Autumn is coming to Brazil.
But even with the cooler weather, there is always still something green and blooming.
My favorite green thing down here is the magnificent Pinheiro (Paraná Pine - Candelabra Tree). It has many names. It is officially known as "Araucaria Angustifolia".
Anyway, this time of year, the monster pine cones start to fall and hopefully you're not hit by one! They break open, and, wal-lah! The edible seeds inside are called “pinhão” or in the plural form “pinhões”. So people collect them or buy them in the markets or from vendors on the street, cook them, and eat them. Of note - this is considered a local food that even parts of Brazil aren't fortunate enough to enjoy. The pinhão and the Araucaria tree are big benefits of living in Paraná.
(The pine nut, which is the fruit of a pine tree hidden inside a woody structure known as a pine cone.)
This seeds of this winter snack look a lot like 2" cockroaches.
The pine nut (still in it’s shell) is prepared most often (by the Natives) using a pressure cooker and is seasoned with salt. We just boiled ours in salted water for 40 long minutes.
That was actually the easy part. After they're cooked, you peel the seeds. The pinhão are quite difficult to get into. Our friends here suggest biting off the end, spitting it out and then pushing the nut out with your fingers. We tried this, but I always ended up having to peel it.
The texture and flavor are like a cross between a nut and firm bean which is enhanced by the added salt. The closest thing I can compare the flavor of cooked pinhão to is roasted chestnuts - or for you Texans - boiled peanuts. And as many in my family know, I am NOT a big fan of boiled peanuts. So...considering that and the fact that they are very hard to get into...I'm glad I tried them...but I probably won't miss them all that much when we return home.
(Peeling these nuts open is hard work!)
Tremendous quantities of pinhões are consumed every year in Brazil. Figures show an annual harvest of about 4,300 tons of seeds! Someone is loving them.
If you decide not to eat them, you can plant the “pinhões” and they will grow into another beautiful “Araucária”. However, it takes about 20 years for the tree to start to producing these seeds, and 40 years for the tree to reach maturity. But they do live for another 100 years or more after that!
Breaking News From Up North!!!
Called to Serve
Two of our three Senior grandsons have received their mission calls.
Christian has been called to serve in the Canada Toronto Mission (Portuguese speaking) and will report to the MTC on July 5th.
Seth has been called to serve in the Mexico Monterrey East Mission and will report to the Mexico MTC on August 29th.
How cool is Facebook Live!?
Alex turns his papers in the end of this month. Can't wait to find out where he will go!