Lucuma: Gold of the Incas

Lucuma: Gold of the Incas

The Tastebud Tantalising Peruvian Fruit Hits the Shops

Lucuma (pronounced Loo-Ku-Mah) is a tasty, nutritious fruit originating in Peru. Once highly revered by ancient civilisations for its moreish taste and health benefits, lucuma was known as Gold of the Incas and its image has been found on many artefacts and ceramic objects discovered at various archaeological sites. It is still a popular ingredient today, being Peru’s number one ice cream flavour.

Lucuma has a wonderful sweet, creamy taste which is both subtle yet powerful, and is a delight for the taste buds that you just have to experience for yourself.

Outside of South America, lucuma is primarily consumed in powdered form, which is now available from most good health food retailers.

Health and Flavour

Lucuma powder can be used as a healthy flavouring in cakes, smoothies, ice creams and tons of other mixtures…your imagination is the only limitation.

Most conventional flavourings like sugar and sugar substitutes, are about as nutritious as an old boot, and contribute to almost every chronic disease you can imagine. Yet there are some non-sugar, natural alternatives, such as lucuma, which actually improve your health at the same time as tasting pretty darn good.

Lucuma Powder is simply the natural fruit ground and dried into a pure, additive–free powder, and because it has not been over-processed, modified or isolated, it contains a range of nutrients, which the body can easily absorb.

Lucuma will assist in improving your health via boosting your immune system and supplying your body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, rather than destroying your immunity and depleting you of nutrients like regular table sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Lucuma is not what I would call a superfood, in terms of its antioxidant and healing capacities, but it is light-years better than any of the processed flavourings common in every supermarket.

Lucuma is high in fibre, calcium, phosphorus, beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and Iron. It is also low in natural sugars, and does not create blood sugar spikes, which is great for diabetics, and makes lucuma suitable for anyone living a healthy lifestyle.

This is not your cue to down an entire bag’s worth of lovely lucuma all in one sitting, but it does mean you’ve found a healthier alternative flavouring which you really will enjoy.

As with all foods, be sure to read the label and check that the lucuma you purchase is minimally processed, and has no unhealthy additives. Certified organic products are always preferable too. If ever you’re unsure about a product ask the shop staff, or contact the manufacturer themselves. I’ve done this a number of times because I like the peace of mind that comes from knowing I’m getting the best quality available, and most companies are usually happy to answer your questions (they don’t want to lose customers).

Bonpom Lucuma Powder

Bonpom is an upcoming health food company that has begun producing a range of high quality heath foods and supplements. I’ve previously bought various Bonpom products, such as Chia Seeds, and Wild Rice, all of which I have so far been impressed with.

I only recommend something if I like the quality of the product as well as the company producing it, and Bonpom is just such a company. So stay tuned, because I will review more from Bonpom’s increasing product range in future.

Let’s look at one of Bonpom’s most recent products, Raw Lucuma Powder.

Generally, I don’t use much in the way of sweeteners on my food, unless I’m making a cake, chocolate, or some other tasty yet healthy creation. In the past I’ve used Xylitol or raw honey, however my preferred choice is lucuma. It has a fuller more satisfying taste than some natural sweeteners and can be used as a straight swap for sugar, because unlike honey, it has a powdered consistency and doesn’t require you to adjust the recipe to allow for the different texture. Lucuma is a truly versatile ingredient that laughs in the face of anyone who tells you healthy food doesn’t taste good.

Bonpom’s lucuma powder comes in a clearly labelled, well designed, resealable 200 gram bag, and the moment I saw it on the shelves at the Food For Thought health food shop in Kingston, I knew I’d have to try some.

Below is a picture of my own stash of half-eaten lucuma, which I’d already begun tucking into before taking this photo! Couldn’t help having a taste first.

Bonpom lucuma powder

You can often tell how carefully a product is manufactured and stored, by the vibrancy and taste of the food itself. Some powdered foods taste like they’ve been sitting in the bag for years (some probably have!) almost as if the life-force has left them because it got so tired of waiting to be used. This, I am pleased to say, was not the case with the Bonpom’s lucuma, which tasted just as good as other brands I have used in the past.

Part of the fresh taste of Bonpom’s lucuma is due to the fact it is raw, which means it has not been heat-treated to within an inch of its life, thus more of the fruit’s original nutrients are present in the powder. This raw distinction is important nutritionally, as well being noticeable in the subtle difference in taste.

As for the price, lucuma is generally more expensive than more common natural sweeteners, yet with its increasing popularity and availability the prices may well improve as time goes by.

Bonpom lucuma is £8.99 for 200 grams. This is a fair few pennies more than the processed white death powder (table sugar) you might find in the local supermarket. But when compared to other lucuma brands out there; it is actually very reasonable and certainly within the financial reach of anyone looking to just try a tasty alternative flavouring. Even if you don’t plan on using lucuma regularly, at least give it a go on special occasions like birthdays or Christmas, when it can prove to be that special ‘secret’ ingredient which makes people ask just what you used in your recipe.

I advise you to keep your lucuma well hidden lest any of your friends and family get a taste for your supply of ‘Incan Gold’ and devour it the moment your back is turned. Trust me, it’s possible.

As has been the case so far with all Bonpom products I’ve used, I was more than pleased with their lucuma powder and I look forward to enjoying more of their products in future.

To try Bonpom’s range of health foods, they are available at Food For Thought health food stores in Kingston and Guildford, or online at www.foodforthoughtuk.com

Lucuma is one of my favourite flavourings, a real treat for the tastebuds without the harmful effects of sugar. I highly recommend you try it and find out what it does for you.

Many Thanks for reading,

Richard Winborn

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