Loroco tastes “green” with overtones of nuts. The closest taste perhaps to compare the “green” part to is chard, or a cross between mild broccoli and squash. It is used in salads, rice dishes, stews and sauces. In El Salvador and in Honduras, it is added to the fillings in “pupusas.”
The Loroco plant is a woody vine. It grows wild in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and prefers a temperature range between 68 and 90 F (20 and 32 C.)
The leaves can be 1 1/2 to 8 1/2 inches (4 to 22 cm) long and 1 1/2 to 5 inches (1 1/2 to 12 cm) wide. The vine produces flowers in clusters of 10 to 32, averaging 25 per cluster, that in turn, if unharvested, produce pods up to 13 inches (34 cm) long, containing 25 to 190 seeds. The pod matures from green to dark brown.
In El Salvador and in Honduras, the vine has been traditionally cultivated in home gardens, though now commercial growing is encouraged.
Loroco is not available fresh in the United States because the United States Department of Agriculture’s Commodity and Biological Risk Analysis team discovered that the plants can bring with them the “Diabrotica adelpha” beetle.
Loroco can be bought in jars (brined or pickled in vinegar), or frozen. Outside America, they can also be bought fresh in some markets in season.
Loroco is native to Central America, probably El Salvador.