Bean Tonka

Bean Tonka Bean Tonka is also known as kumaru which is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae. The bean Tonka tree is native to many parts of northern and central South America. The seeds of this plant are known as Tonka beans or Tonkin beans. When fresh they have a very strong aromatic fragrance that is similar to the sweet woodruff. The fragrance is primarily due to the high content of coumarin. Once removed from the tree the Tonka bean quickly shrivels up and appears wrinkled. The people who live in central and northern South America have been using Tonka beans in their cooking and for smoking for centuries. Besides food, extracts or powder Tonka beans have also been used in the perfume industry. French chefs have also used Tonka beams in stews and specialty desserts. In Central America, the natives often use Tonka beans instead of vanilla as a flavoring agent. In the USA, the use of Tonka beans is restricted because of concerns for toxicity. Coumarin found in the bean can act like a blood thinner and interact with prescription drugs like warfarin and aspirin. In addition, people who consume Tonka beans and undergo surgery are at a high risk of bleeding because of the presence of coumarin. In South America, Tonka bean powder is also used to flavor tobacco, but its use in cigarettes is regulated in the USA. Besides Central America, Tonka beans are also grown in West Africa, in particular, Nigeria. The plant demands a lot of light and requires rich soil with heavy rainfall. Tonka bean powder is also used in modern day cuisine to add an aromatic flavor. Some chefs, who specialize in Avant Garde cuisine, often add the scent of Tonka beans on the plates before adding on the food. Smoke from the Tonka beans is said to add a very distinct aroma which makes food appetizing and the dining experience very comforting. However, the FDA does not approve of such smoke as it can be poisonous. Even the tiniest shavings are said to enhance food flavor. The natives of South America claim that Tonka bean flavor is like opium, which has no real taste, but the flowery smoke does induce a sensation of an elaborate taste and soothes the mind. The experiences of people who use Tonka beans in foods are vivid and mostly sensory. Others have described the scent of Tonka beans to vanilla, almond, cherry and even cinnamon. Some food stores and restaurants do serve Tonka bean ice cream which tastes like vanilla caramel. When it is served warm, the taste is more like spiced vanilla.

Health Benefits of Bean Tonka:

    Nutrition Facts %DV
    Bean Tonka is also known as kumaru which is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae. The

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