Wild food foraging offers an wide selection of food growing in the wild including the edible Agave Americana. Agave Americana is as known by the names: century plant, maguey or American aloe. It typically lives about 10 to 30 years, it has a spread of about 4 ft with gray green leaves up to 2 ft long.
The major parts of a Agave Americana which are edible: Flowers, stalks, basal rosettes, and the sap. Leaves are a lesser edible part of the plant.
The agave plant flowers in the summer and each plant can produce several pounds of aromatic flowers. Both the flowers and the buds need to be boiled or steamed before they can be eaten.Once boiled the flowers can be battered and fried or added to scrambled eggs.It is recommended that the pollen tips (anthers) be removed before cooking to avoid a bitter flavor.
The agave leaves are harvested in the winter or spring when the sap content is the highest.The leaves are cut into large chunks and roasted or baked. The roasted leaves have a rich caramel flavor but are highly fibrous so the leaves are chewed and the left-over fibers are thrown out.
The agave plants are cut off at the base of the plant, the stalks, basal rosettes and leaves are trimmed and removed and reveals the large agave heart. The trimmed heart looks a bit like a huge green pineapple or pine cone. The agave hearts and stalks are roasted and eaten.
The heart of the plant is very rich in saccharine matter and can be eaten when baked. Sweet and nutritious, but rather fibrous. Seeds can be ground into a flour and used as a thickener in soups or used with cereal flours when making bread. Flower stalks can be roasted and eaten just like asparagus. Sap from the cut flowering stems is used as a syrup.
There are other uses as well. The plant contains saponins that can be extracted of the leaves and used as a soap. It is likely that the root is the best source of the saponins that are used to make a soap.
Agave nectar, also called agave syrup, is marketed as a natural form of sugar with a low glycemic index that is due to its high fructose content.
Search for Agave Americana in light sandy and medium loamy well-drained soils. They do not grow in the shade and it can tolerate drought.
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