Ramón seeds

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Semilla de Ramón

Ramón seed comes from a tree whose scientific name is Brosimum alicastrum, of the Moraceae family. This tree bears fruit for two or three seasons each year (depending on location). The seed is considered a superfood due to its high content of fiber, vitamins, minerals, folic acid and essential amino acids such as tryptophan.
Ramón seed was of great importance for the Mayan communities, as it was mixed with corn during drought for the purpose of increasing the quantity of food, ensuring enough for all. There are stories of the seed having saved communities from hunger during times of extreme austerity.
Anthropological studies indicate that by building the Mayan cities, the forest was felled to construct the buildings and then large areas of these trees around them were planted. The seeds served as food for both people and animals.

Mayan cities like Oxtanka, which means "Place of ramon" (due to the large presence of this species), and Oxcutzkab have a close relationship with this tree. But over the centuries, the use and consumption of the seed was lost. The only use that was given to the tree was wood and leaves to feed livestock in dry seasons, as their leaves also have a high nutritional value.
For quite a few years now, efforts have been made to resume the traditions and recipes made with this seed. Today, we are trying to promote it as an economic and food alternative for communities. This is being achieved as a part of urban agriculture. It is developing as a collective economy, as the trees are located in towns and cities, both in public places and private properties. What was once a food waste is now an economic flow, a social development at the community level and direct access to proteins among other nutrients. It is the gastronomic reorganization of this territory. Thus, it has been given a gastronomic identity, fundamental to indigenous communities and an age-old culture.

Ramón seed had great importance for the indigenous cuisine. This included the Maya of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, as it used to be mixed with corn during drought for the purpose of having enough food for all.

The consumption of this seed by humans dates from the pre-Columbian cultures like the Maya. It can be consumed in different ways: one is through a process similar to the nixtamalization. nixtamalization (from the Spanish "Nixtamalización") describes the process for any grain that can be used to remove the pericarp, by cooking and steeping the dried kernels with water and lime (calcium hydroxide). This process provides several nutritional benefits, converting maize into dough and then tortillas.

Over the centuries, the use and consumption of this seed was lost. The only use that was given to the tree was wood and leaves to feed livestock in dry seasons, as their leaves also have a high nutritional value.

There are several stories of people who say their lives have been saved by the ramon tree because in times of severe drought and food shortages, consuming the seed ramón managed to keep them fed and alive during those long periods of austerity.

It is essential to resume and promote the consumption of this tree because it has a comprehensive usage such as consumption of seeds, use of foliage for feeding livestock, seed for preparation of other foods, timber for furniture making and for the making of medicines from the leaf and bark. It was and is essential for development of civilizations in this part of the world.

Seeds are slightly larger that a coffee bean, color is green when it is still in the tree and dark brown when ripe. The flavor is like a lightly coffee, but has a particular flavor that must be tasted.

Another way to consume it is by drying the seed in the sun for 10 days, roasting with wood and milling it. Depending on the amount of roasting, two different products are obtained: a light roast and fine grinding produces a powder like flour, which is used for baking breads, crackers, biscuits and similar products; It is also prepared as a gruel or horchata which is given to children mainly because of its resemblance to chocolate and coffee flavor. A more intensive browning results in a powder that is prepared similar to coffee drink, which has a coffee-like color and aroma, but unlike this, does not contain caffeine. On the contrary, its high content of tryptophan help generate serotonin, which is responsible for regulating sleep and pleasure, which makes these drinks and preparations a natural painkiller. "

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Territory

StateMexico
Region

Quintana Roo

Yucatán

Other info

Categories

Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Gabriela Caro Gutierrez e Sebastian Gael Aliano
Arca del GustoThe 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 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.