food that is made with the conch meat is Conch Fritters, Conch Ceviche, Conch Burger, Conch Steak, Conch Soup are available to try. The season closes June 30th, so there is plenty of time to try out any of these dishes on the island.
Here is a recipe for Conch Fritters, you can try these at home and exchange conch for Shrimp, Lobster or Crab.
3/4 cup flour
1 egg (whisked) mix with 1/2 cup milk
salt / pepper to season
mix all ingredients in a bowl (add wet to dry)
Add finely chopped 1/2 small to medium size onion and green pepper
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
and one cup of chopped conch.
Mix all ingredients, should be a semi thick batter, that you will drop by big tablespoons into hot vegetable oil, that has been heated to 356F or 185C fry to golden brown and serve with this easy to make dip.
2 tablespoons of ketchup combine with 1 tablespoon of mayo, 2 teaspoons of lime juice and hot sauce to spice up.
Conch pearls are one of the most rare and valuable of all natural pearls. It has been estimated that approximately 1 in 10,000 conch produce a pearl and of these only a few possess the color, shape and flame pattern necessary to be considered a gem. The color of conch pearls varies greatly. Pearls are most often found white, brown, beige, yellow, orange, pink, or red. The latter two being the most sought after.
Like all pearls the “Conch Pearl” is produced by a living organism and is sensitive to acids, solvents and long exposure to sun light. Therefore, as with all pearls, care should be taken. I am lucky enough to have a ring that was locally made with a conch pearl. It is over 10 years old now and it still has a pretty pink colour. There is lots of souvenir items that locals make out of the shell. Lots get piled under docks and lots are used as fill for concrete pouring.