When I was asked if we'd like to try out new superfood Baobab Powder, I did a bit of a double-take.
The only thing I know about Baobab trees is the fact that they feature in the classic French story, Le Petit Prince, where they have to be kept in check because they want to take over the planet ! (The story was written during World War II so the invading baobabs were supposed to represent industrial and miltary powers-that-be.)
You may not be aware of Le Petit Prince but it is almost a national institution in France, so much so that he used to feature on the 50 franc note, before the euro was introduced.
But enough about the fictional baobab trees - I was interested to learn about the real baobabs and, more importantly, their fruit. The press release explains : "Baobab is a superfruit originating from southern Africa. It grows on trees and is harvested between May and September each year. Also known as the “upside down tree”, it is pollinated by bats and produces large green or brownish baobab fruits. A simple process to obtain the powdery fruit pulp involves collecting the fruit by hand, cracking open the hard shells and then milling and separating into a course and fine powder."
So why is it being dubbed the new superfruit? Again, the press release offers lots of information : "Baobab has a range of nutritional benefits including high ascorbic acid content, high pectin content, and several B vitamins including B1, B2, B3 and B6. Baobab is rich in calcium containing higher levels than milk – baobab can contribute up to 30mg/day to the diet. Baobab also has more than 100 times the anti-oxidant activity compared to that of oranges and contains over 50% total dietary fibre. Due to the high levels of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants baobab is said to be a natural boost to health and may also aid the absorption of iron from food. Baobab is widely consumed all over southern Africa as a refreshing juice or snack, and is particularly enjoyed by children. Pregnant women use it for its health benefits. The Kung San bushmen of the Kalahari eat it to ward off winter colds, combat fevers, stomach upsets and as a general pick-me-up."
Sounds great, but I wanted to see what it tasted like. I tipped some out to have a look and it's a light brown powder with a texture similar to icing sugar. I dipped my finger in for a taste and it has a zingy taste that isn't unpleasant.
I decided to add some to a cranberry and apple crumble, mixing it into the fruit before sprinkling it with Golden Syrup Sugar which would disguise the brownish colour of the baobab powder.
It disappeared into the fruit without leaving any powdery residue and nobody even noticed it was in there ! I could detect some sharpness but I'm not sure if that came from the tart cranberries or the baobab powder.
As you can see, it was gobbled up in no time and everyone declared it delicious. Baobab can be used in a range of recipes from smoothies and curries to flapjacks and jams, so I'll be looking for other recipes to add it to.
As well as the health benefits, I love the fact that The Eden Project is working with an organisation called TreeCrops Ltd, working with harvester groups in Malawi (where Eden currently sources all its baobab powder) to supply baobab produced to fair trade standards. The Eden Project is championing the growth of the superfruit in the UK market by undertaking a project to raise awareness of baobab and baobab products. Working with PhytoTrade Africa, ‘Project Baobab’ also aims to educate people on the importance of sustainably harvesting the fruit to ensure there’s a positive impact on poor families in Africa.
RRP : £5 for a box of 8 sachets, £12.50 for a 200g pouch, £14.50 for a 250g jar
for more information : www.edenprojectshop.com
Disclosure : I received some samples in order to write an honest review.
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