Paternas or Cushines

Paterna o Cushin

Once again here is a picture by request. See, Edgar got jealous because Carmen obtained a couple photos of rellenitos as requested, so immediately Edgar mentioned the paternas which are only available in the coastal low lands of Southern Guatemala. Boy, I really go out of the way for you guys. 😉

Now, Edgar and the others Guatemalans will have to explain what this tropical fruit is, what kind of tree it grows on, about its taste and how paternas are eaten. Go for it!

© 2008 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Herber

    aaahhh the cushines! I ate some on my last visit to Mazate!!! The trees they usually grow up are the shadow trees for trees with best coffe in the whole world!! You have to break the cushin in two and then rip off the cascara from the sides and then lift the “upper” side 🙂 the seeds are covered with something that looks like cotton (just like in the picture)

  • Bea

    Oh my God Paternas!!! mmmh I can still taste the flavor! Although I can’t explain it. Thanks for the memories!

  • Claudia

    OMG – I loved these when I was little my mom would always buy me these as a treat – the only thing is – (it’s been so long) I do remember the fibers sometimes (like a mango or corn) get stuck in your teeth, but this is the ultimate snack, portable, healthy and yummy.

  • ALE

    But careful, you have to eat just the white “cottonish” “meat” don’t eat the black seed. Nice pic.

  • Hello People!

    Thank you Rudy, this was a real treat my brother! Now, since you went all the way down to “el mercado” to try “paternas”, here are my two cents. To clarify about these “vainas”, I have to say that “paternas” are not the same as “cushines”.

    “Paternas” are usually larger than a foot long, thick, and you can eat the white cotton around the dark green soft beans and the beans themselves. That is, if you have the patience to cook them in water with a little salt, take them out of the water, dry them, and pour some lime juice on them. A delicacy you will never forget in your entire life.

    “Cushines , on the other hand, are shorter, thinner, and the little black hard beans are not edible. These two types of pods (“vainas”) grow in deep trees throughout the pacific coast of Guatemala.

    Te recomiendo en tu próximo viaje al mercado unos chicos, zapotes y guanabas o anonas. Están en temporada también.

    Abrazos y, nuevamente, gracias por compartir.

  • Zapotes! Now that is something I know and like… One more thing to my list of things to have on my Summer trip. Thanks E!

  • Raquel

    Hhmmm, since we’re talking about fruits and veggies….I have a question.

    When we were in Antigua we uesd to eat these amazing little brown fuzzy fruits. They’re small – a little bigger than cherries I think – and have orange fruit around a pit. They’re super sour and SOO good, but I can’t remember what they’re called in Spanish, nevermind how to go about finding them in Canada. Any suggestions?

  • Manolo: Next time you visit Guate to eat “zapotes”, your best bet is going around Siquinala, Escuintla. There you will find no less than 4 different types of “zapotes”. Is that mouth watering already?

    Raquel: Please give us more hints about that fruit. We were debating at home whether you were talking about a “mamey” or a “jocote”, probably a “nispero” or a “carambola”. Tell us more about the texture and any more details. Trust us, Rudy will be on assignment to give you the treat of a picture that will bring memories back to you… 😉

  • Raquel

    Haha, thanks Edgar! Jocote is the one I think! (at least that’s the word that is the most familiar) I don’t think they were Nisperos, those I definately remember. I spent some time in San Juan del Obispo and brought a big jar home. MMmmmm!

  • Raquel: I thought jocote when you mentioned they were sour, but they are not fuzzy. The ones that are quite sour are jocotes marañones which I believe is the fruit of cashew nuts, although I have never seem them in Canada. Probably if I go to specific markets because I have seen all sorts of things around here, like pitaya which is known as “dragon fruit”.

    Edgar: I might even smuggle a pit to try to make my own tree up here.

  • Raquel

    Hahaha, do you think it would grow? 🙂

    Hhmmm, not fuzzy? oops, guess I don’t have as good a memory as I thought! Are they kind of wrinkly maybe? I just remember I thought they looked kind of funny, and that they tasted AMAZING!

    • EG11

      Yea.. paternas are soo glad i found this website because i was looking for the name and picture of this fruit!
      But Raquel…The only fruit i can think off would be jocotes i dont think theres any of them in i know for sure that coyoles that Roberto claim to be…Because coyoles have a thin hard shell and there round…there good when they turn yellow and they have some sticky sweet film you can can also try to crack the shell with a hammer if, some how you can find a way to keep the shell from sleeping away when hitting it…Tip: put the seed in side a crak or small pot hole in a concrete to hold it from sleeping not try holdin it by hand…you could hurt you self.

  • Roberto

    I was born in Morales Izabal and I grew up with a fruit that is similar to the one that Raquel is commenting about, the fruit is call Coyoles. Look it up it might be the one you are looking for.

  • holly

    I love Paternas and miss them sooo much, but FYI they dont JUST grow in Guatemala, then can also be found in EL SALVADOR i know this for a fact!!!! and im certain that they probably grow in other neighbouring countries.

  • Patty

    FYI – My cousin has a huge paterna tree in his back yard (in Maywood, CA)

  • Hazardsoldier

    Patty…does your cousin wanna sell me a couple?? Im also in Los Angeles. Please ask..ive been dying to have some. -Andy 818 209 9118

  • Yourfirstone

    cushines and paternas are different,,,they are in the same family tho. paternas have a green seed cushines have an ashy,,there is many types, I will categorize them this way, paterna, cushin, pepeto, caspirol,(there is many types of caspirol,,they are much smaller like 1/3 or 1/4 of the cushins sise, the paterna its much wider than the cushin,,,but the taste of the cushin overides all of them,,,,

  • Luis

    there is one more of those in the same family of cushines, paternas and caspiroles. It is call chalum or chalumes. They grow north of Mazate closer to the mountain and the three also serve to grow coffee. They are smaller that cushines thinner and are brown and fuzzy. They have the same cottonish whit meat and the seed is dark brown..

    • omar

      guayma,and guanijiquil.are the other cushines,those trees are used for shading cofee trees,and the “vaina”is smaller.and it taste almost like paternas.

  • oscar

    Gracias luis,,,,I have seen them,,,,,I know many other species of the caspirol,,family,,,but don’t know the names…….this is a pretty good thread
    yo soy de cuyotenango,,,,,its sad how the deforestation its destroying all the fauna,,,,I went to guate last month I was heart broken,,,,

  • omar

    Had you ever tasted nances,it’s delicious.

  • Carlos

    Bonitos recuerdos, me acuerdo cuando era niño donde yo vivia havian palos de paternas o cushines, almendras, marañones, jocotes, guayabas, papayas, mangos,etc. Tenia todas esas frutas al alcance d mi mano y sin tener q pagar un centavo.

    • Hola Carlos, así sigue siendo la vida para muchos en la Guatemala rural.