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Tropical food forests  RSS feed

 
Jeff Hodgins
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Befor I start, I want to say that I think there should be a sub catigory for the tropics.

Semi-arid tropical food forest plants
One of my permaculture gardens/farms is in the Mexican state of yucatan where the rainy season lasts from 3 to 4 months. The wild species in the area are great permaculture plants. Most trees are legumes and many produce agricultural products. I will use the mayan names for some of them because I don't know the english names.
Bread nut or Bromium allicastrum is used for its nuts and leaves. very common.
The elefant ear tree or guanacaste is a large legume tree which produces an average of 85kg of edible seed pods and seeds per year. the pods are made into flour and the seeds are rosted untill they pop like popcorn. The pods were tested with sheep and were found to improve digestion. Some of the sheep were fed 50% guanacaste with no weight gain reduction.
The tree known localy as ha-bim holds all of its leaves in the dry season and is used as fodder. Logs can be cut and planted to propogate with no iregation even in the dry season.
Luceaenea is also common and the unripe seeds taste great.
A tree they call almendra (not an almond) is common on the cost but inland it can be grown for its nuts. It is salt tollorant and the seeds float in the ocean.
Pinuela grows wild and tastes like pinapple. Never touch the leaves they are rasser sharp, cut them with a machete.
Dragon fruit or pitahaya is native and can be grown with little effort on the trunk of the cha-ka tree.
To be continued.
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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The "almendra" sounds like the "sea almonds" which are very common in the Bahamas.
They float from island to island, and in the process, the "almonds" get a natural salting.
Quite tasty.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Yeah! That's what I'm talking about! Some tropic-specific permaculture material.
Well, here in Costa Rica I live in the province of Guanacaste, so we definitely see a lot of them.
We don't even bother picking up the pods for the cows, we buy those stupid concentrate bags instead... hopefully I'll convince everybody to switch gradually to real sustainable life.
We have another tree here that they call sandal. It produces huge, woody pods with a molasses-like substance inside and some local take it with hot milk as a tonic. Does anyone know the botanical name?
 
Jeff Hodgins
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Have you tried roasting the guanacaste pits? They're like a bland peanut, not to flavorful but good. They pop and split open the thick shell. In yucatan they use the pods to make tortillas

Have you heard of "ramon" thats the spanish for bread nut I'm sure they grow in Costa Rica.
"Chaya" is also great, acording to the USDA it has tree times the vitamine content as spinich and produces more KG/ha than any other leaf vegetable. I have never grown it but I saw it growing wild. people usually chop it down on sight due to it's spiney stem, I'll be trying to put a stop to that in my area at least.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Alas, I did a search and chaya is mostly unknown here, but I'll definitely try the guanacaste fruits, they're ripening right now. Locals used to make soap out of them, too.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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By the way, I'm not clear on how to extract the seeds from the "ears". I roast the ears?
 
Jeff Hodgins
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The ones I ate were on the ground with the ears already gone so I just raked them up they were about 1/2 an inch thick on the ground pure seed. It's different in the bush because the animals will take them away. I do know that pods are harvested green or dry. They say the green pods are better but the seeds from them will not pop and I asume are harder to extract.
I think you could pound the dry pods to break them up and then winow to separate the seed from the pod. Or you could grind it all up and extract just the starch by adding water then straining it off to remove the fiber. Once the water sits for a while pour it off the top and you should have almost pure starch. It's worth it if you do alot at once and you can feed the by-product to the livestock.
    You can also cut sap wells and use the dry sap as thickener.
 
Jeff Hodgins
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Has anyone ever grown "cyphomandra crassicaulis" or "tree tomato"? I read that it can handle some frost without dying I'm wondering if it will survive in puebla at 7000ft if covered with feed bags in winter.
 
jennifer sanchez
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hey so this is really blowing my mind. Am I understanding correct? If I take the matures seeds out of the dry brown seed pod of the guanacaste tree (enterolobium cyclocarpum) and roast them, they will pop ilk popcorn and are edible to humans? I hope this is true, Im about to go outside and harvest some right now and try! I always look at the abundance of seed pods that litter my yard and think "theres got be be something other than jewelry that can be done with these, eating them was always a hope, but never found any info suggesting there edibility until now. So is this primarily done in Mexico? because I know here in Costa Rica where I live there is no culture of eating the seeds or the pods.
 
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