Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Brazil tasty fruits

Jabuticaba, Cupuaçu, Carambola, Pitanga, Graviola, Seriguela, Açai... The fruit found in Brazil is fresh and particularly tasty! Which of these delicious natural treats would you like to try?

Photo by  Jack Two

Carambola, also known as starfruit. The fruit has distinctive ridges running down its sides (usually five, but can sometimes vary); in cross-section, it resembles a star, hence its name. The entire fruit is edible and is usually eaten out of hand. They may also be used in cooking, and can be made into relishes, preserves, and juice drinks. Carambola is rich in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C and low in sugar, sodium, and acid.

Jaca also known as Jackfruit - When ripe, it has a yellowish color and rough surface with small bumps. Its interior is formed by several buds, each bud contains a large pulp core covered by a creamy, viscous and very aromatic.

The jack fruit is rich in carbohydrates, containing few vitamins and minerals. Can be consumed fresh or cooking sweets (in syrup mass crystallized) and jelly. Jackfruit is the fruit of the jackfruit tree, tropical tree brought from India to Brazil in the eighteenth century. It is a tree that reaches 20 feet tall and its trunk has more than 1 m in diameter. The fruit is born on the trunk and lower branches of the jackfruit. It is grown throughout the Amazon region and the whole tropical coast of Brazil, Pará to Rio de Janeiro.

Photo by Bioversity International

Known as Pitanga throughout Brazil or Ñangapirí in surrounding countries. In English it's called as Surinam Cherry, Brazil cherry or pumpkin cherry (in Hawaii).The plant is relatively pest resistant, easy to grow and high in antioxidants. The texture is somewhat similar to cherry’s. Sweet, juicy, tart.

The only problem with the pitanga is that in its mature state it's extremely delicate, and therefore cannot be commercialized internationally. Think of the raspberry and how it suffers from handling and transportation. The pitanga suffers exactly the same indignities. So while you in North America or Europe can revel in fresh raspberries, we here in Brazil will make due with delectable fresh pitangas, pitanga juice, pitanga jam, or pitanga liquor (to which some sources attribute aphrodisiac properties.)

Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum), also spelled cupuassu, cupuazú, cupu assu, and copoasu, is a tropical rainforest tree related to cacao. Common throughout the Amazon basin, it is widely cultivated in the jungles of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru and in the north of Brazil, with the largest production in Pará, followed by Amazonas, Rondônia and Acre.
The white pulp of the cupuaçu is uniquely fragrant and it is frequently used in desserts, juices and sweets. The juice tastes primarily like a pear, with a hint of banana. Commercial production of cupuaçu includes food supplements, pills, drinks, smoothies and sweets. The pulp is also used in cosmetics products such as body lotions, as it is highly hydrating, similarly to cocoa butter.

Guaraná [ɡwaɾɐˈna]) is a climbing plant in the maple family, Sapindaceae, native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil. Guaraná features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for its fruit, which is about the size of a coffee bean. As a dietary supplement, guaraná is an effective stimulant: its seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guaraná seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans).

As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels herbivores from the berry and its seeds.
The guarana fruit's colour ranges from brown to red and contains black seeds which are partly covered by white arils. The colour contrast when the fruit has been split open has been likened to eyeballs; this has formed the basis of a myt. Search: wikipedia

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