Today’s Belize Photo of the Day is The Cauldron of the Chiclero which was used to process chicle.
The primary use of the cauldron was to hold the sap from the Sapodilla Tree which was then boiled over a large fire. The sap would be stirred constantly with a solid wooden stick until thickened with its texture becoming thick and taffy-like. The stretchy liquid was then placed into hollow wooden molds where it was left to cool and harden.
In the mid 1800’s, chicle was abundantly harvested in Belize and was exported to the United States to the American Chicle Company to process into chewing gums and this inspired many US companies to create the flavored chewing gum that we know of today.
Chicle has been trapped from the sapodilla trees since the time of the ancient Maya. Exports declined, however, when cheaper synthetics took over the market.
Photo taken by Naturalist Guide: Meshack Eliah