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Water Lily vs Lotus seeds: Aren't they the same?

Difference between water lily and lotus

Making the distinction between these two easily confused ancient powerhouse plants.

The misconception between the Water Lily Plant and the Lotus flower is something that has confused Makhana fans around the world. ZENKO's co-founders Wouter and Jochim explored the communities where Makhana is harvested to re-discover what Makhana truly is.

Makhana, though often mislabelled as Popped Lotus Seeds, is actually derived from the seeds of the Prickly Water Lily Plant, also known as the Euryale Ferox, found largely in North India and specifically Bihar.

The water lily seeds are stored in the bulb of the water lily flower, a prickly bundle full of the seeds which eventually burst when it is ripe, releasing the seeds, and making them available to harvest. The seeds are then harvested, roasted, and popped, preparing them to be consumed by the locals who have enjoyed them for years, and more recently, to be sent to other curious explorers eager to try this coveted superfood as well.

Euryale ferox water lily flower zenko superfoods

While water lily seeds are stored in the bulb of the flowers, lotus seeds are stored in the lotus’ emergent roots, which grow in parallel to the flowers where their seeds reside. Unlike water lily seeds, lotus seeds can’t be popped. Rather, they are harvested, their hard shell is removed and they are roasted and can be eaten once roasted. It is a common ingredient in Chinese herbal soups, and is someone referred to as the Chinese Almond even!

Lotus seed flower zenko superfoods

The primary difference between the seeds is that water lily seeds can be naturally processed into light, puffy, airy Makhana, which is like popcorn, but corn free with a plethora of health benefits. Lotus seeds, however, are consumed more similarly to roasted corn nuts or pumpkin and sunflower seeds, where the seed remains close to the form it was harvested in.

Through ZENKO’s hands-on approach with our suppliers, we have peeled back all the confusion around these seeds, and can now sit back and enjoy a few freshly popped and roasted Water Lily Seeds of our favourite flavour.


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