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!

lucumaHow is it used as a sweetener?

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

B

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