Kiawe Nectar & Gum (Prosopis pallida)

Kiawe Nectar & Gum (Prosopis pallida)

Kiawe nectar, lilikoi, Maui rum, fizzy water. Garnished with a Jamaican vervain flower spike. Photo by Sunny Savage

Kiawe nectar, lilikoi, Maui rum, fizzy water. Garnished with a Jamaican vervain flower spike. Photo by Sunny Savage


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Kiawe beans are dropping on Maui’s west side, with the majority in the Kihei/Kahului area yet to ripen. It’s so much fun to be able to load up those harvesting bags lickity split, but once you have them what are you going to do with them? Although the majority of my beans will be dried until crispy dry and milled into flour, right now I’m feeling inspired to cook them into a sweet nectar. Kiawe nectar is so delicious, and can be used in a lot of creative ways. Having a sweetness that has nearly everyone asking if sugar was added, it was that plain kiawe nectar that was mixed into the delicious cocktail above and has been added to dessert’s and sauces and oh so many things. Check out the video below to see how it’s done.
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While out harvesting kiawe beans, I’m going to be keeping my eye out for kiawe gum as well. I know I’ve seen it’s clear amber presence before, so will walk with eyes attuned. It has potential use as both food and medicine. The quote below comes from Herbal Constituents: Foundations of Phytochemistry Lisa Ganora – by herbal ally Lisa Ganora.

GUMS
Gums are water-soluble exudates produced by various algae and plants, usually as a response to trauma, insect attack, or infection. They are mainly composed of branched heteropolysaccharides which may contain uronic acids and/or several different monosaccharides. Gums sometimes occur mixed in with other types of compounds such as resins, latexes, tannins, polyphenols, or terpenoids. Because they are so polar, gums attract an abundance of water molecules and become highly hydrated to form viscous gels known as hydrocolloids.

Many different substances have been mistakenly called ‘gums’, including terpenoids or phenolic resins and latexes. An example of a true gum is Gum Arabic, obtained from Acacia senegal and related species. This complex substance contains an acidic (i.e., bearing numerous carboxyl groups) heteropolysaccharide mixture composed mainly of glucuronic acid units along with galactose, arabinose, and rhamnose; the heteropolysaccharide fraction is mingled with various glycoproteins. Traditionally, Acacia gum has been used as a demulcent for soothing irritated mucous membranes, in skin healing preparations, and as an antitussive in cough formulas; in contemporary pharmacy, it is employed as a stabilizer and emulsifier. In the American Southwest, a similar medicinal gum can be obtained from species of the desert Mesquite tree (Prosopis).

Gums, in general, are considered to be a type of soluble dietary fiber and share the medicinal benefits of that class of compounds. One feature of the soluble fibers is their ability to bind bile acids, which can result in lower serum cholesterol and LDL levels and lowered risk of colon cancer, coronary artery disease, and diabetes.

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