Welcome to the first official blog post for the Bolivia for Kids blog. Today I'll tell you about a weird fruit called pacay, or ice cream bean.
Inga feuillei, named after Louis Feuillée, is also referred to as "pacay" fruit in Spanish. They are called "ice cream beans" or "Inga beans" in English. It is a fruit grown for its sweet white pulp that surrounds large black seeds.
I don't really think pacay tastes like ice cream at all. Some people describe the inside as having the texture of cotton candy (candy floss). Others say it resembles velvet. It is more like a thick velvet, or almost even like the fabric that stuffed animals are made of. Thick and fuzzy. It looks dry, but when you chew it, it turns out it's actually juicy!
The flavor is sweet, but it's a moist and very lightly sweet flavor. It's not very, very sweet like some other fruits. It's also very healthy and filled with vitamins and minerals. The pacay tree actually adds nitrogen to soil, making the soil better for other plants to grow.
This guy posted a cool video about pacay:
This velvety white juicy fiber covers the big black seeds that are found inside the pod. They are laid all in a row just like peas in a pod. You eat only the white fiber. The seeds themselves are black, shiny and very slippery. They slide right out of the white fiber. Each seed is individually wrapped in the white velvety part of the fruit like a little pocket.
On the outside, it looks like a huge long green bean, that can grow up to several feet long. It is native to countries in Central and South America, like Bolivia. The tree itself grows very, very fast. It can grow up to 20 feet high in one year and its branches stretch out a lot providing lots of shade. The first fruits of will appear 3-4 years after you first plant the tree.
It takes only 1-2 seeds to grow each big tree. You can even plant them in your own garden, if you live in a fairly hot and tropical area. The seeds need to be planted right away after you eat them before they dry out. Pacay seeds sprout very quickly and easily. You might even find that some of them are already sprouted inside the pod when you open it.
Photo of pacay fruit courtesy of Wikipedia in German.
Video source: https://youtu.be/-8Zek0hq-VI
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