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This item was last sold on : 08/21/17
Maguey leaves come from the maguey or agave plant and range in size depending on its variety. Maguey leaves are long, sturdy leaves about 10 centimeters wide and can grow up to 1 to 2 meters tall. The leaves are a dusty, dark green to gray-green in color and are bordered with sharp spines, with one larger needle-like spike at its very tip about 3 centimeters long. Maguey plants produce about 50 leaves that grow in a rosette shape. When the plant is mature, which typically takes between 10 to 15 years, a flower stalk will sprout in the center of the plant. The stalk will grow vigorously and can reach up to 10 meters tall. Maguey plants only have one flowering cycle, once the plant flowers the plant will die. The leaves are best when harvested during the winter or spring when the leaf contains the most amount of its sweet sap. When baked and roasted Maguey leaves have a caramel like flavor.
Maguey leaves are available year-round.
The maguey plant is botanically known as Agave americana and is also commonly known as American agave or the Century Plant, although it does not live to be over 100 years old. The maguey plant has over 200 varieties with only about 30 varieties producing the sap needed to make mezcal. Recently maguey worms have become a popular delicacy in Mexico. The worms are found by cutting away Maguey leaves and getting close to the center of the plant where moths have deposited their larvae onto the plant. Early production of mezcal also included these worms in the bottle to attract curious tourist into drinking the local spirit. It is believed by some that finding a maguey worm in one's drink is a sign of good fortune and luck.
Maguey leaves are a good source of iron and calcium particularly when dried. It also has vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and K. The leaves contains inulin, a probiotic fiber that is good for digestive health.
Maguey leaves are often used as a wrap for savory meats such as pork, beef and lamb. Use Maguey leaves to make the traditional Mexican dish, barbacoa, a barbeque method of slow cooking meats in the ground. First, trim the leaves of the spines and roast until the leaves are malleable. Line the ground with Maguey leaves and place meats on top. Then, cover the meats with the leaves and cook for at least 8 hours. When done the meats will be extremely tender and have a smoky sweet flavor imparted from the leaves. Roast Maguey leaves and cut into small chunks for a sweet, caramel treat. This can be enjoyed much like sugarcane, where the fibers are not eaten but discarded once all the sweetness is gone. Maguey leaves should not be eaten raw as they are POISONOUS.
The maguey plant was a multi-purpose plant used by the indigenous residents of Mexico’s highlands for centuries. Its importance lead many to worship the plant for it's life-giving qualities. The Aztecs believed in the goddess of the maguey plant, Mayahuel. According to Aztec myth, the sweet sap from the plant known as “aguamiel” or “honey water” is the blood of Mayahuel. In several drawings Mayahuel is depicted as sprouting from the center of a maguey plant and feeding her many children with the sap of the plant. Archeologist have found evidence of the usage of maguey for food, drink and fibers in their excavation of the rocky highland areas of Mexico. The area would have been otherwise uninhabitable if not for the maguey plant as the main crop of the time, corn, could not thrive in the dry soil conditions. Today, the community of Tlacolula, an area east of Oaxaca Valley, still depends heavily on the plant as their main source of income. Maguey plants are harvested for their hearts and sold to nearby factories to produce tequila and mescal.
Maguey plants originated from Mexico and was believed to have been used by the indigenous residents of the area over 10,000 years ago. It is believed that Spanish and Portuguese explorers brought maguey back to Europe. The most common culinary application of maguey is found in the harvested heart of the plant, when the juice is extracted and then distilled into tequila and mezcal. Before distillation was introduced, Maguey leaves were cut from the plant to collect the sap and create a beer-like drink known as "pulque". Pulque may have been consumed as early as 1500 BCE by Mesoamericans. At the time it was a religious and sacred drink only given to priests and important warriors. After the Spanish conquest pulque's popularity grew considerably and stores specializing in the drink known as "pulquierias" began to pop-up everywhere in the region we know today as Mexico City. There are now over 200 varieties of maguey plants growing all over the world. The maguey plant is easy to grow, drought tolerant and thrives in hot, rocky, dry soil.
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Fruteria OrtizNear Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Blvd. Sanchez Taboada S/N Local 6,7, Y 8, Tijuana 22320
About 368 days ago, 3/19/17
Spotter's comments : Maguey Leaves spotted at Mercado Hidalgo.