What is an Ice Cream Bean? Bolivia for Kids

by Kricket
(BoliviaBella.com)

Pacay Fruit Tree

Pacay Fruit Tree

Pacay Fruit Tree
Pacay Fruit

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


Submitted 2015-01-13

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Jan 16, 2015
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Love this
by: Miranda Kay

Making me crave empanadas! From my experience, saltenas are always baked and I see bigger baked saltenas called Hamacas? I think, and tucumanas and empanadas are always fried and can come with pure meat or pure cheese - but that doesnt mean that names might mistakenly be used and interchanged even if its not technically a saltena, that might be a more known term so might mistakenly be applied to an empanada.

Jan 14, 2015
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Avena montada - that's funny
by: Kricket

@Leith HAAAAAAAA,HAAAAAAAAA,HAAAAAAAA! I get it. :p

Jan 14, 2015
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OK I'll jump in
by: leith

I've invested a solid five years trying to figure out the street car level of saltenas and have aproached but not arrived at satisfaction, 3 day process, they fry a lot of eggs, maybe a twist on a dish like oatmeal with an egg on top and call it avena montado.

Jan 14, 2015
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There are many types of empanadas
by: Kricket

Dear Kermit: Yes it's true the most commonly eaten empanadas are cheese empanadas but there are many other kinds of empanadas in Bolivia. As Marjorie said above, there are baked and fried empanadas. She is right, these are empanadas tucumanas. Click here to see how to make some other BOLIVIAN EMPANADAS and more Bolivian snacks.

Jan 14, 2015
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Fun Bolivian Food for Kids to Make
by: Marjorie Mindel

I know that Salteñas are always baked. I've had baked and fried cheese empanadas and fried beef or chicken empanadas. The picture looks like a tucumana, round and fried. Healthwise, I prefer my turnovers baked rather than fried. I wonder how this recipe would work out if the bundles were brushed with eggs and baked rather than being dipped in oil and fried. Just looking out for our cholesterol levels, folks, and trying to avoid hurting those folks with gastritis.

Jan 14, 2015
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Empanada or Saltanea?
by: Kermit

I thought empanadas had a cheese filling inside a doey bread wrap and saltaneas [salteñas] had the awesome fillings? I'm confused. --Kermit Great job by-the-way! But if this was an easy recipe what is a tough one? :) All the same... going for the best food right off the bat was a fun choice.

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