Baobab, the new Super Fruit, tastes like tart lemon sherbet. It is packed with vitamins, calcium, protein and antioxidants. The fruit, contained in a velvety skinned, hard-shelled, seedpod, has the texture of dried marshmallow with tiny seeds. But you don't have to travel to tropical Africa or Australia to get a taste because it is growing in South Florida.
This past weekend I joined the Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International on a tour of The Kampong, an 11-acre National Tropical Botanical Garden (former home of Dr. David Fairchild) in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida.
Our tour guide, David Jones, said Fairchild (a plant collector and co-founder of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden) planted the baobab tree in 1928. On the day we toured, the ground, at the base of the tree, was covered with cylindrical brown seedpods.
Jones said the tree normally grows in dry climates and is able to store huge quantities of water so it can continue to grow through dry periods.
When the tree gets older than 1000 years the trunk starts to hollow out and many people use it as shelter. In Modjadjiskloof, Limpopo Province, South Africa, there is a pub called Big Baobab Bar that is located inside a 6000-year old living tree.
The Kampong, Fla., tree is only 88-years old so it's going to be awhile before anyone can live inside of its trunk.
If you are interested in sampling the baobab fruit and either don't live in South Florida or don't have the time to set up a private tour of The Kampong don't be sad because you can buy the fruit online as a powder.
Some words of caution—the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers baobab fruit a powerful laxative because it has very high levels of soluble fiber. For every 100 grams of fruit you get 5 grams of fiber.