The Jicara’s story from fruit to serving bowl, not be confused with the Jicama. Both Jicara and jicama are fruits found in warm weather climates, the latter is a root vegetable and the former are used primarily as decoration, food containers or in folk medicine. Jicaras can also be known as Bule, Mate, or Morro depending on the tropical country its cultivated from. All fruits comes from the Calabash Tree or Cresentia Cujete which can grow up to 30 feet tall. Surprisingly, the tree’s fruit can grow in an elliptical, oval, or spherical shape and vary in size. The fruits can grow up to 10 inches (25cm) in diameter, providing us with a variety of serving options.
Some historical information on the Calabash tree, it’s been used throughout the centuries for different purposes. The Taino of the Caribbean would cut eye holes out of the ‘gourds’ and use them as masks to hunt for birds in lakes and rivers. They also created musical instruments like maracas and the guiro. Unlike the jicama the jicara is not a staple of the Mexican diet since only used as a folk remedie to cure coughs, diarrhea or bronchitis. We are big fans of jicama with dried chile flakes (different than pizza flakes), if you haven't tried this treasure before please do! Its fresh, crunchy, filling and all around healthy snack. So when we first started exploring the jicaras we assume we could eat them in the same way, not the case.
Our process with the jicara starts by removing the fruit from the tree and letting it dry for 3 days before the pulp is removed. The fruits are cut based on the end purpose: primarily serving dishes, as decoration or cups since it can withstand heat. Once the fruits are dried out and cut in half the pulp can be removed. To prepare the jicara as a serving bowl they are boiled to remove any impurities which dry out the gourd even further, during this process the color of the jicara will chance to a light brown. The Natural beauty and imperfection of the fruit will start to show through after the boiling process, which will even highlight internal “veins” of the fruit and outer bumps or natural bruises. The jicaras are very durable and easy to clean a simple sponge and soap will do the trick. There is no need to worry about adding hot or cold food when serving, nature made sure it could handle anything.
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