Lucuma is a subtropical fruit indigenous to the Andean valleys of Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. It is well known for its distinctive flavor, resembling a sweet potato or maple syrup.
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What is a Lucuma?
Lucuma fruit (Pouteria lucuma) is also called Lucmo or eggfruit because of its yellow-orange color resembling a boiled egg yolk and the creamy, custard-like texture. Its flavor is sweet and distinctive, with butterscotch, maple, and sweet potato undertones.
Typical Peruvian desserts, including cakes, puddings, and ice cream, frequently incorporate this fruit. Due to its unique flavor, it has gained popularity in Western nations, where it is commonly used as a sweetener instead of brown sugar for health-conscious dishes.
The fruit has an oval form, a rough, green exterior, and a rocky seed inside. It is an abundant source of iron, fiber, and beta-carotene.
The History of Lucuma
Peru’s Andean valleys are home to the lucuma fruit, where it has been grown for over 2,000 years. The Incas regarded it as a sacred fruit and represented it in their artwork, granting it the nickname “gold of the Incas.”
Several traditional Peruvian dishes, including pies, ice cream, and cakes, include lucuma due to its sweet, custard-like flavor. The Fruit has grown to be a significant source of wealth for Peru in recent years due to its increased popularity abroad. It is currently accessible worldwide and utilized in numerous culinary applications.
Culturally, lucuma fruit is connected to fertility and is used in traditional medicine to cure many conditions. It is also utilized in traditional pastries during festivals and celebrations, including the Peruvian Independence Day.
What Does a Lucuma Taste Like?
When consumed raw, it has a dry, starchy texture comparable to a boiled egg yolk. Ripe lucuma fruit tastes sweet and creamy, with come citrusy and earthy notes. It is a common component in desserts like ice cream and cakes since cooking enhances the flavor and makes the texture softer and creamier.
How to Tell When Lucuma is Ripe
|Lucuma fruits are often yellow-green when ripe. As the fruit ripens, its yellow color may intensify, but it shouldn’t be entirely yellow because this could signal over-ripeness.
|Ripe lucuma fruit should have a soft texture when touched. If it’s stiff, it may still need to be ripe.
|A ripe lucuma fruit smells sweet and faintly suggestive of caramel or maple syrup.
|Ripe lucuma fruit tastes sweet and creamy, with a faint sweet potato undertone.
Choose lucuma fruit that is weighty for its size, feels slightly soft to the touch, and is crack and blemish free. Avoid fruits that are overripe, too firm, or show any symptoms of insect damage or mold.
Can I Eat Raw Lucuma?
Yes, you can eat raw lucuma fruit as a snack or incorporate it into desserts, baked items, and smoothies. You can also mix it with oats, yogurt, or granola.
Cooking with Lucuma
To incorporate lucuma in your recipe, it’s crucial to prepare it first.
- First, remove the seeds and the skin.
- Halve the fruit and then, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh.
Lucuma can be utilized in numerous cuisines because of its adaptability. In addition to being used to flavor desserts and ice creams, it can also be used in savory dishes.
Peruvian cuisine incorporating lucuma fruit includes arroz con leche, a very creamy rice pudding, and mazamorra morada, a tasty purple corn pudding.
Here are a few dishes that incorporate lucuma:
Lucuma Ice Cream: This is a classic Peruvian dessert that highlights the unique flavor of lucuma. This recipe uses only a few ingredients and is easy to make at home.
Cashew Lucuma Fudge: A raw vegan fudge that takes 5 to 10 minutes to prepare. The ingredients include lucuma powder, cashew butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and salt.
How to Store Lucuma
Storing must be done correctly to preserve the fruit’s flavor, texture, and quality. Here are some tips for keeping lucuma:
The Counter: Lucuma fruit should be kept on the counter at room temperature until it is fully ripe. Once ripe, you can keep it in the freezer or refrigerator.
In The Fridge: When lucuma is fully ripe, it should be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or any other container.
Freezer: Freezing can preserve the fruit for six months. Lucuma can be frozen by removing the flesh from the skin and putting it in a freezer bag or airtight container. Remove as much air as possible from the bag or container to avoid freezer burn.
Dried: Lucuma can be dried to lengthen its shelf life. Cut the fruit into small-sized pieces and put on a baking pan to dry. Ensure they are dehydrated after passing them through a low-heat oven. Now put the dried lucuma in an airtight container and keep them in a cool, dry environment where it will last for about six months.
Nutritional Benefits of Lucuma
Lucuma fruits have numerous health benefits because they contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It contains significant amounts of iron, necessary for synthesizing red blood cells, and beta-carotene, crucial for good skin and vision.
The high antioxidant (carotenoids and polyphenols) content from vitamin C helps shield the body from oxidative damage that results in chronic diseases. It’s high in complex carbohydrates (dietary fiber and starches) that facilitate digestion and possibly lower the risk of heart disease.
Several B vitamins are also present in lucuma, crucial for brain and energy generation. For instance, thiamine (vitamin B1) helps turn food into energy, and niacin (vitamin B3) is essential for proper nerve functioning and skin health. This superfood also contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous.
Where to Purchase Lucuma
Organic lucuma powder is available in specialized health food stores and online vendors. It is indigenous to South America, specifically Chile, Peru, and Ecuador, and is sold there during summer.
Fresh lucuma could be more challenging to locate in other regions, but powdered lucuma is typically available all year round.