An alternative sweetener and a yummy fruit?
This may sound a little too good to be true, and not everyone will be a fan, but there is a fruit that is grown locally in Peru that is full of nutrients, and can be eaten as a fruit, then when dried, used as a sweetener.
What is this fruit?
The fruit is called lucuma (or a lucma at times.) It’s full name is the Pouteria lucuma, and is primarily grown in Peru and Chile as they need to grow in altitudes between 1,000-2,400 meters, and in warmer weather. They can sometimes be called “eggfruits” because the flesh of the fruit is the consistency of a hard-boiled egg, but don’t let that turn you off from trying it, because the flavor has been described as everything from caramel to maple, sweet potato to pumpkin. I know, not what you normally expect from a fruit, and due to the consistency (I am a very tactile eater) I don’t want to jump right in with a spoon, but it is quite tasty added to smoothies, and in ice cream (on its own as a flavor or when mixed with vanilla.) Yum! And besides its unique flavor, it is full of vitamins and nutrients: calcium, Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin B3, iron, and zinc. And as an added bonus? It has fiber and antioxidants in it!
When the flesh of the lucuma fruit is dried, then ground into a powder, it still contains all of those vitamins and nutrients, and because of the inherent fruit sweetness (fructose), it is still sweet when dried and ground. It is a low glycemic index food, which means it adds the sweetness, but it does not have a huge impact on your bodies insulin levels (with a surge up then crash like sugar.) It is a different kind of sweet than straight sugar cane sugar, so it cane take some getting used to, but I quite enjoy the different flavor that it has, and if you are looking to cut out sugar from your diet but still have some sweet in your life, it is a great option! And it is an option for diabetics too. And you can use it in anything that you would normally sweeten: smoothies, ice cream, coffee/tea, and when baking!
These fruits can be hard to find outside of Peruvian/South American specialty stores, but if you are lucky enough to find one, give it a try. And, you can find lucuma powder at any health food store and many organic stores. Try it and let me know what you think!
Yours in Good Health
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