Guama is a fruit masquerading as a bean

Michael: Objects resembling dried out pea pods pyramided on a street vendor’s cart. The man seemed to have a brisk business as people lined up to purchase these foot long food items. Finally I turned to my wife and asked, “What is he selling?”

Guama bean 768 X248Graciela: Colombia has over 150 different fruits. I give my husband credit. He is always willing to try any new food we find.This particular one that my husband saw is called guama. Since the “G” in Spanish does not always have the same sound as it does in English, the pronunciation is more like “wha-ma.” In some countries though you will hear it pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. That is because in 1530 a rebel chief named Guamá led many uprisings against the Spanish on the island of Cuba. Legend has it that this warrior was eventually murdered by his brother for sleeping with his brother’s wife.

The tree bearing this fruit grows to a height of about 80 feet with a trunk two feet or more in diameter. They are great for producing shade.

As a child living with my parents in the Colombian department of Tolima I use to eat ten or more of the fruit each day.

guama inside 3 768Michael: Determining the edible part is what first confused me. I broke open one of the fruits only to stare at what looked to be cotton balls. My wife took one, popped it in her mouth and slid a large black seed out between her lips. “you eat the white part,” she said.

I grabbed one, squeezed it a little and the seed slid out leaving a cotton ball in my hand. Once in my mouth it tasted a little sweet and seemed to melt away requiring very little chewing.

guama inside fuzzGraciela:  Like most of our fruits and vegetables guama possess medicinal properties. It is said to be an anti-inflammatory, lower blood pressure, reduce sugar in the blood and aid in phlebitis.

Michael: My very conservative and proper wife neglected one benefit that she did not tell me about but I discovered through my own research. The indigenous Indians believed the guama increased a man’s sexual potency.

Now that I think of it, the majority of those lined up at the cart to purchase the product were males.


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