Three ingredients in a traditional Mexican Christmas punch are guava and sugar cane (comparatively easy to find fresh in New York) and tejocotes (not). The crabapple-size tejocote, also called the Mexican hawthorn, has firm-textured, juiceless flesh surrounding three to five seeds. The aroma hints at a sweetness that I never did taste; "sour plum" comes closer to the mark. They can be eaten out of hand, the proprietor counseled, but I understand why they're more often found in a well-sugared fruit punch.
Fresh tejocotes ($10 per pound, for 16-20) will disappear from New York by January, the proprietor added; Atlixco and other Mexican grocers do sell jarred tejocotes, in syrup.
Atlixco Deli Grocery
94-11 37th Ave. (at 94th St.), Jackson Heights, Queens