Bōb (Pandanus tectorius - Pandanaceae)
Bōb Food Value
The fruit of bōb is a valuable source of vitamin-A. It also has small amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamin-C. Some varieties are chewed raw, some cooked, and others may be consumed in either state. The first fruits ripen around October, with the main season in November, December, and January. Some fruits continue to ripen well past this season. A study on Mājro forty years ago indicated that some people ate as many as 25 bōb keys a day, and that some bōb fruit in one form or another was eaten 293 days out of the year. Bōb is far less available in the urban centers now. Recently on Ebeye a large, compound fruit of Bob cost $12 in a grocery store. Raw or cooked bōb contains 14 to 18 percent carbohydrate with no fat. It is thus a highly nutritious and healthful food, and it is delicious.
Bōb fruit can be prepared and then preserved as a paste or a powder. In this form it can last for years. It is thus a good emergency food and was taken on board canoes in the past for use as sea rations. A German visitor to the Marshall Islands, Wendler, described the making of mokwaņ (pandanus paste) on Utrik Atoll 1908:
"Bōb keys were partly crushed with a large stone. They were then cooked in the earth oven for about twelve hours. Girls and children removed the keys and took them to men who scraped (kilok) them on a pandanus leaf mat (waikañ or peka). The resulting honey-like mass was spread on a wooden drier (jād). The dried cake was taken from the drier and then cooked and dried again. It was then wrapped in pandanus leaf and tied with coconut sennit cord. The final package was portable and so well preserved and protected that it was safe from insect pests and could last for years. Chiefs often used these packages for gifts. Mokwañ could be eaten in cut sections or made into a soup (jinnōb). The entire process was accompanied by repetitive singing and general merriment. Mokwañ is the earlier stage of jāānkun. Jāānkun is the final product, wrapped in pandanus."
Bōb Fruit - Detailed line drawing