Ramón seeds were a traditional food of the Maya, whose name for the tree meant “the corn tree” since they ate the seeds like corn. The seeds could be dried and ground into flour and were capable of being stored for lengthy periods of time. The flour was blended with corn flour and the seeds were also roasted and drunk as a roasted beverage which was considered to be highly nutritious for pregnant women. Multiple names for ramón trees throughout Central America include Capomo, Ojoche, Ojite, Ojushte, Ujuxte, Masica, Guaimaro, Mojo, Pisba, Waihka, Berba, Manchinga, Taju, Ox, Breadnut and Chokogou in other Central American cultures.

Ramón seeds do not contain tree allergens like almonds, walnuts and pecans because they are the seed of a fruit, not a tree nut. People with sensitivity to almonds can drink Teeccino’s Maya flavors safely.

Ramón seeds have twice the amount of calcium as corn, quinoa and oats, are high in fiber and high in potassium. Studies show that ramón seeds are very high in antioxidants and are comparable to walnuts, which have the highest level of antioxidants of any tree nuts.

Caroline MacDougall under Ramon Tree in Coba
Ramón seed emerging from the fruit
Women sorting ramón seeds

Roasted ramón seeds have a similar taste to coffee with some chocolate flavor notes. Its flavor as a raw seed is quite neutral like a potato.

However, when roasted, the flavor of the seed is transformed and becomes like dark roasted coffee. The Maya were drinking a brew of roasted ramón seeds before the Spaniards ever brought coffee to America!
Ramón flour is very high in potassium, fiber and tryptophan, the amino acid that helps calm stress, anxiety and depression. Fresh ramón seeds can be boiled like potatoes or dried and ground into a flour. The flour is fat free and gluten free making it an excellent addition to increase fiber and nutrients in baked goods.

Teeccino has pioneered the harvest of ramón seeds in rural communities in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala. By giving value to this seed, which once formerly going to waste on the forest floor, we have provided income opportunities for women and food for their families by educating them about how to prepare ramón seeds to make nutritious recipes.

Read more about Teeccino’s mission to create new trade that preserves rainforests and the educational and nutritional programs for women and children in Central America that we support.

Caroline with ramón collectors in Guatemala