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Pindo Palm – The Jelly Tree

Written by: Bobbie
August 17, 2015

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What is that mess in my yard?

Pindo Palm fruit on the ground about to get mushed by the mowerEvery August some nasty things appear on my beautiful palm. First they’re green then turn orange then drop on the lawn, draw roaches, gnats, mosquitoes and flies. I have to argue with the yard guy or gal to help clean them up and not run over the mess with the mower. Do they exist just to aggravate me?

Naw, they are actually an edible fruit. The Pindo Palm Tree, scientific name Butia capitata is native to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. The dates that hang in large clusters on the tree – and make messes in the yard – also make great jelly and wine.

These trees grow abundantly in Florida as well as in California and Arizona. Actually they grow any place that a palm tree can exist. Most folks in the United States are unfamiliar with them. I’ve even been told they are poisonous (not true). Fred and friends used to throw them at each other when they were kids. Now that’s a city kid for you. The country kids throw eggs at each other.

Anyway in its native lands, the fruit is eaten raw just like a fig or any other fruit from a tree. Here when we don’t know what else to do with something, we make jelly or wine out of it. I make the jelly. Wine is too labor intensive for me and you have to have all that fancy equipment.

Pindo Palm with fruit still on the tree
What’s it taste like? A little tropical, maybe mango, coconut or something like that. Now for the commercial. Come to the New Leaf Market Tour and we’ll give you a taste. Oh yeah, I also make a cake with the juice. So moist and flavorful.

Artistic License Disclosure: Actually, I don’t have one of these trees here on the farm, although I’ve seen the messes they can make. Friends throughout Jefferson County call me the minute their tree shows signs of ripening. I’m offered more fruit than I can possibly use in a season. Do you have a tree? There are good recipes on the internet or contact me and I’ll help you. It is great with cream cheese and crackers.

The photos on this page are from the Pindo Palms at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Monticello.