Baobab trees are grown throughout Africa, usually as solitary individuals and thrive in poor soil and dry environments. The tree can grow up to 82 feet in height and the trunks can grow as wide as 46 ft in diameter. The root span is wider than the trees height and allow the tree to live is such arid climates. It can take up to 200 years for the tree to produce fruit and only start producing it when it reaches a certain size. For about nine months of the year, the tree is leafless and looks like branches growing into the sky. Between the months of October and December the tree bear leaves and large white flowers about 5 inches in diameter. Bats pollinate the flowers when they open and within 24 hours they fall off the tree. When the fruit is ready for harvesting, the pulp hardens into dry bread like chunks and tastes like an acidic cross between a grapefruit, pear and vanilla. After the fruit has been collected, any broken/cracked fruit is removed and the exterior is scrubbed and cleaned. The processing stage is very minimal and could be automated but allows the community to preserve indigenous skills. After the fruit is cleaned, each fruit is cracked open by hand and the powdery fruit pulp is separated from the seeds. All the powder is then milled and sifted multiple times through a fine mesh screen and then vacuum packed into bags.
The Republic of Benin is a longitudinal country in West Africa, situated east of Togo and west of Nigeria. Baobab trees have grown indigenously for thousands of years here, predominantly in the dry, hot savannahs where their sovereign presence dominates the landscape.
Back to ingredients