Frijol de palo criollo
Frijol de palo or lenteja de palo is a vine belonging to the Fabacee family. It is grown along the coasts of Peru, particularly in the northern valleys of the state. It is mainly found in the departamentos of Piura and Lambayeque. In the latter, the distritos of Morrope and Tucume, which are part of the province of Lambayeque, have optimal conditions for this plant: a sub-tropical climate, with yearly temperatures between 15 and 30 °C, little rain concentrated in one specific season. This perennial plant is able to adapt to different types of soil, although it prefers sandy soils. It is grown in mixed farming system, together with corn, rice and wheat and it is useful for nitrogen fixation. It is usually grown by farming families for self-consumption. At the time of harvest, the fruit is a 4-5 cm long pod which contains a variable number of small round brown-beige seeds with a darker spot on the part that is connected to the pod. Once harvested, the frijol de palo is eaten fresh or dried and used throughout the year. It is an essential source of protein in the daily diet of farmers, as it provides the necessary energy to face their long working days. In the kitchen, it is most commonly cooked in boiling water and then used as an accompaniment to other dishes, such as rice, potatoes, pork, chicken or goat meat. A basic dish made with it, typical of the peasant tradition of Lambayeque, is a vegetable stew with various tubers, ajies, frijol de palo and aromatic herbs. The product is difficult to find outside its production area and is often replaced by commercial varieties.