Friday, December 16, 2011

Ice cream grows on trees in the tropics!

Even though I did not grow this in my garden (one of my customers brought it to me at work) I thought I would  share it with you.   It grows on a very large tree, and is part of the legume family, so fixes nitrogen into the soil. It is called the ice cream bean.
 You twist it to crack the hard shell open and inside are fluffy white pods that fit together perfectly.
Here you can see how big the seed is - you just eat the fluffy coating around the seed, and the best I can describe it is like candy floss but not so sweet.  Quite refreshing.
 Some of the seeds are already sprouting, but this is a huge tree so I wont be growing any in my garden....

Since it is so hot and humid here I popped some into the fridge to see how they would be cold, and they do taste good cold.  I don't think they taste like ice cream though even when cold.
Funnily enough, I had been thinking of ice cream since I discovered a very tasty recipe for banana chocolate ice cream on a blog I follow littleecofootprints and think this might be my very favourite thing this summer to beat the heat. She just takes frozen banana, plain yogurt and honey and blends it together  I love ice cream, but not the sugar and fat (not to mention the other undesirables that make it creamy and yummy)  that comes along with it.   Gosh I am thinking of some of my frozen lychees, mixed with my home made nonfat yoghurt and a little honey if necessary.
Funny how being hot and humid leads to thoughts of ice cream, but being part of the world of blogging can make that a healthy treat!


  1. Bardzo ciekawe drzewo i owoce. Sama bym spróbowała tej "waty". Pozdrawiam

  2. I've heard of this plant but never actually seen one up close. What a fascinating thing it is. I wonder who decided it should be called the ice cream bean? Love the sound of that banana ice-cream, and your version ... lychee! Both would go down very well in this heat.

  3. Thanks for this post. With all the unseasonal rain we have been getting this year on the farm, the kids have been asking to plant this tree ( mainly because it is called the 'icecream 'bean I think) . I think there is a chocolate one too, and that is the one they have really been asking about!
    Might have to have a go , even though we aren't all that tropical!

  4. That fruit sounds delicious! almost as delicious as your frozen lychee icecream!

    Thank you for linking to my banana icecream recipe. I too LOVE shopping at honesty stalls. We're forever stopping when we drive in the country. We're actually off now....for a quick overnight camping trip. I wonder what honesty stalls i'll see.

  5. I saw a lot of these trees in Tahiti and nearby islands last month while there. Tree originally from South Ameria.

  6. Interesting this is the first time I heard about this legume. I think about ice cream a lot this week too:).

  7. An interesting tree. The things nature provides us. I think you will like my 2 persimmons posts.

  8. I really wanted to try this when I was visiting FNQ but alas it wasn't ripe when I was there. It sounds like a fascinating fruit!

  9. That's so interesting! It looks like cotton candy XD

  10. Giga,
    yes we do get some very interesting fruits here.
    It is hot isn't it? This is the first fruit I have seen - I think they are only grown where you have lots of space. thank you for the Christmas card!
    really? chocolate ice cream bean! I think the kids are pulling your leg, unless they are talking about the black sapote also called the chocolate pudding fruit. I do like those - will have to do a post on those in the new year.
    It always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I stop at farm stalls - hope you had a good trip.
    Tahiti? gosh it is amazing how much of our fruit originated in South America.
    Malay Kadazan,
    I guess it is that time of year for us when ice cream is on our minds.
    Norma Chang,
    thanks for commenting, yes I have tried persimmons and like most tropical fruit has to be very ripe before eating.
    as with most tropical fruit it doesn't keep well. One people that hang in for the sticky summer get the rewards!
    it does!

  11. I've never seen or heard of this plant before, tts very fascinating.


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