One of my posts from earlier in the month inspired this post.  I was doing a fresh tortilla class and thought these little guys would be great in a Mexican version of pesto.

What is it?

Guaje, (pronounced gwa-heh) are seeds (legumes really), from the Leucaena tree and they’re interesting enough to be tasty.  They are protein dense and taste like garlic, onion and pepita with a bit of raw starchiness.  I figured, omitting the nuts and garlic from the pesto for these might make for something new and wonderful.  


I didn’t realize how to shuck em until I scoured teh interwebz and came across this lady at the 4:20 mark.  Look at her go on that thing…it’s a better video if you have in-fact tried shucking these lil’ bastards.  I was trying to do it like other bean pods; where-bye you pull away the fibrous string from the seam.  I was cutting that away, then prying open the pod with mixed results.  

Watching the lady in the video do it made me realize the method of splitting the pod equally from the tip.  (Use your fingers not your mouth like her.)  She was just doing it to show they are happily eaten as a snack…plus she knew her efficiency would blow that guys mind.  Still…it’s like picking herbs or peeling garlic…takes a little time that you often don’t feel like spending.  Don’t forget about delegation; utilize any opportunity for child slave labor or a drinking spouse or friend to help shuck.

Proper Method

To shuck properly, the pod should be ripped open at the end(tip), then peeled open with equal force on both sides.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to get 1/2c of seeds.  They can be used in anything and in any way.  Toasted, fried, roasted, raw, braised, boiled or steamed…do what you want.  All I’ve done is the pesto and thrown them raw into salsa, both with tasty results.  Look around your neighborhood and you’ll probably see a Leuceana tree, the pods are usually on trees in the month of May.  I’ve seen em my whole life…I just didn’t know I could eat em :-|

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