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A Look at LúcumaA Look at Lúcuma

September 27, 2011

2 Min Read
A Look at Lúcuma

By Klaus Tenbergen, Ph.D., Jia Xia Lu and Ing. Priscila Santiago, California State University, Fresno

Contributing Editors

Lúcuma (Pouteria lucuma) is an ancient fruit that has recently caught the attention of the modern culinary world, as well as that of manufacturers of dietary supplements. This subtropical Andean fruit is native to areas of Peru, Chile, Ecuador and limited areas of Bolivia, and is gaining recognition as a superfruit.

Fresh lúcuma is extremely perishable and difficult to transport. Several attempts to grow the lúcuma tree in the United States, especially in California have failed. More successful attempts of growing lúcuma have been made in Hawaii and Mexico. However, modern food processing technology has made it possible for consumers to enjoy this rare fruit outside of its native lands. Frozen lúcuma is available, as well as lúcuma sweeteners and powder.

This small fruit is a nutritional powerhouse. Lúcuma is a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, iron), beta carotene and niacin.

The chemical composition values are as follows:

  • Water content:  62%

  • Proteins: 2.3%

  • Carbohydrates: 33.2%

  • Lipids: 0.2%

  • Fiber: 1.1%

  • Calcium: 16 mg per 100 grams

  • Phosphorous: 26 mg per 100 grams

  • Iron: 0.4 mg per 100 grams

  • Thiamin (B1): 0.01 mg per 100 grams

  • Riboflavin (B2): 0.14 mg per 100 grams

  • Vitamin C: 5.4 mg per 100 grams

  • Niacin: 1.96 mg per 100 grams

  • Energy: 143.8 Kc per 100 grams

  • pH: 5

The golden-yellow exterior of the ripe fruit resembles a persimmon, and the texture of the flesh is like an egg yolk, dry and starchy with a paste-like consistency. The aroma of the fruit is reportedly similar to maple syrup. This tasty fruit has a very delicate flavor.

Lúcuma is immensely popular in Chile and Peru. The fruit can simply be eaten as is. It is also common in drinks, ice cream and baked goods like pies.

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