|Daniel harvests guajes pods in his backyard, September 2010.|
|Heavily pruned Leucaena tree in Daniel's upper yard.|
Guajes are indigenous to the Mexican state of Puebla, but a number of years ago Daniel's partner José started guajes trees from seed and eventually planted them in their backyard. José was a great cook and he used the guajes seeds to make salsa, as his family did in Puebla.
I'd never eaten guajes, which is surprising because Daniel is usually quick to invite his friends over to share his garden's bounty. Now that I know more about guajes, I can see why. It takes a lot of effort to harvest guajes seeds and they are only in season for a short period of time.
|Leucaena tree in Daniel's lower yard, 2010.|
Guajes aren't difficult to shell, it's just a somewhat time-consuming process. The seeds are small and it takes a lot of them to make a single recipe of salsa. I was excited about trying guajes for the first time, but Daniel informed me that harvesting guajes and cooking with them were best done on two separate days. (Keep your eyes open for Part 2 of this report in the next day or two.) Knowing that I'd have to wait to try the guajes, I happily chatted with Daniel and took photos while he shelled the pods.
Shelling guajes is much like shelling any bean, and I've shelled a few beans in my day. Like all legumes, guajes pods can be split into two halves and it is only the guajes seeds that are edible. Shelling guajes isn't difficult, but it does require a certain amount of patience.
|Daniel shells guajes, September 2010.|
|Daniel shells guajes into his handmade red ceramic bowl, Sept. 2010.|