Incorporated into smoothies or desserts, lucuma is simply divine—and quite healthy, too.
Lucuma is a fruit native to Peru that grows at altitudes of about 9,000 feet. It has slowly gained attention in the United States, some claiming it to be the latest nutritional powerhouse from Peru.
This round fruit has a dark green skin and yellow-orange flesh that crumbles like the yolk of a hard boiled egg. It is almost impossible to find fresh lucuma outside of South America as it starts to spoil soon after picking. However, some health-food stores and even Walmart sell it as a powder or frozen.
This starchy yet sweet fruit is is not only delicious but packs a few health benefits to boot. Here’s what you should know about lucuma.
1. Symbol of fertility
We don’t have the facts to back up that eating this golden fleshed fruit will make your body baby-ready, but we do know that lucuma was a sign of fertility for the Incas. And though it is sometimes referred to as the ‘gold of the Incas,’ pre-Inca ceramics and textiles prove this fruit was popular long before.
2. Beta-carotene queen
Lucuma is high in beta-carotene, that healthy sounding word most commonly associated with carrots. Beta-carotene is actually an antioxidant that can help delay signs of aging. It can also boost your immune system, your body’s natural defense against colds and viruses.
3. Natural sweetener
In its powdered form, lucuma can be used as a sweetener for baked goods or smoothies. When mixed with dairy products like yogurt or milk, it lends a maple flavor. Luckily, it lands low on the Glycemic Index, meaning it won’t spike your blood levels.
More good news for diabetics: Lucuma is said to control the concentration of glucose in the blood.
4. Energy booster
Kick anemia goodbye with this energizing fruit. A good source of iron, which our body needs in order to make hemoglobin and myoglobin. These proteins carry oxygen from the lungs and distribute it to the entire body and muscles.
This tree fruit also contains vitamin B3 to boost our physical and mental energy.
5. Makes ice cream taste good
Just kidding. It makes ice cream taste amazing. In fact, lucuma is one of the most popular ice cream (or gelato) flavors in Peru. And once you have a taste, you’ll understand why. Give it a try at these ice cream spots.
Cover photo: Flickr
This is an edited version of an article originally published on July 25, 2018.
Now that you're here:
We're asking you, our reader, to make a contribution in support of our digital guide in order to keep informing, updating and inspiring people to visit Peru. Why now? In our near 20-year journey as the leading English-language source on travel in Peru, we've had our fair share of ups and downs-but nothing quite like the challenges brought forth in the first quarter of 2020.
By adapting to the changing face of the tourism and travel industry (on both local and international levels), we have no doubt we will come out stronger-especially with the support of our community. Because you will travel again, and we will be ready to show you the best of Peru.
Your financial support means we can keep sharing the best of Peru through high-quality stories, videos and insights provided by our dedicated team of contributors and editors based in Peru. And of course, We are here to answer your questions and help whenever you need us.
As well, it makes possible our commitment to support local and small businesses that make your visit an unforgettable one. Your support will help the people working in these industries get back on their feet once the world allows us to make our dream of enjoying everything Peru has to offer a reality again-from its mouthwatering gastronomy, thriving Amazon and archaeological wonders such as Machu Picchu.
Together, we will find a way through this. As a member of our community, your contribution, however big or small, is valuable.