Ethnic names : jicara(Spanish), luch in Maya.
Scientific Name : Crescentia cujete
Origin : It belongs to the family of Bignoniaceae (Bignonia family) and also it is known to originate from Central America.
Appearance : Calabash Tree is a small evergreen tropical tree which can grow up to a height of 25 feet and produce fruits up to 25 cm in diameter. It has simple leaves and the bark of the tree is rough. The fruit is large, hard and green in color and takes about six months to ripen. They cannot be eaten but can be used for various ornamental purposes. The fruits are pollinated by bats and they develop from the trunk of the tree. The seeds of the fruit are flat, small and are embedded in the pulp.
Following is a nutritional chart which gives you the amount of nutritional content present in calabash fruit.
|Vitamins (Per cup)|
|Minerals ( Per cup)|
- The flowers of the calabash tree blooms in the evening and emit a slight odour.
- The flowers close and wither away by noon time.
- Bats pollinate the tree when they blossom at night.
- The bark of the tree is an excellent growing place for orchids.
- The hard fact about this calabash fruit is that pregnant people should not use this fruit since it has been traditionally used to induce labor.
- The pulp of the fruit has medicinal properties and acts as a remedy for respiratory problems such as asthma and cough.
- It contains hydrocyanic acid which is considered as a purgative.
- The syrup prepared from the pulp is used as a medicine for relieving disorders of the chest or respiratory tract and also to cure dysentery and stomach aches.
- The leaves of the Calabash Tree are used to reduce blood pressure.
- The decoction of the tree bark is used to clean wounds and also to treat hematomas and tumors.
The flowers of the fruit are light green and purple streak in color and have five petals which are fused in funnel shape. They grow from the main trunk and limbs. The fruits grow in different original shapes. It is said that horses can break open the hard shell with their mouth, eat the pulpy fruit inside and disperse the seeds in their dung.
The tree may flower and fruit during any season of the year. The tree has salt tolerance and can be cultivated in well drained soils. It should be planted in frost free locations since it has no tolerance for even light frost.
The shell of the fruit is surrounded by a whitish pulp and dark brown seeds. The fruit turns into brown color when it is dried. At this stage the inner pulp can be hollowed to make the utensils. The calabash pods are used as bird feeders or nest boxes as well.
The dried shell of the fruit is used to make different musical instruments and ornaments. The shell is decorated with paintings and carvings and used to make cups, dishes and containers.
The hunters disguised themselves by fitting it over their heads with two eyes cut on it so that the gourd floated on top of the water. This helped them to swim right up to a bird and catch it. Instruments like maracas and guiro were also made from the shell of the fruit.
The wood of the tree which is hard is used to make tools and handles and the split wood is used to make strong baskets. The gourd-like fruits were also used as hats by the hunters during earlier times.
- Unsweetened gelatin as required
- ¼ of water
- 1 ½ cups of Sweet calabash concentrated or frozen pulp, unsweetened
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Whipping cream as required
- 7 egg whites
- ½tsp tartar cream
- Sugar as required
- 2-3 Sweet calabash fruits, pulp and seeds(if needed)
- Take a pan and add Calabash fruit juice, lime juice and sugar.
- Heat it until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove it and allow it to cool down completely.
- Pour the unsweetened gelatin over ¼ cup water in a bowl and allow it to soften for around 5 minutes.
- Place the bowl over a jar of water in simmer and blend until it dissolves completely.
- Add the above mixture to the passion fruit juice.
- Place the passion fruit and gelatin mixture in a bowl of cold water.
- Allow it cool down for 30 minutes by stirring it occasionally.
- Use an electric mixer to whip the cream until peaks are formed.
- Then use a spoon to mix in the passion fruit juice mixture.
- Then combine the egg whites and tartar cream in a large whipping bowl and mix until stiff peaks form.
- Using a beater beat 1/3 of the egg whites with the calabash fruit and whipped cream mix.
- Subsequently use a spatula to gently fold in the remaining stiff egg whites.
- Gently mix in the fresh passion fruit pulp and seeds.
- Place the mousse in individual molds, cover it and refrigerate for about 6-8 hours.
- Serve with whipped cream and a spoon of fresh calabash fruit pulp on top.