20478Say hello to Cojombro
- Jan 23, 2004This morning when we met Manuel, the tree man, at the finca, he had a
present for us. Two cojombro fruits (sicana odorifera). They're really
interesting looking; they're shaped like papaya (the long kind, not the
round). They have a beautiful color, sort of rust colored or maybe
orange-crimson. The ones we have are over a foot in length. I did a search
on the Internet and found that they can reach a length of 2 feet.
It's a member of the pumpkin family, and Manuel says that you cook it and
eat it just like pumpkin or ayote. You can make pie, jelly, soup, whatever.
The interesting thing is that it is extremely rare now in Costa Rica, almost
extinct. It's a vine that grows supported by trees and can reach great
heights - 30 - 50 feet. He found a small piece of a leaf stem and was able
to cultivate it, then plant it, and now harvest it.
Robin and I will save the seeds and then plant lots of them. From planting
to harvesting takes less than a year. When we get more, we'd be glad to
The fruit is a bit sweet and is quite fragrant, hence the odorifera in its
scientific name. I've read that one use of it is to put pieces in drawers or
closets to make them smell nice.
I mentioned it to a couple of our Tico campesino neighbors, both of whom
have heard of it, both of whom affirmed that it seems to be quite rare, and
also, both of whom said that you can "make honey" from it. One of our
neighbors said that there's a saying here: Él que tiene cojombro se lo eche
al hombro, which means something like He who has cojombro throws it on his
shoulder, which in turn means that if you have a family, you have to take
care of it.
The good news is that although it's extremely rare here in CR, it's alive
and well in several Latin American countries. It's believed to be native to
Brazil. On the Internet, I was able to find places in the US, the UK, and
Germany that had seeds for sale.
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