Photo courtesy of photopin.com/6157150010/
A fruit that looks similar to a woman’s breast that you can eat. So claim several descriptions. Now that is bound to make one very interesting fruit. Better yet, it tastes like a blend of pumpkin, caramel, maple and sweet potato. In Peru, using this fresh fruit in ice cream makes it more in demand than the usually most popular flavors of vanilla or chocolate.
What’s rather interesting is that looking up information on this fruit usually credits Peru as the country where this is most popular. What is more intriguing is that it was in 1581 that Europeans first discovered this fruit...in Ecuador.
Now this is nearly always disguised by stating it was part of the Inca Empire, for reasons not at all clear. Because this fruit is still grown in Ecuador. But I confess to never having seen Lucuma Ice Cream in my 42 years of living and visiting many of the cities and villages in this incredible country.
This would include the city of Loja, which is very close to the Peruvian border. Because of this it would not be outside the realm of possibility to think some customs may have come across the border as people migrated from Peru to Ecuador over the centuries. Lucuma Ice Cream, as a flavor difference, would be unique, if it’s as good as many claim.
Just the idea that it is good enough to be considered more popular than chocolate or vanilla gets some attention. In Ecuador it’s just possible that the flavor of Mora (Black Raspberry) or Maracuyá (Passion Fruit) are more popular, and better known than Lucuma.
Ecuador just has the distinction of being blessed with lots of fertile, volcanic soils that have the nutrients, and the biosphere perfect to grow nearly anything. It would be difficult to name a fruit, vegetable or plant that could not be cultivated in this amazing country. The Lucuma is just one more that outside Peru and Chile, is rarely found in South America.
Attempts have been made in California with some success, and Florida with no success at all. It is also quite common as the national fruit in Thailand and Viet Nam. In spite of attempts to limit it's export, this fruit does seem to get around.
What is especially interesting about this fruit is export as a whole fruit is not permitted. A powder has been developed to be used in a variety of foods and recipes, such as cakes, smoothies, even in combination with raw chocolate.
Found primarily in Ecuador, Chile and Peru, at one time it was known in the ancient culture as “Gold of the Incas.” One of the primary reasons can be attributed to it’s amazing healing powers. Not only does it possess anti-inflammatory qualities, wound closure is faster along with what may be anti-aging of the skin.
In the Inca cultures, this would have surely been revered for healing of warriors wounds after battles, while possibly allowing the women of royal families to maintain their youthful skin beautiful and supple longer.
In todays health conscious society, those attributes along with being a natural sweetener, gluten free, containing fiber, antioxidants, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, with strong concentrations of beta-carotene that gives a significant boost to the immune system make this almost an “all-in-one” food.
There’s more, as this fruit is rich in iron and niacin, and with the other vitamins creates a natural balance for cholesterol and triglycerides. Along with 14 essential trace elements, and a low heavy metal content, this amazing fruit also helps emulsify fats and oils with sugars and polysaccharides.
So what’s left? It just tastes great, and with all the above you may want to make this your fav fruit! But you may have to move to Ecuador to do that. Well, as a little footnote, because of it’s breastlike shape it has been rumored to possess fertility and nourishment powers by the cultures where it thrives. Along with all the other amazing fruits of Ecuador, could life get much “sweeter?”