lucuma fruit as super food
The lúcuma (or pouteria lucuma) grows best at altitudes from 1,000 to 2400 meters above sea level in the coastal Andean valleys of Peru, Chile and Ecuador.
Due to its high nutritional value, it was once referred as the Gold of the Incas and it has been an important crop since ancestral times. This is shown by the many ceramic remains from the Moche and later Inca cultures.
This starchy fruit is high in iron, niacin or vitamin B3, carotenoids, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Lucuma powder can be added to smoothies or used in puddings, creams, cookies…
fresh lucuma is best!
It’s tasty starchy flesh melts in your mouth with a custardy like flavor. If you are lucky to be in Peru during the summer months, from January to April, you may find it in most markets. Specialty ice cream shops usually make their own using fresh lucuma so try it out!
Finding fresh Lucuma in the US: To our knowledge commercial plantations of lucuma are found only in Peru and Chile. Since the lucuma fruit ripens quickly and is very delicate, exporting it fresh has proven to be quite challenging. So far, it doesn't seem to be available in the US in its fresh form, although there are rumors that some growers in California and Hawaii are trying.
frozen lucuma, a second choice
As flavor goes, the best next option to fresh fruit is finding it frozen! Here in Florida, we discovered a great source for the frozen pulp at our local Latin American mini mart. Mixing this fruit pulp with a little vanilla ice-cream, makes a yummy shake!
lucuma ice cream is Peruvians' favorite!
In Peru, lucuma ice cream ranks as #1 in popularity before even vanilla or chocolate!
With Peruvian food gaining popularity as one of the most flavorful and rich cuisines of the planet, Peruvian restaurants are popping everywhere. So if you happen to visit one, make sure to ask if they serve lucuma ice-cream!
dried organic lucuma powder
The bulk of the Lucuma fruit is found in dehydrated form with only a small percentage reaching the local markets to be consumed fresh. Once dehydrated, the lucuma powder is sold as flavoring for ice creams and nutritional supplement.
Luckily today it is relatively easy to find lucuma powder in the US either at your specialty food store or by doing a search online.