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Astrocaryum mexicanum Choco Palm   Arecaceae
Choco Palm, Astrocayum mexicanum
Choco Palm, Astrocayum mexicanum

Astrocaryum is a genus of about 36 to 40 species of palms native to Central and South America and Trinidad.

Astrocaryum is a genus of spiny palms with pinnately compound leaves–rows of leaflets emerge on either side of the axis of the leaf in a feather-like or fern-like pattern. Some species are single-stemmed, while others grow in multi-stemmed (caespitose) clumps. They are pleonanthic—they flower repeatedly over the course of their lifespan—and monoecious, meaning that there are separate male and female flowers, but individuals plants bear both types of flowers.

Preparing and Eating the Flower

The flower is protected by a shell covered with hair-like spines. The skin can be cut with a machete or knife, then peeled by hand. The white flower inside is all edible raw, but be Choco Palm, Astrocayum mexicanumcareful to cut the small hair at the base. This flower is very nourishing but lack of taste. Ignacio brought some grinned habano peppers mixed with salt, rolled in a banana leave to add taste to most of the food he gathers from the rainforest.
Preparing and Eating the Nut

The nuts come into grapes. They are very similar to mini-coconuts. In their young stage, he flesh is soft and the nut contains water. After maturing, it becomes very hard, there isn't any water left and the flesh tastes very much like a coconut. The shell is very tough and protected with a spiny skin. A machete will cut it open, but the best way is to break the shell with a stone. If nothing is available, people with strong teeth might follow Ignacio's example. Personally I will try to find a stone because I can't open it with my teeth.
Preparing and Eating the Heart and Shoots

Although there isn't very much too eat, the top part of the core is the most delicious. It is sweet and tender. You find it by cutting the core at the level where the branches start. After removing all the branches and skins, you cut open the last layer and extract the white core which is ready for consuming. As you split the last branches apart, you might find some new shoots which are also edible and delicious