Christmas and New Year in Limpopo, is synonym with watermelon and cool subtropical salads with mango’s papayas, litchis and creamy avocados abundant on all the local markets this time of the year. (See recipes at the bottom)
Levubu valley and the Soutpansberg’s subtropical fruit
Limpopo’s citizens are really spoilt for choice, having the fertile and subtropical Levubu valley with its macadamia nut and avocado producers in their midst, also farming with other crops like mangos, bananas, litchis, guavas, papayas, pineapples and a variety of vegetables like orange sweet potatoes, ginger and sunny yellow mealies all sold at open-markets and farm stalls along the roads.
South Africa is the second biggest exporter of macadamia nuts in the world and well known for our ready-to-eat avocados during European summer holidays. The Levubu valley macadamia and avocado producers see to it that the locals get their fair share of nutrition from the valley all year round: one can buy nuts, oils and dried fruit from various farm stalls, with dried mangos becoming almost as popular as kudu-biltong nowadays.
Tshakhuma fruit market is one colourful stop on Madi a Thavha’s Venda Land of Legend tour Venda Life style tour. Tshakhuma open market has abundant fruit and vegetables stalls on both sides of the road. One can buy fresh seasonal fruits at this vibrant 24/7- market and have interesting conversations with the villagers who run it. Guests can also visit artist Mishack Raphalalani next to the open market at Tshakhuma.
About macadamia nuts and oil
Macadamia has between 78 to 86 percent monounsaturated fat – the good for you, heart-healthy kind of fat. Mono-unsaturated fat helps lower cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. Because of its high content of mono-unsaturated fat, macadamia nut oil is fast becoming a favorite among top chefs around the world. Not only is it healthier than olive and canola oil, but many people also says it has a better nutty taste. Macadamia oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil too, which means that it can be cooked at higher temperatures without breaking down or losing its flavor.
Macadamia products can be bought from RoyalMac’s factory in Levubu on our Venda Lifestyle tours. This factory and various other farms with fruit juices and dried fruit units can also be visited.
About avocados and its oil
Avocados are available almost all year round in Northern Limpopo: when the ‘valley’ avocados are finished the ‘mountain’ avocados comes in.
Avocados are high in fiber and folate and a good source of vitamins C and E and potassium, with some vitamin B3 and magnesium, a potent antioxidant. It also provides lutein, an antioxidant that can keep eyes healthy.With two-thirds of the fat mono-unsaturated, avocado oil can be drizzled over salads and cooked vegetables. The oil has the highest smoke point of any vegetable oil and can be used for high-heat frying.
Ripen a hard Hass variety avocado by leaving it at room temperature until its skin has turned from green to purple. The green avocado cultivars are ripe when the fruit yields to gentle pressure. Avocado also makes for a refreshing beauty mask.
Limpopo Baobab, Avocado and summer fruit recipes
Photos and recipes courtesy of Eco products – Eco product’s factory is in Louis Trichardt/Makhado where they sell Baobab powder and cosmetic Baobab oil. This factory can also be visited by prior arrangement.
Guacamole with Baobab Powder – where Mexico meets Africa!
Avocados’ season coincides with baobabs. So with a tub of baobab powder and some ripe avocados this Guacamole Baobab fusion was born.
- 3 ripe avocados
- 1 tbsp baobab powder
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp thick cream (optional) or low fat yoghurt
- ½ onion finely sliced
- 1 ripe tomato, deseeded and chopped
- 1 red chili, deseeded and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Remove and discard the avocado skins and stones and mash the avocado flesh in a bowl with a fork. Mix in the baobab powder, salt pepper and cream or yoghurt (optional).
- Mix the onion, tomato, chili and garlic together and add to the avocado mixture.
Fruity and healthy Baobab Ice Lollies
Recipe by Candice Douglas, Cape Town and photos from Eco Products
Bursting with fresh, fruity flavours with a zesty tart twist of organic baobab powder, these Fruity Baobab Ice Lollies are instant summer crowd-pleasers that are guilt-free and healthy. Baobab powder is loaded with vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and digestive fiber. It’s also one of the richest plant-based sources of calcium at 1.5 times more than almonds.
- ½ cup juice (we used apple)
- 1 Tbsp baobab powder
- 1 ½ cups fresh fruit peeled and chopped (see our favourite combinations below)
- Optional: 2 tsp honey, if you prefer it sweeter
We’ve chosen fruit combinations for their brilliant colour and summer-sweet flavours. Try one, try them all, or invent your very own combinations with Baobab.
Watermelon and Raspberry with Baobab
- 1 cup watermelon
- ½ cup raspberries
Pineapple with Baobab
- 1 ½ cups fresh pineapple pieces
Kiwi and Lime Zest with Baobab
- 1 ½ cups kiwi fruit (about 3 kiwis)
- Juice of ½ lime as part of the ½ cup of juice
- Pinch of lime zest
- For a pretty twist on the usual, keep a few pieces of fruit aside to add after blending ; about 2-4 small pieces per ice lolly. Blend the ingredients together until smooth, and pour into the moulds. Add the fresh fruit chunks and then the ice lolly sticks.
- Freeze for 5-6 hours, or overnight.
If you would prefer to use wooden sticks instead of the plastic ones that came with the mould set, pop in at the pharmacy and ask where they stash the tongue depressors. They make really great ice lolly sticks!
Dissolve honey into a little warmed up juice, and let it cool before using as part of your 1 ½ cups. Before you pour your mixture into the mould, remember to check the height of the sticks to make sure they’ll fit into your freezer! It will make between 6-8 lollies depending on size of your moulds.