Inga Bean FAQs

I scream, you scream, we all scream for inga bean! That’s right. Inga bean is also known as the ice cream bean, and we’re here for it. The white, candy floss-looking pulp of the inga bean is as flavorful and sweet as its moniker suggests. Raw inga bean pulp really does taste a lot like ice cream, with a hint of cherimoya and warm spice reminiscent of cinnamon.

Texturally, inga bean pulp is fresh and juicy with a spongy and delicate feel. The goodness doesn't stop there! The dark seeds of the inga bean can be cooked (to get rid of the pesky toxic bits) and enjoyed with a flavor that’s similar to a garbanzo or lima bean.

What Is Inga Bean

This big legume had us at ice cream, but the inga bean (inga edulis) is also known as the monkey tamarind, joaquiniquil, cuaniquil, guama and guaba. Inga bean pods can range in size from about one to nearly seven feet long! Ripe inga bean pods are dark yellow to brown with white pulp surrounding individual black seeds. Pods are similar in shape to other beans, but inga bean pods possess distinctive spines that make them look a little like winged beans.

Inga beans are native to South America, particularly in coastal countries of Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

What Color Is Inga Bean

Ripe inga bean pods are dark yellow to brown with white, fruity pulp surrounding individual black seeds inside.

How To Tell If An Inga Bean Is Ripe

As inga beans ripen, their outer color will transition from green to yellow to nearly brown. Their fibrous pods will retain their smoothness, yet can wrinkle slightly. Inga beans will begin to communicate their ripeness through a pleasantly sweet fragrance, but don’t let it linger too long. Inga beans have a short shelf life and can be super fragrant when they begin to spoil. On your countertop, inga beans may only last two or three days. In the fridge, inga beans can keep fresh for a few weeks.

How To Prepare Inga Bean

To prepare the inga beans, first open the pod along the inner seam using your fingers. The cottony soft fruit will pop out easily! From there, the inga bean flesh can be enjoyed raw or carefully cut away from the large seeds with a paring knife.

Seeds are inedible raw and should be discarded or set aside for further cooking. Inga bean seeds can be boiled, roasted, baked and cooked in many methods for snacks and savory recipes.

Inga bean pods are fibrous and inedible, and can be discarded into compost.

Are Inga Bean Seeds Edible

Inga bean seeds are edible only after cooking. Raw inga bean seeds are inedible because they are hard and toxic, however the toxic compounds are easily broken down with cooking. Cooked inga bean seeds are said to taste very similar to garbanzo beans.

Where Does Inga Bean Grow

Inga beans are native to South America, particularly in coastal countries of Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Nutrition Of Inga Bean

As with many rare fruits, there isn’t a lot of reliable inga bean nutritional information available. However, the seeds of inga beans are known to be the most nutritious part of the fruit (once they’re cooked).

Inga Bean Pulp Nutrition (100g)

  • Calories: 60
  • Protein: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 1g

Inga Bean Seeds Nutrition (prepared, 100g)

  • Calories: 118
  • Protein: 11g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Fiber: 2g

When Is Inga Bean In Season

Inga beans are available year round (thank goodness) because the plant blossoms periodically throughout the year.

What Does Inga Bean Go In

Inga bean is well suited for small batch jams and jellies, incorporating into fruit and vegetable salads, and desserts. The cotton candy flesh of the inga bean is a sweet and surprising addition to juices and cocktails, too!

What Does Inga Bean Taste Like

The white, spongy pulp of the inga bean is as decadent as its name suggests. Inga ban tastes a heck of a lot like vanilla ice cream with hints of cherimoya and warm spices. Plus, the seeds of the inga bean can be cooked (to get rid of the pesky toxic bits) and enjoyed with a flavor that’s similar to a garbanzo bean.

Ways To Eat Inga Bean

Inga bean is delicious raw, and can be eaten directly from the pod! Flesh can be carefully removed from the large seeds with a paring knife to be used in syrups, salads, smoothies and desserts. Seeds of the inga bean are only edible after cooking (they’re toxic when raw). Inga bean seeds can be boiled, roasted, baked and cooked in many methods for snacks and savory recipes.

Ways To Drink Inga Bean

The cotton candy flesh of the inga bean is a sweet and surprising addition to juices, enhanced water and cocktails!

How To Store Inga Beans

Inga beans have a shelf life of just 2-3 days when left on the countertop. Refrigerate them in a breathable wrapping and inga beans can keep fresh for a few weeks.

Can Dogs Eat Inga Beans

Try as we may, there’s just not a lot of information about whether dogs can eat inga beans safely or not. We don’t recommend feeding inga beans to pets for that reason. The seeds are inedible and toxic when raw, as is the pod, so keep these big ol’ inga bean pods away from curious pups.

Your FruitStand fam encourages you to clear the safety of any new fruits or veggies with your veterinarian before offering them your pooch.

Does Inga Bean Stain

Even though inga bean pulp is white, if any of the juicy pulp comes in contact with certain fabrics it could leave a brownish stain. Use a touch of stain remover or dish soap with cold water on the spot to help keep it from setting in.

Keep a portable stain stick on hand for impromptu fruit feasts. Quickly treating a fruit juice spot greatly increases your chances of avoiding a stain.

How To Get Inga Bean Out Of Clothing

Inga bean fruit is lightly colored, but the pulp and juice can make a mark on some fabrics. If a runaway inga bean falls on your clothing, table cloth or napkins, first treat the spot with a stain remover that’s safe for that particular fabric. Follow the directions on the product to prevent the spot from setting, and pop the item into the washer as soon as you can.