Lucuma (Pouteria obovata) is a beautiful, subtropical Andean fruit, of the Sapote-family, native to the dry subtropical coastal valleys of Peru; introduced later in Ecuador and Chile. It is one of the lost crops of the Incas, who connected the fruit to fertility. This is a rare case of a species of ancient cultivation, little-known outside its homeland, that has recently found a place in modern food processing. Lucuma trees in the Andes are known to live over 500 years and still produce fruit!
Considered rich, nutritious, and satisfying; lucuma fruit is versatile to use; and possesses a distinctive flavour. The fruits bright yellow or orange flesh is usually blended into other foods to which it is added for both its flavour and colour. Alternative descriptions of the flavour describe it as a unique mix of maple and sweet potato.
It is a highly nutritious fruit, rich in Vitamin B, particularly Vitamin B3 and Carotene. It is rich in fiber content, minerals, carbohydrates and contains 14 essential trace elements including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. It contains abundant nutrients, including antioxidants which enrich our immune system. The Lucuma fruit is low in acid and very nutritious. It is a source of carbohydrate and calories with high levels minerals including iron, and vitamins including carotene (Vitamin A) and niacin (vitamin B3) as well as other B vitamins.
The Lucuma fruit is first selected and washed in water. It is peeled and then frozen in a static tunnel system by forced air. An optimum temperature of -7.6 F is applied to the thermal center and purest natural isolate is extracted. Lucuma powder or flour is produced.
What is it good for?
Lucuma fruit has been tested in scientific studies and preliminary research has demonstrated that it offers health benefits. It has been reported in 2009 by the publication in the Journal of Medicinal Food that lucuma fruit is rich in anti-oxidants and hence possesses therapeutic properties such as it aids in the management of hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus conditions.
According to a publication in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2010, it has been suggested that Lucuma nut oil hastens the wound healing process. This study states that it promotes regeneration of the skin cells and accelerates wound healing.
It contains carotenoids, which are powerful anti-oxidants, believed to boost our immune system, minimize inflammation, protect against certain types of cancer and aid in the management of blood pressure. Consuming Lucuma boosts energy in the form of calories.
How is it used?
The golden-yellow Lucuma-fruit, with her caramel-vanilla-like flavour & creaminess, is very popular in drinks and smoothies, desserts, cookies, yoghurts and ice cream. In Peru, Lucuma is even leaving behind vanilla and chocolate, in popularity! The orange-yellow fruit pulp has a dry and starchy texture and can be used to thicken the consistency of a dish and to make it creamier. It has a caramel, maple, sweet potato or pumpkin-like taste. The fruit pulp is dehydrated and lucuma flour or powder is extracted.
The Lucuma fruit has the following scientific names: Pouteria Obovata or Lucuma Obovata. In 1531, Lucuma fruit was first used by the Europeans of the Inca Empire. Historically, they referred it to as “The gold of the Incas.” Lucuma fruit, also known as Lucmo is referred to as Teissa in Philippines, and Egg fruit in English. The drought resistant Lucuma tree is native to Andean valleys of Peru. However, it is also found in Costa Rica, Bolivia, Vietnam, Equador, Laos and subtropical foothills of California.