Guandú (Cajanus cajan) were likely brought to the American continent by means of the slave trade during the 17th century. The shrub-like plants grow to 2 – 2.5 meters tall and have yellow or yellow and purple colored flowers. They can grow in areas with less than 650 mm annual rainfall. It is picking between October and January in Panama. The guandú, or pigeon peas, that are harvested can be green, black, or speckled in color, and are very popular in Panama. It is said that the black ones are the most flavorful, while the green ones are best used in soups. The different varieties are known by different names: guandú morado (purple guandú), which leaves a dark purple stain; guandú pintado (painted guandú); and guandú oloroso (fragrant guandú), which will infuse a whole house with a strong smell while cooking. Guandú is always cooked and served with rice. It is essential to the traditional Christmas-time dish of guandú con arroz (guandú with rice), and the crop can therefore often be sold for a higher price during this period. Another typical dish is called guacho de gandú. Although the crop grows throughout Panama, from Chirqui in the west to Darien in the east, it is not grown at a large scale. Many people grow the crop in their yards. However, younger people are not continuing to cook traditional recipes with guandú, and so the use of this local vegetable may be lost in the future.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.