Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Ice Cream Bean : Yummy Fruits A-Z


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/


21 comments:

  1. Hi human, Sharon,

    Wow, that was cool. I had no idea about such a tree. I wonder if there's a Neapolitan version of that tree. I was a little surprised it could grow in New Zealand. The weather there, even on the North Island, can be most unpredictable.

    Thank you for this, my kind human friend.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

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    1. Hmm....online source said it could grow in NZ....but you would know! I'm with you on the neapolitan version. That would be perfect!

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  2. Never knew about the ice cream bean before. How cool!

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    1. I'm still fantasizing about this tree. I wonder if I can grow it indoors.

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  3. I'd never heard of this fruit. Ice cream bean - I'd like to try it if it tastes like vanilla. I like vanilla and cotton candy. It never fails to amaze me - how many wonderful plants that can be found on this planet - how thankful we should be.

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    1. Hi fanny. Bet it smells good too. I love the scent of vanilla in my home.

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  4. Never heard of this one. Probably because I don't live in zone 9 or 10.

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    1. Makes me think we are missing out on a lot. Thanks, Tracy.

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  5. If they had to name a tree after me (well, lots of people call me Inga instead of Inge), an ice cream tree could not have been a better choice...must go now - the grocery store is beckoning!

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    1. Oh, Inge. L.O.L. Just now make the connection on your name. That is so cool!

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  6. Oh wow, never heard of this before. Nothing wrong with a fruit that tastes like ice cream!

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    1. Definitely agree....really gotta try this fruit!

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  7. I have never heard of ice cream bean before, and I would like to try this if I were to see one where I live.

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    1. Hi. Welcome! Thanks for visiting my blog, Romi.

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  8. Yes, I believe I'd try this, even though I've never heard of it before until now.

    M. J. Joachim

    A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    Writing Tips
    Effectively Human
    Lots of Crochet Stitches




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  9. A fruit that tastes like ice cream? Interesting. No, I've never heard of it before.

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    1. Hi Liz. Your kids at school would go nuts over this!!

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  10. This definitely seems like the yummiest one yet. :)

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Julie. I hope you are enjoying the A-Z. There are so many wonderful blogs out there....and too few hours to visit all :)

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  11. Ok Sharon. I am going to do some research and get some of these beans. That young man with the fantastic Australian accent has me sold that this is something that ought to be growing everywhere, especially with the nutritional value you outline. I'm on the hunt. Smiles. Maria

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