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Lucuma (Pouteria lucuma)

February 7, 2020
Index

Scientific name

The scientific name of lucuma is Pouteria lucuma; it is also identified as Pouteria obovata or Pouteria bifera. It belongs to the Sapotaceae family; genus Pouteria; species: Lucuma (León, 2000).

Pouteria Lucuma
Pouteria Lucuma. Source: Hipólito Ruiz & José Pavón [Public domain]

However: “The genetic diversity is so wide that in Pouteria , for example, it is very difficult to establish constant differences between the ‘species’ of certain groups” (León, 2000: p.171).

Products with lucuma to buy online!


Origin

This ancestral fruit is native to the Andean valleys of Peru . According to some historians, its use in the diet of the culture of pre-Inca populations has been corroborated through pictorial representations.

The word lucuma comes from the Quechua phrase Iluku uma which means old man’s head . It is a flagship product of Peru that grows in the Amazon, on the coast and in the foothills of the Andes mountain range; There are more than forty varieties in that country (Super Foods Peru, 2020).

It is also grown in Chile and Ecuador, although its significant production is in Peru, which alone contributes around 88% of world production (Solís Aguilar,
2015).

Characteristics of the lucuma (tree)

The lúcumo is a perennial tree that can reach up to 20 meters in height.

The fruit is generally a drupe; Its cultivars are spherical or ellipsoidal fruits covered with a green skin if it is not ripe, which changes to brown with its maturation.

Lucma o Lúcuma, fruta nativa peruana

The pulp of the lucuma is soft and aromatic, yellow-orange in color and with a pleasant, very sweet flavor in certain cultivars (León, 2000).

Nutritional value

The most common way to consume lucuma is as a freeze-dried powder or flour (Superalimentos.pro).

The nutritional composition for every 100 g of lucuma flour is: water (9.3 g); energy value (329 cal.); protein (4g); fiber (2.3g); lipids (2.4g); ashes (2.3g); calcium (92mg); phosphorus (186 mg); iron (4.6mg); carotene (0 mg); thiamin (0.2mg); niacin (0mg); ascorbic acid (11.6mg); riboflavin (0.3 mg) (Super Foods Peru, 2020).

How is lucuma consumed?

Its use in fresh or industrialized form in desserts, jams, smoothies, ice cream and others is very widespread in Peru.

lucuma milkshake
Lucuma smoothie. Source: MiguelAlanCS [ CC BY-SA ]

According to Solís Aguilar (2015), the main difference between lucuma pulp and flour is that the former must be frozen to be marketed (preserving its organoleptic properties and extending its shelf life) and represents a higher long-term cost with regarding the flour of this product.

Restaurant Rayuela - Chilenito con Helado de Lúcuma 2

To obtain the latter, the fruit is dried and pulverized; therefore it is more suitable to export lucuma flour.

To distribute and buy the product, online channels can be used, which can be very efficient and less expensive.

Properties and benefits of lucuma

  • The beta-carotene present in lucuma (in pulp) is an antioxidant that has beneficial effects in the prevention of heart attacks, it also acts on cell regeneration and growth and improves the immune system (Solís Aguilar, 2015).
  • Likewise, it protects the skin from UV rays, preventing premature aging, thanks to its high beta-carotene content. It is special against herpes and warts.
  • It is a powerful natural energizer and combats depression, given its content of vitamin B3 (in pulp); It acts by stimulating the nervous system and reducing fatigue. It also helps reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
  • Regulates the concentration of glucose in the blood, participating in the proper metabolism of carbohydrates, therefore favors the control of diabetes.
lucuma or egg fruit, cross section
Egg fruit, cross section. Source: Augustus Binu [ CC BY-SA ]

Contraindications

There are no recent scientific studies that show contraindications for health with the consumption of lucuma. However, it should be used moderately to avoid effects such as insomnia or stress, given its energizing properties. Likewise, it is recommended to consult a doctor in cases of depression, since lucuma can interact with the active ingredients of this type of medication and cause adverse effects.

The recommended daily dose of lucuma is 15 grams per day (not to exceed 50 grams per day); In this way, its consumption is very safe even in the case of pregnant and lactating women (Superalimentos.pro, 2020).

Some recipes with lucuma (Hernández, 2012)

1. lucuma mousse

Lucuma y café

Ingredients

1 can of very cold evaporated milk

1 and 1/2 cups liquid whipping cream (cold)

2 sachets of unflavored gelatin

1 pot of lucuma puree (400 grams)

4 tablespoons of cold water

Preparation

In a cup place the 4 tablespoons of water, sprinkle the gelatin powder and stir. Beat the evaporated milk until doubled in size, then add the cream until firm. Mix both with encircling movements. Add the lucuma puree and continue beating. Heat the gelatin until it is well dissolved, add to the mixture and beat at low speed. Pour this preparation into a mold, refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

2. lucuma ice cream

Lúcuma dessert

Ingredients

500 grams of lucuma pulp
3/4 cups of cold water
200 grams of granulated sugar
1 can of evaporated milk
5 egg yolks
120 grams of sugar
2 cups of milk
190 grams of instant powder for Chantilly

Preparation

Blend the lucuma with the water and sugar, then strain. Put on a slow fire, without boiling and turn off. Worcestershire sauce: Mix the evaporated milk with the egg and the sugar; Put on a slow fire, without bringing it to a boil. Reserve and let cool. Whipped cream: mix the egg yolks, sugar and ice milk, with a wire whisk; Freeze for 10 minutes and beat with a mixer to increase volume. Mix the three preparations and freeze, covering the final mixture.

lucuma helado

References

  • Chapter I: Lucuma. 2005. Retrieved from http://www.biblioteca.udep.edu.pe.
  • Hernandez, P. 2012. Bavaroise or lucuma mousse, retrieved from: http://www.enmicocinahoy.cl .
  • Leon, J. 2000. Botany of tropical crops. San Jose: IICA.
  • Solis Aguilar, D. 2015. Lucuma as an exotic high quality fruit imported into Portugal and the EU. Lisbon: Nova School of Business and Economics – Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
  • Superfoods.pro. 2020. Lucuma the superfood that replaces sugar, retrieved from: http://www.superalimentos.pro/lúcuma.
  • Super Foods Peru. 2020. Super Lucuma, retrieved from http: //www.perú.info.

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