We're going a bit left-field this week. That's right, down into the murky depths of the superfood underworld. I had initially planned on slowly weaning you into my various superfood loves, but a bunch of lemons and limes languishing in my fruit bowl this week meant that a fast track pass to advanced stage Lucuma was required.
So Lucuma, what the heck is that I hear you cry? Lucuma, pronounced loo-koo-ma, is an exotic Peruvian fruit that looks a little like a nashi pear crossed with a mango. It has a delicious creamy citrus flavour with a hint of maple and a dash of sweet potato (NZ kumara). It's sometimes called the "eggfruit" in English, due to the texture of the fruit's flesh, which is quite dry like a hard-boiled egg yolk.
Lucuma is known by the local people of Peru as the "Gold of the Incas", and has been cherished for centuries, both as a staple food source, and a religious offering associated with fertility. Today, the fruit still plays a big part in contemporary Peruvian celebrations, and is the most popular flavour of ice cream in the country! The fruit is so well loved by the locals, there are even 26 villages named after it.
So how do we, the non-Peruvians on the other side of the world, get to experience this delectable fruit, without racking up a ton of food miles in transit? Lightweight, raw, delicately dehydrated powder is how, thanks to one of our favourite foodie teams, Loving Earth. The lucuma fruit are dried at low temperatures retaining all their vital nutrients, and then milled into a superfine powder ready for us to explore.
Here are 10 great reasons you should try out Lucuma today:
Given it's fruity flavour, Lucuma can be used as a natural low GI sweetener. This makes it safe for diabetics, and great for the rest of us to help stabilise blood sugar (critical for all bodily cell function), and even out energy levels. It can be substituted for regular sugar in a 2:1 ratio (2 Tablespoons Lucuma for every 1 Tablespoon sugar).
Lucuma's rich antioxidant content means it helps to fight and prevent disease, and slow the aging process. The fruit is used as a natural healing medicine in South America, due to its antibiotic, antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
As a fruit, Lucuma is full of healthy carbs. That's right, Healthy + Carbs (you haven't heard those two in a sentence for a while right). Whole food carbohydrates are essential for the body, providing energy and fuel, and helping our brain to function. Ever wondered why you can't concentrate after a carb-restrictive day? Precisely. Paleo-peeps, you especially need to increase your whole food carbohydrate intake given your lack of grains. Lucuma is a perfect way to do that.
Lucuma has the same amount of calcium as a glass of cow's milk, as well as plentiful amounts of beta-carotene (an anti-carcinogen), zinc, iron, vitamin C, niacin (B3), and fiber. It also contains 14 essential trace minerals.
Did I mention the most popular ice cream flavour in Peru is Lucuma? Make your own by blending in a blender or food processor 1/2c lucuma powder, 1c cashews (soaked for 2 hours then drained), 2cm vanilla bean or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract/powder, 1/4c coconut nectar, a pinch of organic sea salt and 1c water. Freeze, then remove for a tantalising taste of Peru.
For a delicious Zabaglione style dessert or afternoon tea pick me up, blend 1 Tbsp lucuma, 1 frozen banana, 1 medjool date, 1tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2c coconut/nut milk and 1/2c ice. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon and serve. Insane.
Add a teaspoon to your overnight bircher muesli for a delicious creamy caramel flavour. Ready to take it next level? Add a teaspoon of mesquite as well. Or try out this Raw Pear, Coconut & Chia Bircher recipe for size.
Mix 1 tablespoon of lucuma with 1 tablespoon mesquite, and a few tablespoons of coconut nectar, yacon nectar, or agave nectar. Instant caramel sauce! Take it one step further and whiz up in your blender with 1/2c cashews (soaked for 2 hours then drained) and 1/2c water for a delicious creamy caramel sauce to pour over fruit, icecream, or pancakes.
Add a tablespoon of lucuma to your favourite organic natural nut butter (homemade is best). It will impart a slightly subtle caramel sweetness. Think toned down Reese peanut butter cups. Delicious.
The citrusy flavour of lucuma lends itself perfectly to pairing with a delicious, raw, citrus tart. Recipe coming in next week's newsletter so stay tuned!
THIS WEEK'S BE GOOD CHALLENGE:
Try adding some Lucuma to your menu this week. Make sure you choose a raw certified organic version, to avoid any toxins and chemical pesticides, and ensure all the delicate enzymes and nutrients have been retained. Or click here to order our favourite Lucuma powder from the store, and get it conveniently delivered straight to your door.
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Source: Loving Earth, Navitas Naturals