As everyone knows, the climate in Malaga is so special that the province is one of the few places in Europe that can grow tropical fruit. This has favoured the development of a tropical fruit culture along the Malaga and Granada coastline.
Currently the province produces avocados, mangos, lychees, carambolas, pitayas, papayas and longan... But there is another fruit, the lucuma, which although originally from Peru, Ecuador and Chile, is also capable of being grown in Malaga province.
International news agency Bloomberg recently released information on how lucuma, along with quinoa, is increasingly available in health food stores in the United States and is gaining more consumers.
The lucuma is a tree that belongs to the Sapotaceae family (soapberry) which includes other species with edible fruits such as canistel or mamey. Thanks to the discovery in tombs of pre-Inca cultures of weavings and ceramic items in which the lucuma fruit was represented, it is known that its consumption comes from pre-Inca times, more than two thousand years ago.
The lucuma can be eaten fresh as well as in milk shakes, desserts, yoghurts, jams and ice creams.
It is high in betacarotene, iron, zinc, calcium, proteins and fibre. It also contains antioxidants and potassium, good for the heart, the immune system and the skin.
The increase in Peruvian restaurants in cities such as London, Dubai, and in the US, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, are contributing to the presence of the fruit in markets. According to Bloomberg, lucuma can also be found in the United States in powder and frozen form.
The Subtropical and Mediterranean Hortofruticultura Institute (IHSM) La Mayora has been cultivating lucuma for decades with good results.
The fruit can reach 10 centimeters in diameter. Its flesh is a yellow-orange. It has a floury texture and an unusual flavour. Its shape is round and its skin is dark green.
According to the Commission for the Promotion of Peru for Exports and Tourism (Promperú), lucuma helps combat depression, diabetes, and increases hemoglobin production. Peru exports lucuma to the United States, Australia and Canada.