LUCUMA is a fruit, a color and a fair trade company!
The why for our name Lucuma Designs comes often: “Lucuma”, before anything else, is a Peruvian fruit. In Peru this word is also used to name the Orange-Yellow color of the flesh in the ripened fruit as shown in our Logo! We choose our name Lucuma Designs to honor the vibrancy and colorfulness of our Peruvian folk art and people!
The Lucuma Fruit
Lucuma is a delicately flavored tropical fruit native to the cool highlands of coastal valleys in Peru. With its high nutritional value, it has been an important crop since ancestral times, proven by the many ceramic remains from the Moche and later Inca cultures alluding to this great fruit. In fact, it was once referred to as the Gold of the Incas. It’s tasty flavor and aroma are hard to describe or compare to any other. Some may say it tastes like caramel custard and others a bit like pumpkin. Its texture, unlike most fruits, is dry, quite starchy and with a paste-like consistency that melts in your mouth. You have to try it!
The scientific name for this fruit is Pouteria Lucuma and it grows best at altitudes above 1,000 up to 2400 meters. It has an ovoid shape of about 5 to 8 cm long, green yellowish color when ripe. Pealing its thin skin reveals a dry and starchy orange-yellow flesh. Peru is the main producer, although it is also now grown in parts of Chile. The bulk of the production is used in dehydrated form with only a small percentage reaching the local markets to be consumed fresh. Once dehydrated, the lucuma powder (or flour) is mainly sold as flavoring to be used in ice creams and other dairy products.
Where can I find Lucuma in the US?
We have heard there are few people growing it personally in California and Hawaii, but we haven’t heard of anyone commercially producing it in the US. To our knowledge the only commercial producers of Lucuma are in Peru and Chile. Since the Lucuma fruit ripens quickly and is quite delicate, transporting fresh Lucuma fruit has been a challenge. But even though you may not find it fresh, there are a few other great options.
For example, we have had good success finding it in the frozen section of our local hispanic market (in particular at stores owned by Peruvians). Don't fear! Even if you dont' speak Spanish, you should be able to find some help! The frozen pulp is a good compromise for making ice cream, juices, milk shakes and even for baking!
You can also find it in a dried form online, either as a powder or in dried pieces. We've included some links below to online stores that carry dried Lucuma.
If you have a local Peruvian restaurant, please visit it! We hope you get adventurous exploring one of the most flavorful and rich cuisines of the planet. And while you are it, find out if they serve Lucuma ice-cream! You won’t regret it!
Lucuma Fruit Online Sources:
These are just few places we have found selling the lucuma fruit in some form. Be aware that we have not tried them or verified their quality.
In Peru, it is a favorite. Some say lucuma ice cream's popularity surpasses even the common vanilla and chocolate flavors!
Fresh Lucuma is always best!
By far, the best way to eat it is fresh. So if you are lucky to visit Peru in its summer months, from January to April, do ask for it at any grocery store or fruit market. Also ask around to find Lucuma ice cream made from the fresh fruit! Be aware that only specialty ice cream shops usually make their own using fresh lucuma, and most commercial ice-cream brands use the dried lucuma flour, which does not have the same taste or smooth texture. And while enjoying the lucuma fruit, remember to check out the local handicraft markets!
If you know of any other sources of lucuma fruit here in the US, please email us!
Call us (800-952-1810) about stores our fair trade gifts near you.
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Creating a Beautiful World!TM
Lucuma Designs' commitment to beauty, superb craftsmanship and sustainable design empowers talented women artists and family workshops in Peru to help themselves and their communities. As a fair trade business based on collaboration and long term personal relationships, we believe in a world of compassion, prosperity and happiness for all.