Lucuma’s Health Benefits and Creative Culinary Uses

Lucuma is not only enjoyed fresh but is also commonly used as a flavoring in various culinary applications

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By Max Bender

lucuma

Discover all the properties and uses of lucuma – a fruit mainly originating from Peru and other Andean countries – thanks to our dedicated guide.

What is Lucuma?

Lucuma (Pouteria lucuma) is the fruit of a tree native to the Peruvian Andean valleys. It is also cultivated in Chile and Ecuador and belongs to the sapotaceae family. It’s also known as “eggfruit” due to its dry, starchy, yellow-orange flesh that has a unique flavor profile. The taste is often described as a mix of sweet potato, maple, and butterscotch.

Lucuma: Characteristic Appearance and Flavor

This fruit has an oblong shape and is not very large, reaching a maximum weight of just 200 grams.

The intense flavor is often described as a cross between maple syrup and sweet potato. The texture varies depending on the fruit’s ripeness, with a thin green skin when unripe. When mature, it turns a brownish color, and the dry, powdery flesh, similar to egg yolk, takes on an orange-yellow color.

From the dried fruit of lucuma, a powder is obtained, often referred to as the “gold of the Incas,” and it is mainly used in the kitchen as a sweetener.

Lucuma: Properties and Health Benefits

Rich in nutrients, lucuma is a low-calorie, gluten-free option, making it an excellent choice for those with dietary restrictions. Its low glycemic index positions it as a suitable sweetener for individuals managing diabetes. Lucuma is a nutritional powerhouse, containing essential vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, and B5, along with minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

The fruit’s active ingredient, niacin, plays a pivotal role in regulating cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Additionally, lucuma’s dried form is transformed into a golden powder, celebrated for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Several studies have highlighted its potential in wound healing and combatting skin aging.

Whether used as a natural sweetener in culinary delights or incorporated into health-conscious recipes, lucuma stands out not only for its delicious taste but also for the wealth of well-being it brings to those who embrace its consumption.

Characteristics of Lucuma Powder

One of the main features of lucuma powder is that it is gluten-free, making it an excellent choice for those with celiac disease.

It has a low glycemic index, making it suitable for diabetic individuals. Additionally, it is rich in fiber and carbohydrates essential for the well-being of the entire gastrointestinal system.

It contains beneficial substances such as beta-carotene, vitamins B (B1, B2, B3, and B5), minerals (especially potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus), as well as fiber and carbohydrates.

The active ingredient in lucuma is niacin, playing a significant role in controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.

Studies conducted by the University of New Jersey have highlighted powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in lucuma extract. It is known to be useful in wound healing and overall skin aging.

How to Use Lucuma Powder

The best way is to use it as a sweetener, suitable even for diabetic individuals due to its very low glycemic index. In general, it is recommended for those who want to avoid artificial sweeteners.

Due to its sweetness similar to maple, it is excellent in all pastry preparations as a substitute for refined sugar: creams, cakes, ice creams, smoothies, puddings, and any dish requiring creamy textures.

Its high starch content allows it to be used as flour. Try it in hot drinks or yogurt. Your taste buds and health will thank you!

But where can you find it? Typically, in all natural food stores, near stevia, maple syrup, and corn syrup.

Lucuma Powder
Lucuma Powder

Some Lucuma-Based Recipes

Here are some recipes that highlight the versatility of this tropical fruit.

Peruvian Ice Cream

Here’s how to make an “Andean” ice cream with the powder of this fruit.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

  • Half a cup of lucuma powder
  • 100g of cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla powder
  • Half a cup of cashews soaked for half a day
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 cup of water

Preparation:

  • Take the soaked cashews after being left to soak for half a day.
  • Mix the lucuma powder with the mascarpone.
  • Add the vanilla, half a cup of lucuma mixed with mascarpone, water, and maple syrup. Blend everything until you get a fairly dense cream (a blender like the Thermomix is particularly suitable for this operation).
  • Pour everything into a sterile container and let it rest in the freezer overnight.
recipes with lucuma
Explore the versatility of this ingredient.

Lucuma Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup mango chunks (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon lucuma powder
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Instructions:

  • Blend all the ingredients until smooth.
  • Adjust the consistency with more almond milk if needed.
  • Pour into a glass and enjoy a nutritious lucuma smoothie.

Lucuma Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons lucuma powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (e.g., almonds or walnuts)

Instructions:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined.
  • Shape into small bites and place them on a lined tray.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Where to Buy Lucuma

Now, let’s see where to buy it. Finding it fresh in supermarkets or local markets is almost impossible, except for rare exceptions. As for lucuma powder, it is easily available on major online shops at a much more affordable price.

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