The Ice Cream Bean tree, also called Inga Bean (or pacay), has been around for thousands of years. Ice cream beans were an ancient food of the Incas, and are indigenous to Central and South America.
Today, ice cream bean trees thrive in other parts of the world where the climate is warm and humid, for example, in Mexico, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Australia, Africa and areas in the U.S.
Trees grow to around 60 feet and produce giant bean pods nearly a yard in length. The fruit inside, a fluffy white pulp, is a favorite with wildlife and enjoyed as a snack by people. The taste has been compared to vanilla ice cream and cotton candy. It is also used to flavor desserts and has been used in the past to make an alcoholic beverage. The large seeds are also edible and eaten as a vegetable.
Some folk remedies for the leaves, roots, and bark include treatment for diarrhea, arthritis, headaches, eyes, and rheumatism. The pulp is somewhat high in calories, but low in fat and a source of vitamins A, B1, and C, and generally an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer preventative. The bean is the most nutritious, but toxic if eaten raw.
I don't know about you, but any fruit that tastes like ice cream gets my vote, but I can't grow it in my Zone 4-5 garden. It can only be grown in Zones 9 and 10. Have you ever eaten or grown this fruit?
How to Eat an Ice Cream Bean: (video link)
Sources: http://parade.condenast.com/245121/linzlowe/what-the-heck-is-an-ice-cream-bean/; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inga_feuilleei; http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/inga_edulis.html; http://food-nutrition.knoji.com/ice-cream-bean-nutritious-low-fat-tropical-vanilla-ice-cream-flavor-snack/