Have you ever heard of Tonka Bean? This is not really a vegetable, as the name suggests, but an exotic spice that has become a real trend ingredient lately – especially in the star cuisine. But what benefits does tonka bean have for our health and why is it often called dangerous? Everything about their effects and properties can be found in this article!

Use tonka bean in the kitchen – a real taste explosion

Tonka Bean (also known as Tonka Bean, Tonka Bean or Tongo Bean) is the name given to the dried seeds of the fruit of the Tonka tree, which originated in the tropical rainforests of South America. Its wood is called “Cumaru” or “Brazilian Teak” and is particularly high quality. The “beans” that got their name because of their appearance, at first glance seem to be nothing special, but have many properties that have made them one of the most popular spices in skin cuisine for some time. The small seeds combine vanilla flavor, hayflower fragrance and rum aroma with a delicate cinnamon note – a unique variety of flavors, which makes them simply irresistible! In the gourmet kitchen they are added as a spice to all sorts of dishes – from desserts such as chocolate mousse, puddings and ice cream, to liqueurs and cocktails to various main dishes such as wild ragout, gulash or stews. The unforgettable aroma and the intense taste make the beans ideal for experimenting in the kitchen, but you should use them as sparingly as possible – the causes are explained below.

Tonka bean effect and application

The tonka bean is not only used in the kitchen, but also in many other areas – for example in the cosmetics industry. Since the beans contain essential oils, they are used as an additive in perfumes (especially mascara) or for aromatherapy, where they are used to relieve stress. Small amounts of it are also used to aromatize the tobacco for pipes and cigarettes. The beans are also used in naturopathy – as a remedy for nausea, cough and asthma. In general, the seeds have a harmonizing, relaxing and even slightly eroticizing effect. Nevertheless, one hears warnings again and again, and this is mainly associated with the main ingredient coumarin. Coumarin is considered to be particularly harmful to health because of its effect on the psyche, which resembles that of a drug. Therefore, it is even believed that it can cause cancer, although it has not yet been scientifically proven. For this reason, the sale and use of tonka bean in foodstuffs is restricted in large parts of Europe and even completely banned in the US. But are all these fears justified and should one renounce the consumption of tonka beans completely? Read on to find out the answer!

Is the consumption of Tonka Bean harmful to your health?

Actually, the Komsum of Tonka beans is harmful, but only in large quantities! A maximum of 0.1 mg of coumarin per body weight could be consumed. For this reason, there are fermented tonka beans on the market in Germany, whose coumarin content is artificially reduced to the permitted level. So even if you use the beans every day as a spice, you have nothing to fear. When cooking with it is only a golden rule – work only with small quantities. Anyway, the seeds have a very intense flavor and you could do “culinary miracles” just by using them sparingly. Finally, we offer you a wonderful recipe for strawberry jam with tonka beans, which you should definitely try!

Cooking with Tonga Bean: recipe for strawberry jam

For 3 glasses you need the following ingredients:

  • 750g strawberries
  • half a lemon
  • 75 tonka beans
  • 250g jam sugar

First you should wash, clean and dice the strawberries with lukewarm water. Squeeze out the lemon, and put the juice, together with the diced strawberries, the gelling sugar and the finely grated Tonka bean in a large pot. Crush the fruits with a potato templar and cook with constant stirring at medium pressure for about 3-4 minutes. Take the pot off the stove and wait for the jam to set. Then fill these in 3 screw jars and put them on the lid for 5 minutes. The finished strawberry jam will last 3 months.

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Victoria Marietta

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