What's the Deal With Baobab?

What's the Deal With Baobab?

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Carrie Havranek
Sep 30, 2014
(Image credit: Adam Atkinson)

I’d like to introduce you to baobab (bay-o-bab). Have you tried this unusual fruit yet? Here's what it tastes like, and what you can do with it.

(Image credit: Adam Atkinson)

Where Does Baobab Come From?

Baobab is a native fruit from an upside-down looking "tree of life"in Africa. The revered tree can live for hundreds, even thousands of years. It never burns and can store water in its trunk, which can be tapped for release in times of drought.

Its pulp is being marketed as a non-GMO, organic, sustainable cash crop for the women who harvest it. The pulp—in the form of powder and dried fruit—is likely sitting on the shelves of your local among dried fruit and goji and acai berry powders. That’s because baobab also happens to be chockablock with antioxidants, minerals and fiber.

How Is Baobab Processed?

How do they do process the pulp? The fruit is gently shaken off the trees, and cracked open to reveal its naturally dehydrated inner pulp, which transforms to powder with a minimum of processing. Stephan Broburg, general manager of Baobab Foods, calls it a "raw, whole food."

(Image credit: Adam Atkinson)

Where Can I Find Baobab?

I first encountered tiny dried baobab cubes, enhanced with mango and other fruit juice, in the bulk section. We started snacking on it instantly (kids loved it), adding it to yogurt but mostly eating it by the fistful. I went back to bulk with dreams of homemade granola and oatmeal-baobab cookies, but couldn’t find it. Instead, I found a bag of mango, strawberry and raspberry flavored cubes from Baobab Foods.

Internet searching reveals another brand offering four flavors of cubes, Bonga Foods in California, was started by women and aims to empower women. You might see Powbab acai pomegranate fruit chews, pre-wrapped and in pouches. All of these brands also offer the raw powder; Bonga has single-serve packets, too.

What Can You Make With Baobab?

Its slight citrus flavor blends well with smoothie, teas, and lemonades; in baked goods I’m told it lends a little lift (akin to cream of tartar). Adding it to water results in a less gritty Metamucil-like experience; two tablespoons offer 6 grams of fiber. The FDA measures its antioxidant content at 15,000 ORAC units, three times more than the recommended minimum and more than acai, goji and pomegranate.

I am going to test its mettle as a rescue remedy this winter. In the meantime, I’m going to bake some cookies with the chews, which I’m told remain intact in the oven.

Have you ever cooked with this stuff?

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