Loroco is a green unopened flower bud that has found its place in Central American dishes and cuisines. It is quite popular for its use in sauces, stews, and soups. The flower comes from a herbaceous vine known as Fernaldia pandurata, and you can find between 8 and 18 flowers on each plant.
Loroco is the most harvested flower in El Salvador and Guatemala because it is a popular source of food. In Central America and Mexico, it was called Quilite, which translates into edible herb. The loroco is used in all of Mesoamerica to identify the original name of the flower. The most popular culinary use for loroco is in pupusas, a well-known dish from El Salvador made by stuffing a thick corn tortilla with anything you can think of and loroco.
What does loroco taste like? Loroco has a very distinctive taste, it tastes like most greens but combined with overtones of nuts. It has an earthy-artichoke flavor to accompany the overtones of nuts. The taste of loroco is best described as a cross between squash and mild broccoli. The taste could also remind you of chard, mixed with a flowery sweetness, accompanied by woody undertones and a pungent tangy aftertaste.
When frozen, loroco loses its flavor. Unfortunately, loroco is distributed in jars (pickled in vinegar or brined using salt) and frozen. You can only get the real flavor described above if you have your loroco fresh.
Nutritional Benefits of Loroco
Loroco is a lovely, exotic, edible flower, and it comes with nutritional benefits. It is a good source of vitamins A, B, and C, and other nutrients like calcium, iron, and food fiber. Loroco contains a good amount of antioxidants, which are great for relieving the body of oxidative stress.
Pent-up oxidative stress affects the cells and causes harm to one’s overall well-being. Eating foods like loroco, which is a good source of antioxidants, is a great way to keep one’s health in good shape.
Loroco can inhibit cells in the body that cause premature aging. Premature aging is usually caused by free radicals that are roaming free in the body.
With its supply of antioxidants that eliminate free radicals, loroco can do wonders for your skin. This isn’t the only benefit loroco has to offer the skin, it can potentially help you get rid of acne. One of the major causes of Acne is the presence of dirty blood in the system. Loroco helps blood circulation, keeps the blood free of dirt, so it could reduce acne or potentially help cure it.
The vitamin A present in loroco helps to keep the nasal cavity free from radicals in the air. It also helps the production of energy in the body, reducing fatigue. Loroco can also help you avoid eye disorders by supplying the body with ample vitamin A.
Loroco can also affect moods, it contains vitamin C, which could help to improve moods. If you are an avid mood swinger when you are under stress, loroco could help you feel better.
Loroco has other health benefits, like being good for the heart, helping to control blood pressure, and its role in helping to strengthen the bones and teeth. However, no matter how much you enjoy loroco (the flower) for its nutritional benefits, don’t eat the root of the plant (Fernaldia pandurata) that bears it. The root of the plant that bears loroco is very toxic and could result in death.
Culinary Uses of Loroco
Loroco is an important ingredient in pupusas, a very popular dish in El Salvador which is made by stuffing thick corn tortillas with different kinds of things, ranging from meat, veggies, cheese, and pork with the inclusion of loroco.
Loroco is the main ingredient in loroco cream sauce, which is perfect over zucchini squash, tilapia filet, or chicken. The sauce is made using fresh loroco, heavy cream, chicken broth, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, salt, freshly ground pepper, and jalapeños to taste.
Using a recipe and leaving the heavy cream and lemon out, the remaining ingredients are measured and blended, then sautéed in butter and oil over medium heat. The mixture is stirred occasionally till the sauce begins to bubble. Then, heavy cream and lemon juice are added to thicken the sauce. It is then left to simmer.
Loroco can be used as the main ingredient in an omelet, it can also be used in fried rice. It is best suited for recipes that do not need a long cooking duration; it can be stir-fried, steamed, or boiled. Loroco works well in salads, tamales, or even as a topping for pizza. It can also be incorporated into soups and stews. It pairs well with seafood, chicken, zucchini, and cheese.
Origin of Loroco? Where to Procure it?
Loroco is native to the Central American region. It is probably from El Salvador to be more precise. In the region, it is allowed to grow wild, or homegrown in gardens. As the popularity increases, commercial cultivation is being encouraged in countries like Honduras and El Salvador. The plant prefers to grow in areas where the temperature range is between 68 and 90 F.
Loroco is very popular in El Salvador but is slowly being introduced to Mexico and Nicaragua. It is transported by migrants and can be found fresh in these places. However, fresh loroco is not available in the United States because of the risk of plant diseases.
Loroco can be bought frozen, or in jars, after it has been preserved through brining or pickling. Outside America, it can be bought fresh when it is in season, which is usually in the late spring till early fall in Central America.
Can You Eat Loroco Raw?
Flowers and leaves have been used to make salads or used for making tea. They can be used as a garnish, pickles, or cowslip wine. Loroco is not poisonous, only the roots are. Eating it raw might be a better way to get its flavor and taste.
Facts You Don’t Know About Loroco
- To enjoy loroco at its best, it is advised to eat it immediately after it has been harvested. It has a shelf life of just two days in the refrigerator if you plan to keep it fresh a little longer.
- The plant Fernaldia pandurata that bears loroco belongs to the Apocynaceae family.