Loroco is a popular edible flower of Central America and southern Mexico, and was called Quilite, which in the indigenous language means “Edible herb”. The name “loroco” is used throughout Mesoamerica to identify her original name. The flowers are harvested and used in almost every Guatemala and El Salvador’s kitchen cuisine, because it is an important and popular source of food. The plant’s buds and flowers are used for cooking in a variety of ways, including in Pupusas, El Salvador’s most well-known dish. (A thick corn tortilla stuffed with anything from cheese to pork, seafood or veggies). In Central America, flowers are produced all-year-round but in S. Florida it produces few flowers in winter. Clusters of unopened buds and partially- and fully-opened flowers are clipped from the vine and stored in well-ventilated baskets (not in plastic bags). If required for export, they are quick-frozen or canned.
Fernaldia pandurata is a herbaceous vine with oblong-elliptical to broadly ovate leaves 4-13 cm. long, 1.5-8 cm broad, inflorescences are generally somewhat shorter than the leaves, with 8-18 flowers, the pedicels 4-6 mm. long; bracts ovate, 1-2 mm long; calix lobes ovate, acute or obtuse, 2-3 mm. long; corolla white within, greenish outside. This natural aphrodisiac product contains vitamins A, B and C, besides calcium and iron. It is rich in fiber, all of this nutritional information is backed by two analytical reports prepared by “Instituto de Nutricion de Centro America y Panama” I.N.C.A.P.(Nutritional Institute of Central America and Panama). This product consists of the flower of the Loroco, which are very aromatic and pulpous besides, it is low in calories (only have 32 in 100gr). Loroco has more nourishing properties in the nourishing composition table which shows that 100gr of Loroco flowers have 89.3 gr of water. Thanks to the fiber, it also has spasmodic properties, which act like a relaxing component.
The Loroco flower definitely has a distinctive taste, a highly aromatic earthy- artichoke, flavor with overtones of nuts. It is used in salads, rice dishes, stews and sauces. Unfortunately, only if you get it fresh you will experience the flavor when it is cut and used in recipes. Frozen, it loses its flavor. Anyhow, it comes in jars (brined or pickled in vinegar), or frozen.
Personally, I like Loroco cream sauce over grilled Chicken, Tilapia filet, Zucchini squash or Pipian. You can make the sauce sweet, salty, sour or spicy. Taste depends on the dish that is liked or disliked; or does it? Anyhow, my Grandmother gave me the best Loroco’s sauce over zucchini squash when I was a little girl and made it for me often. She’d always liked to infused her dishes with the spices, flowers and fruits of her native region. Every time I have the chance to eat it I reminisce when I was a little girl and feel close in spirit to my late grandmother. Now, just follow these few simple steps with a big dose of intuition and you’ll find success. :O)
4 medium zucchini (Italian squash, halved lengthwise)
3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3/4 cup fine minced onions
2 medium tomatoes, diced (you can seed them or not, your preference)
3 small cloves garlic
3 eggs beaten
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (if desired, non-fat)
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese (if desired, non-fat)
1 tsp dried crushed oregano
3/4 teaspoon fresh dill weed)
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut spaghetti squash in half length-wise. Carefully scrape out seeds, but do not cut into the body of the squash to leave half inch rim. Chop the scraped pulp into bits and cook in butter with onions and garlic until onions are soft. Combine; sautéed ingredients with breadcrumb, cheeses, tomatoes, herbs and eggs. Salt and pepper al gusto. Fill each zucchini with mixture and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes until solidified.
1 ½ cup of Loroco flowers (preferable fresh)
½ cup heavy cream (non-fat if desired)
½ cup chicken broth to desired consistency)
1 cup of cashews
1 clove garlic
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Jalapeno fresh to taste (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Put on the blender the Loroco, chicken broth, jalapeno, garlic and cashews and process until completely smooth. In a large skillet sauté the five ingredients in butter and oil over medium heat stirring occasionally until sauce are bubbling. Add heavy cream and lemon juice: simmer until sauce thickens and coat the back of the spoon. Serve hot over the squash. Delish!