Pepitoria

Ark of taste
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Pepitoria is the powder that results from roasting and grinding up the squash seeds (pepita in Spanish). It is found in Guatemala in the departments of Petén, Chimaltenango, and Quiche in the highlands, and in the west in Huehuetenango and Quetzeltanango. To make it, Ayote squashes are harvested in August. This kind of squash is easy to maintain because the rain does not ruin the seeds inside. It also has a good market price, sometimes quadruple the prices of beans or corn. The squashes are halved, and the seeds are scooped out. They are then spread out on a surface to dry. In the summer heat, it only takes an afternoon to dry the seeds for later sale.   The dried seeds, with their shells still on, are sold to small stores, from which local residents buy some of the seeds for grinding into a pepitoria used in cooking. It is used in a variety of dishes of Mayan origin. Pepitoria can also be used as a thickener in certain recipes or sauces, and in all sorts of sweet and savory dishes. A popular food is green mango topped with pepitoria. Traditional marzipan from Amatitlán is prepared with a base of pepitoria, rice and sugar.  Iguaxte is a regional recipe with pepitoria mixed with dried chilies (spicy if desired) and roasted tomato, ground very finely and cooked with broth and seasonal vegetables, such as green beans, chayote or potatoes. Pepian is another recipe that gets its name from having pepitoria as the main ingredient. The powder is considered a good source of protein, vitamin K, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. Despite this, use is low among younger generations as people turn away from traditional foods and ingredients with a Mayan heritage like pepitoria.

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Territory

StateGuatemala
Region

Chimaltenango

Petén