Fabaceae (Bean family)

Description. Erect, leguminous, herbaceous plant reaching 2 m (6.6 ft) in height. Alternate, palmately compound leaves are densely covered in soft, silvery hairs. Purple, self-pollinated flowers in showy, erect racemes. Fruits laterally compressed, hairy pods, 7-12 cm (2.8-5 in) long, containing 3-6 flat white seeds. Origin and Distribution. Native to the Andes mountain range of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, where the plant grows at elevations between 1,000 and 4,000 m (3,300-13,000 ft).

Benefits Of: ANDEAN LUPINE, CHOCHO Photo Gallery

The Andean lupine is an ancient food plant that has been in cultivation in the central Andes for millennia. Rarely cultivated as a food plant outside its natural range. Food uses. The seeds of some cultivars contain toxic, water-soluble alkaloids. Immersing them in water for several days and boiling renders them safe to eat. In the Andean cultures, the seeds are traditionally used in soups and stews, often mixed with corn (Zea mays, p. 241). Locally the seeds are used for baking bread and making sweet desserts. In some parts of the Andes, a nutritious drink is prepared from the ground seeds. Oil extracted from the seeds is used as a cooking oil.

Comments. The seeds contain about 20% fat and 45% protein, a good source of the essential amino acid lysine. Having close to 420 calories per 100 grams (0.22 lbs) dry weight makes the seed an important caloric energy source for the Andean population. The nitrogen-fixing Andean lupine is often grown in cycles with other crops like corn or potatoes to improve fertility of marginal soils.

The fruits, although commonly called nuts, are botanically follicles.

Description. Medium-sized evergreen tree with broad growth habit, 10-20 m (33-66 ft) tall. Simple, whorled leaves 7-18 cm (2.8-7 in) long, oblong-obovate, with spinelike, sharply toothed margins. White, pinkish or cream-colored flowers are produced in pendent racemes 30-40 (12-16 in) cm long. Green, globose, dry dehiscent fruits 1.5-4 cm (0.6-1.6 in) wide, splitting open when ripe and exposing a creamy white seed kernel surrounded by a very hard, brown, and smooth seed coat. The fruits, although commonly called nuts, are botanically follicles.

Origin and Distribution. Native to the northeastern state of Queensland in Australia. The tree grows naturally in subtropical to tropical, seasonally dry lowland forests. Widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries.

Food uses. Seeds are eaten raw or roasted as sweet or salted snacks. They are a common ingredient in sweets and bakery goods. The seeds are also used in recipes for savory dishes and fillings, and as garnish for cakes and fruit salads. Pieces of macadamia nuts are often added to granola bars and cereals.

Comments. The highly nutritious seeds contain about 60-80% fat, mainly monounsaturated, and 8% protein. The valuable seed oil is used in cosmetics, especially skin-care products.

Also of commercial importance is M. tetraphylla, distinguished from M. integrifolia by its rough seed coats. Hybrid forms exist between the two species. The main macadamia-producing regions are Australia, California, Hawaii, South Africa, Central America, Mexico, and Malawi.

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