I haven’t had time to plant the gardens that I want to at my Guatemala house, but this week Mother Nature provided some food for me!
Apparently I have a Ramon tree in my yard (who knew?) that has literally showered me with a bounty of its nuts these past couple weeks. Also known as the Maya nut, the Ramon nuts have been used for millennia by the indigenous Mayans as a source of food and nutrition. From what I’ve been able to find out online, the nuts are high in fiber, calcium and antioxidants, and are also a source of protein, magnesium, folate, potassium, iron and other vitamins. Its flour is more nutritious than corn or rice and is used to make breads and cookies. Local groups have created programs to bring employment to the area and fight malnutrition at the same time with these little nuts.
My yard is littered with tons of these nuts, and, since I still need to learn how to prepare and use them, I invited the little girl who lives near me to come and pick some. We filled up a huge mesh bag (similar to the kinds you can buy at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods) in about 45 minutes, and I still have quite a few left. I’ll be collecting some this weekend and trying them boiled and mashed. According to what I’ve read, they taste kind of like potatoes when boiled, and when roasted, ground and mixed with hot water make a drink similar to coffee that tastes kind of like chocolate.
My other big harvest today was my lone Mandarin orange on the tree I planted this spring. The tree is still very much a baby – no more than 3 feet tall – but it produced one Mandarin. The young man who helps me in my yard told me it was ready today, so I picked it…and was so nervous when I did, because I didn’t want to hurt the tree! Luckily it popped right off and we peeled it and ate it (with a lot of gratitude) right there. It was yummy!
Every day is a new adventure in the jungle!