The baobab tree, with its iconic shape and associations with the African savannah, is widely recognized. Baobab powder, made from its fruit, known as “monkey bread,” has been gaining popularity. But how can you use it?
History and Characteristics of Baobab Powder
It’s important to differentiate between baobab fruit powder and baobab leaf powder, known as “lalo,” used as a binding agent in culinary preparations. Baobab fruit powder, derived from the inside of the fruit’s husk, has been used for centuries in Africa for its medicinal properties. The baobab tree is considered sacred, symbolizing life, healing, and sustenance.
Every part of the baobab fruit is utilized: the gourd is turned into musical instruments, the seeds are enjoyed as snacks or used to make edible oil, and the leaves are used for infusions.
Calories and Nutritional Information of Baobab Powder
Baobab fruit pulp is rich in vitamins B1, B6, and C (six times more vitamin C than an orange), minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. It’s a nutritionally valuable food, containing magnesium and potassium (six times more potassium than a banana). It acts as a liver purifier and healer and has anti-inflammatory properties. However, its liver-purging effects can potentially disrupt digestion. Baobab powder also possesses antimicrobial and calming properties.
Nutritional Value of Baobab Powder per 100g:
- Protein: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 42g
- Fat: 19g
- Calories: 162 kcal
How to Choose Baobab Powder
Baobab powder typically has a slightly whitish color and is available in powder form or as capsules. However, it is believed to be less effective in capsule form, potentially losing some of its vitamins. While it can be used as a dietary supplement (5 to 15g per day is sufficient for nutritional needs), it is also used in cosmetics. You can dissolve it in your creams and shampoos for well-nourished skin and hair.
Storing Baobab Powder
To preserve the quality of baobab powder, store it in a dry, cool place away from light and heat.
Cooking and Enjoying Baobab Powder
With its slightly tangy and sweet taste, baobab powder is a versatile ingredient. It can replace sugar on cottage cheese, yogurt, and in pancake batter. Baobab powder adds an invigorating grapefruit-like flavor to slushies, smoothies, and other summer refreshments. For an exotic twist, try a blend of coconut water (300ml), mango, passion fruit, and 3 tablespoons of baobab powder. Blend in a blender, and it’s ready to enjoy!
Baobab juice is a traditional Senegalese beverage: dilute a few handfuls of baobab powder in a liter of water, sweeten with vanilla sugar, orange blossom, or any flavor you prefer.
In madeleines and shortbread cookies, baobab powder enhances your favorite snacks. Be sure to reduce the sugar content accordingly when baking.
In savory dishes, it can enhance salad dressings or provide a subtle citrusy flavor to fish, reminiscent of grapefruit, offering a unique twist to traditional lemon.
While baobab powder is often used for its energizing and health-boosting properties, it should not be overlooked for its potential as a refined condiment.