Many South American cultures enjoy traditional healthy foods and culinary treats. If you were to visit Peru, you may be surprised to find that lucuma flavored ice cream is more popular than vanilla or chocolate. Lucuma is a South American fruit that is gaining popularity as a healthy, whole fruit sweetener. It has a similar taste to a mango and has a beautiful golden yellow color. It adds a healthy sweetness to smoothies, raw chocolate and cakes.
The Incan Fruit
The lucuma tree was first seen and reported by Europeans in Ecuador in 1531. The lucuma tree is an evergreen that has been cultivated since ancient times and was once hailed the “Gold of the Incas.” As a native fruit to Peru, Chile and Ecuador, it has been spiritually revered because of its taste and healing power. It has been found depicted on ceramics at burial sites of the indigenous people of Peru by archaeologists. Today it is still a prominent feature in celebrations and life.
Because the lucuma fruit is so precious to South American countries, it is actually not allowed to be exported as a whole fruit. Instead, the powder is being exported and used to create delicious recipes.
A Healthy Sweetener
Lucuma is an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals including plentiful concentrations of beta-carotene, which makes it a powerful immune system booster. It is rich in iron, B2 and B1. It`s also high in niacin, which makes it a cholesterol and triglyceride balancer.
The fruit has a slightly breast like appearance and has been associated with fertility and nourishment by the cultures who have enjoyed it. It is a great sweetener for women who are breastfeeding.
Naturally Sweet and Delicious
Lucuma has a uniquely sweet, fragrant and subtly maple-like taste that will bring your desserts to life without making your blood sugar levels skyrocket. This naturally occurring sweetener actually gives your body healing goodness, unlike many sweeteners which offer empty calories and nothing of any value. Its low sugar content makes it a healthy alternative to sugar for people who have diabetes and other illnesses, as well as those growing numbers of people who want to enjoy delicious delights while maintaining vibrant health.
Lucuma Ice Cream
As mentioned above, lucuma ice cream has been popular in South America for years. Now it is becoming increasingly popular among people who enjoy a raw food, sugar free diet. Here is a simple recipe for this healthy and delicious dessert.
1 1/2 cups really raw cashews, soaked
1/2 cup coconut cream, coconut meat, or raw coconut butter
1/2 cup organic lucuma powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup raw agave nectar
1 whole vanilla bean
1 1/2 Tbs psyllium hulls
1/2 cup best water available
1/4 cup maca powder
Celtic Sea salt to taste (or use any highly mineralized salt)
Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until it is a thick, creamy consistency. Put in a freeze proof container and freeze until it is ice cream. An ice cream maker is not required, but can be used.
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