Guariroba, Gueiroba, Jaguaroba
A member of the large Arecaceae family, guerobas (Syagrus oleracea) is known by several names in Brazil: guariroba, gueiroba, gariroba, gairoba, jaguaroba, catolé, pati, pati-amargosa, coqueiro-amargoso and palmito-amargoso. These last three names are particularly helpful for understanding one of the characteristics of the fruits of this palm: their incredibly bitter flavor. Even the fruit’s traditional name hints at this bitterness: gueroba comes from the word gwarai-rob, which in the Tupi language means “bitter individual”. This bitter flavor seems to be influenced by the phases of the moon: when it is full the flavor is less bitter, but when there is a new moon this aspect comes out stronger. In local cuisine the gueroba fruits are used to prepare several traditional dishes, but their sale is not widespread. It is only possible to find them in a few rural fairs. The pulp and oil of these fruits are both used, as they have medicinal and cosmetic properties. In the kitchen, the fruit is used most widely in the areas of Goiás and Minas Gerais. These palm trees can grow up to 20 meters tall and they have fronds that are up to three meters in length which, along with the pulp of their coconuts, can be used to help feed cattle. This tree is found in various Brazilian states, including Ceará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Bahia, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins, São Paulo, Paraná, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro as well as in the Distrito Federal. Nonetheless, this tree’s existence is currently in danger due to deforestation and because of the fact that the seeds take a long time (about 300 days) to germinate.