Palm - Pindo, Jelly

Scientific Name(s): Butia capitata
Abundance: common
What: fruit
How: raw, jelly, wine
Where: landscaping, Gulf Coast region
Nutritional Value:
Dangers: none

Pindo palm.

Nearly-ripe pindo palm fruit (turns yellow/gold when ripe).

Pindo palm crown and needle-type leaves.

Closeup of a pindo palm leaf. They have a gray/blue tint.

Pindo palms are short, squat trees with long, gray/blue-green fronds. Pindo palm fruit appears in the summer and is yellowish-orange, about the size of figs. They taste great but it's large, inedible seed and stringy flesh makes eating it raw a challenge. The preferred method of eating Pindo palm fruit is as jelly hence it's common name, "Jelly Palm". Pindo palm fruit naturally contains pectin but only barely enough to jellify and it is recommended that extra pectin be added. Also, the seeds must be removed before cooking the fruit down or something in them will interfere with jellification.

This fruit has also been used to make wine though if you don't destroy the natural pectin with some pectinase the wine will end up cloudy.

A good quality palm oil can be pressed from the fruit's large seed. If you don't have an oil press try grinding up the fruit in a blend then boil it. The oil will float to the top of the water and can be skimmed off once the water cools down.

These palms usually remain as short, squat trees. At one time they were a prized possession as the fruit was plentiful, delicious, and used many ways. Nowadays they are often considered to be a nuisance, messy tree. How crazy is that?!

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