Thursday, September 22, 2011
I was born and raised in Chile and moved to England in 2005. I never thought I would miss any fruit as we get nearly everything here. But there are two that I REALLY miss: Chirimoya and Lúcuma. This last one in particular, the flavour is difficult to put into words and the ones who have tried it will agree with me.
You don't eat the fruit as it comes from the tree, it has a dry, pastry-like texture. The fruit is mainly processed and sold as purée or mixed with other ingredients, especially for puddings (desserts). Lucuma ice cream is very popular in Chile, also Lucuma mixed with dulce de leche and added to cakes....hmmm!...Gosh I'm dribbling already!.
A Chilean friend of mine who lives in Houston, Pilar, had a gorgeous recipe in her blog that made me miss Lucuma even more....Looking online I found Lucuma powder!!! I never imagined you could find it like that and I was even more surprised when I found it in the UK....BINGO!. So I bought 500g and received it in the post today....how fabulous!!!!!
I can't wait to use it...I have so many ideas already!.
If you want to know more about Lucuma:
Also Known As
lucmo or eggfruit
A tropical plant native to lands 1000 to 2400 m above sea level in Chile, Peru and Ecuador although it can be grown in some similar climates.
TRADITIONAL HERBAL USES AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
Lucuma is a deliciously sweet fruit prized for it's unique taste and used as a flavour in desserts, drinks and especially ice-cream (in Peru). Lucuma is a great source of of carbs, fibre and vitamins, especially iron, niacin and beta-carotene. Sugar wise it naturally contains glucose, fructose, sucrose, and inositol.
But it's real greatness is that it is a healthy part of any diet and a totally delicious flavour. In Peru, Lucuma ice-cream is more popular than strawberry or chocolate or vanilla!
Lucuma powder is quite suitable for Raw, Vegan and Vegitarian diets and is an increasingly popular ingredient in the finest raw food recipes.
FOLKLORE AND HISTORY
Lucuma appears to have been cultivated since ancient times by the various indigenous races of the highlands of parts of Chile, Peru and Ecuador. It was an important offering to the gods and even now it is still respected by native cultures. The Ayacucho and Cajamarcan people both have powerful beliefs associated with the trees which are also still a major part of their diets.
Lucuma trees are depicted on pre-Columbian ceramics found at indigenous burial sites in coastal Peru far from where it can be successfully cultivated. This suggests it has been a popular fruit traded between cultures for a long time. It was certainly well known to the Inca (from whose language, Quechua, we get the name Lucuma) and was cultivated by them when the Europeans invaded.
Lucuma was documented by the Europeans in 1531 as growing in Ecuador. It appears in the botanical record again in 1776 when it was presumed exclusively grown in northern Chile. However in 1915 seeds were taken on behalf of the United States Government from Ollantaytambo, a mysterious pre-Incan megalithic city fotress. This suggests that either Lucuma production declined throughout the initial European invasion of the Americas or it's seemingly sporadic appearance is a result of patchy research. Either way it was not quickly adopted by the invaders and has become known as one of the “lost crops of the Inca”.
Today both Lucma production and demand is on the rise. In Peru Lucuma ice cream is believed to be more popular than vanilla, strawberry or chocolate!
Eat as much of it as you like
*Info taken from: Indigo Herbs of Glastonbury where I bought the Lucuma powder from, they sell an incredible variety of herbal products and superfoods, take a look! *