Write a comment


Native Peruvian fruit and superfood

Lucuma is undoubtly the most popular fruit in Peru. The native subtropical fruit, which some even name "The last gold of the Incas” and consider as the “national fruit”, is grown in the Peruvian Andes since ancient times.

Long before the Spaniards arrived in Peru, lucuma not only served as nutritious staple food, but also as ceremonial offering and was viewed as symbol of fertility and creation. Ancient Peruvian cultures, especially the Moche, often depicted fruits and vegetables in their art. So, it’s not surprising that among many others the image of lucumas can be seen on countless ceramics found at pre-Colombian ruins and indigenous burial sites in Peru.

Lucuma fruits grow on evergreen trees which can reach heights of up to 20 m (65 feet) and produce a light colored, fine grain, resistant wood (used for example for constructions at the famous ancient city of Pachacamac). On the outside the round to ovoid fruits are usually a saturated green in color. They are consumed when overripe and the skin bursts open revealing the bright to deep yellow, fibrous, creamy flesh.

Lucuma has a unique flavor which is often compared to maple, butterscotch and sweet potato. While Peruvians love lucuma, they rarely eat it fresh; it is however widely used as ingredient in ice cream (lucuma flavor is the most popular ice cream in Peru), milkshakes, smoothies, juices, puddings, cakes and desserts; adventurous eaters might even enjoy lucuma pasta or lucuma gnocchi.

Health benefits of Lucuma

Next to being delicious lucuma has numerous presumed health benefits. Due to its antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, lucuma is used in the natural medicine of Peru for centuries. It is said to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, manage diabetes, protect against some forms of cancer, reduce inflammation, prevent signs of aging and help sun damaged skin.

Lucuma is rich in healthy carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose and inositol) and often used in powder form as natural sweetener and by diabetics as low-glycemic alternative to sugar. Furthermore, lucuma contains beta-carotene, niacin (B3), iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin C, fiber and essential trace minerals.

The oil extracted from the dark brown, glossy seeds, called lucuma nut oil, is rich in fatty acids (linoleic acid and oleic acid) and believed to help treat skin disorders and skin inflammatory conditions including for example psoriasis and eczema; it is also said to promote wound healing and to be beneficial for general skin care.

Say something here...
characters left
or post as a guest
All comments MUST be in English and will be moderated before publishing.
They will appear below within 24 hours.
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

Peru Newsflash

Peru Event Calendar

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Latest Content...

Latest Video

Maria Reiche - Memories

Maria Reiche - Memories

Submitted by: Tintin
05 December 2021

Long Reads...

  • Peruvian Archaeology

    The Mystery of the Nazca Lines in Peru

    In the 1920s, when people first flew across southern Peru, they made an astonishing discovery. Stretching below them,…
  • Peruvian Personalities & Founders

    Francisco Pizarro González (1474-1541)

    Francisco Pizarro, a peasant from Spain, was one of the least well-equipped conquerors in history. However, in the name…
  • Peruvian Archaeology

    The colorful Fabrics and Textiles of Peru

    Europe’s first knowledge of Peruvian textiles was acquired following the Spanish invasion of Peru in 1532, when the…
  • Peruvian Legends, Myths & Tales

    The Jeweled Frog and the Condor

    By a quiet pond, at the side of a cloud-topped mountain in Peru, lived a small green frog and his large green family.…
  • Peru Info

    Peruvian Economy

    The Peruvian economy is an emerging, social market economy highly dependent on foreign trade and classified as an upper…