It’s amazing how much there is to learn about plants. There’s the normal growing habits, origin, lore, historical uses, medicinal properties… and about a million more things. But I find most fascinating what I learn from touching and tasting plants.
When I’m in Belize, I’m basically always shoveling (no pun intended) leaves, sticks or flowers into my mouth. It’s mandatory. When you are walking in the jungle or on someone’s farm – and they offer you a piece of something to try, it’s not like you are going to say no. I politely say yes, try it, then spit it out if it’s gross or (seemingly) potentially deadly. Luckily on the Spice Farm (central Belize) everything grown there is edible and grown organically.
My favorite thing they had the last time time I visited (March 2014) were the giant Cinnamon trees. They were so lovely, with pale greenish blue leaves and brownish red bark. I got to see how the bark easily splits away from the branch when you tap it a certain way – a pretty sustainable way to harvest a percentage of bark from the tree, with it continuing to grow and produce.
Chewing on the bark is the most typical (full of anti-bacteria and anti-fungal properties), but I found chewing on the leaves gave a nicer, more mild taste.
What are your favorite things to chew on in the garden?