What version is this Pod?
October 1, 2009 12:42 PM   Subscribe

What is this? (Can|Should|How do) I eat it?

So, I got a whole bagful of these from someone who grew them. They were not able to tell me what it is, but said it was edible. Here's what I do know:

1. Grows on a vine.
2. Stem leaks a milky white fluid.
3. Doesn't smell like anything in particular.

My google-fu has proven quite weak in this case. What is this thing?
posted by Mountain Goatse to Food & Drink (23 answers total)
Does it have seeds? One or many? Cut one open and post a picture of the cross-section.
posted by Ery at 12:46 PM on October 1, 2009

It almost looks like a Milkweed pod?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:00 PM on October 1, 2009

I think it might be a coyote squash
posted by Iron Rat at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2009

Or milkweed
posted by Iron Rat at 1:05 PM on October 1, 2009

"Coyote squash" (a/k/a "coyote gourd") is not edible, and it doesn't look that much like the Mysterious Thingie next to the Sharpie.

That's definitely not a chayote, either, which is edible.

It looks more like a green milkweed pod to me than anything, and although that's in theory edible, it's not particularly nutritious or delicious.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:11 PM on October 1, 2009

I thought it was a general rule that if it bleeds milky sap, then that's a sign of it being poisonous (maybe not enough to kill you, but enough so that eating it would cause stomach upset)
posted by Eicats at 1:12 PM on October 1, 2009

Could it be this Moth Plant thing?
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:13 PM on October 1, 2009

It's a raw almond. Split it open and eat it if you like, but it probably won't taste all that almondy. You can put it between your teeth and bite down gently to get at the nutty goodness inside.
posted by kenko at 1:15 PM on October 1, 2009

I guess I should have said green, not raw, almond.
posted by kenko at 1:17 PM on October 1, 2009

That appears to be Araujia sericofera which is apparently not edible.
posted by ...possums at 1:20 PM on October 1, 2009

All of the green almonds in the Google image search results are missing the little group of leaves on the top and they seem shorter and more round than the flickr sample.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:21 PM on October 1, 2009

I think we really need to see the cross section.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:22 PM on October 1, 2009

I've seen green almonds with that rough cross section and leaves, though you're right, if there's a whole bagful of them, cut it in half!
posted by kenko at 1:28 PM on October 1, 2009

They kind of look like italian hairy cucumbers.
posted by gyusan at 1:35 PM on October 1, 2009

I didn't want to cut one open, lest I disturb the tiny pod people within. I'll try when I get home in a few hours and I'll post new pics.

Thanks for all the answers so far. I think the pic that comes the closest is ...possums, but we'll see what horrors await on the inside.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 2:06 PM on October 1, 2009

The size is wrong for a green almond, unless that's one of those miniature Sharpies. If that's a regular Sharpie, it's the right size for a green milkweed pod.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:07 PM on October 1, 2009

Bladderflower doesn't ooze milky sap, whereas milkweed does. I think that once you open it up, it'll be easier to identify.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:08 PM on October 1, 2009

It does look a bit like a fresh almond, but almond's grow on trees, not vines, and those leaves don't look familiar. I suspect tiny pod-people.
posted by Good Brain at 2:15 PM on October 1, 2009

That looks very similar to the mystery fruit I asked about around this time last year. I'm pretty sure the answer I marked as best correctly identified it as moth vine, araujia sericifera. It oozed a milky liquid too. Take a look at the pictures and see if they match when you cut it open!
posted by booknerd at 2:59 PM on October 1, 2009

It is moth vine/cruel vine/bladderflower/Araujia sericifera. ...possums and booknerd have it. The inside looks exactly like this picture that booknerd linked to in her thread.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by Mountain Goatse at 4:06 PM on October 1, 2009

This is completely irrelevant to the question at hand - but since it's already been answered, I figure it's fair game.

WHY does this happen so often? I can think of three instances off the top of my head where I was given something with the assurance it was edible, only to find out later that it clearly was not. (And further, that only some kind of idiot would have thought it was edible in the first place.)

I'm torn between hoping you can tell your benefactor that these things are not edible, and urging the benefactor to EAT UP. What kind of person gives away a big sack of something with the assurance that "I don't know what it is, but I do know you can eat it"?
posted by ErikaB at 7:38 PM on October 1, 2009

ErikaB, I hear you, but the person who gave this to me has actually eaten it and did give it to me in good faith. They are not from here and do not speak English all that well, so I think they did not know what it is called in English. And I do believe it is actually edible, though probably not very good. I don't think I'll be eating it, though. Now that I've figured out what it is and have had a chance to research it, my impression is that people do not usually eat it, and that it is basically a noxious and invasive weed. There was only a single source that said it MIGHT be toxic, but I could find no definitive source saying it IS toxic.

My only concern here is whether I let this person know that they've planted a tough-to-eradicate tree-strangler in their yard that will probably kill their apple tree, or just let them be happy eating this nutritionally-negligible alien seed pod.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 8:19 PM on October 1, 2009

Well it does look a lot like a Choko (another name for the Chayote which Sidhedevil ruled out above), which is edible (but crap in my opinion).

They are reasonable prevalent as a weed in Australia - traditionally grown over the outdoor dunny wall or next to a train line.

Maybe friend got them mixed up.
posted by trialex at 11:20 PM on October 1, 2009

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