If you’ve never heard of an ice cream bean and you’re sitting there scratching your head thinking – what in the world is an ice cream bean? – don’t worry, you’re not alone.
While immensely popular in its native habitat in South America (villages even hold competitions to see who can find the biggest ice cream bean pods and monkeys love them), it doesn’t enjoy the same celebrity status in Australia where it grows wild in the tropical north.
It’s a shame because the white, spongy flesh inside the seed pods is delicious!
So named because the flavour has been described as similar to vanilla ice cream, I’m more inclined to describe it as kind of like a custard apple.
It is soft and spongy in texture, and the juice that comes out once you chew it, is quite sweet.
North Queenslanders love their mandarins and this delicious citrus fruit is one of the most popular backyard trees grown up this way. While they are usually just peeled and eaten as a snack, adding them to an Asian-style salad is a great way to bring some zing to your dinner table . . .
Bird’s-eye chillies grow like weeds in Far North Queensland. You find them springing up everywhere. In gardens, banana paddocks and along the edges of the rainforest. Most people have no use for them, believing they are way too hot to be enjoyable to eat. It’s a shame because with little effort, they can become a very handy ingredient . . .