Inga Bean (Ice Cream Bean) Trees
FRUIT-INGA-1-6Regular price $25.00
Inga Bean trees are an attractive nitrogen-fixing tree with dark green foliage. These plants aren't called 'Ice Cream' plants for nothing - the large beans are filled with delicious edible pulp that has a candy-floss texture and vanilla taste. What better way to convince your children to eat their greens?
Urban Bounty Inga Bean plants are sold in 2.5 litre pots.
What is Inga Bean (Ice Cream Bean, Inga Edulis)
Inga Bean trees are a gorgeous tree that hales from central and south America. Their natural habitats in the Brazilian Amazon include swamps, riverbanks and lakes. We love their nickname 'Ice Cream Bean' - what's not to love about a fruit that taste like vanilla ice cream!
Inga Bean trees have glossy dark green leaves and white Pohutukawa-style flowers. They produce huge bean pods of up to 15 cm long or longer! Like legumes, they are a great nitrogen fixer in the garden.
This is a fast grower that can reach up to 8 metres high in New Zealand, so they are best suited to a large section or life style block. Try an Inga Bean in your large tropical garden.
Culinary Uses for Inga Bean (Ice Cream Bean, Inga Edulis)
Like the name suggests, the vanilla-flavoured pulp from Ice Cream Beans can be used in desserts, or simply enjoyed fresh. Break the husk open with your hands and discard before scooping the pulp out with a paring knife or your fingers.
If eating fresh, separate the seeds before eating, as they are toxic when raw. They are fine when cooked though - try roasting the protein-rich seeds for a savory Mexican-style snack.
Growing Conditions Inga Bean (Ice Cream Bean, Inga Edulis)
Inga Beans come into season between May and July, and take about three years to bear fruit. This easy-to-grow tree loves a sunny, sheltered spot. It will grow in part shade, but won't fruit as well. As a nitrogen fixer, this tree is a good option if you have poor soil and lots of space.
A tropical plant, Inga Bean prefer a warm climate, and don't cope well in frosty or windy climates. They will tolerate some salt spray though.
Inga Bean plants are thirsty and need regular water in dry periods and over summer.
Minimal pruning is required - just remove dead or diseased limbs, or prune to shape if desired.