Thursday 8 December 2016

Gold of the incas

Lucuma is a powerhouse of flavour and nutrition, says Susan Jane Murray, who thinks it's so good, it's fit for the gods

Published 03/10/2010 | 05:00

Lucuma is an exotic fruit from South America, one that's good enough for the gods. Its creamy, sumptuous flesh falls somewhere between an avocado and an egg yolk: a killer combo.

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Pronounced loo-koo-mah, this fat, buttery fruit was known as the gold of the Incas. Sadly, it's just too perishable to find fresh in our stores, so it's freeze-dried before exportation. Hunt it down in powder form at your local health-food store, or online from www.hopsack.ie. It can be expensive, but considerably less so than an appointment with your GP.

Lucuma has a sweet, friendly flavour, making it easy to tango with ice-cream recipes, smoothies and anything chocolatey. Its maple-syrupy taste should help to give your sugar addiction its P45. Lucuma's custardy flesh houses remarkable concentrations of beta-carotene, iron and vitamin B3. Beta-carotene is necessary for a robust immunity, strengthening our defences against pesky bugs, fighting cancer and preventing cellular mutation.

Most impressive is this fruit's lofty concentration of vitamin B3, used to improve circulation -- crucial for readers suffering from heart problems, cholesterol and depression. This fudge recipe is particularly nourishing for mamas in their battle against post-natal depression and to assist with skin repair. Lucuma's iron content proves highly attractive also, building blood and energy in dazed new mums. It is, indeed, a nectar of the gods.

Lucuma Fudge

Healthy eating should never tax your taste buds. This recipe has an authentic, fudgy feel, but no wicked additives or cosmetic gunk. It practically levitates with goodness. Do you ever look 20 years older on a Sunday morning? Lucuma, almonds and maple syrup will help neutralise the acidity in your body while deploying the antioxidant squad. Pickled Japanese sourplums can also do the trick. Almonds are especially useful for osteo-related conditions and pre- or post-natal mamas, as they are alkalising with stashes of calcium. Almonds and lucuma make a rockstar couple: almonds' vitamin E oil enhances lucuma's profile.

You will need:

4 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

3 tablespoons lucuma

8 tablespoons ground almonds

2 tablespoons maple or date syrup

Sprinkle of decent unrefined salt, such as Himalayan pink rock salt

1 vanilla pod (optional, but recommended)

Using clingfilm, line a container as deep as your thumb and as long and wide as your middle finger.

Gently melt your extra virgin coconut oil over a low heat, and, with a fork, stir in the lucuma, the ground almonds, the maple or date syrup, whichever you're using, and the unrefined salt. Split the vanilla pod along the side, if you're using it, carefully peel it open and scoop out its fabulous black seeds. Add them the fudgy mix, which should look like wet sand by now.

Adjust the sweetness or saltiness of the fudge mixture to your own taste. For a fruitier hit next time, you could throw in some roughly chopped raisins. Spoon the mixture into your pre-lined container and set it in the fridge for 25 minutes before cutting it into chunks.

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Susan Jane Murray is giving a demonstration in Pre- & Post-natal Cookery at Donnybrook Fair, D4, on October 16, see Susan's blog on www.susanjanemurray.com for more information

Sunday Independent

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