Pouteria lucuma is a tree of the Sapotaceae family, originally from Peru. It uses its fruit, called lucuma in gastronomy, especially for the production of sweets and ice creams. It is a plant native to the Peruvian Andean valleys, belonging to the Sapotaceae family, which has also spread to other Andean States, while it is quite rare elsewhere. It is also cultivated in central Chile, characterized by Mediterranean climate, so it is a fruit whose cultivation can be tried in southern Italy.
The fruit is oblong, usually with a rounded conical apex, covered with a delicate skin, bright green in the maturation, which changes to the chestnut when ripe. In the cultivated varieties it is about 15 cm long and weighs about 200gr. During maturation it is full of latex, once ready for consumption the pulp is yellow-orange in color, unusually dry, with starch, and very sweet. Contains two to five oval and crushed seeds, dark brown, with a whitish edge to one side.
The use in sweets is extended to pre-Columbian time in Peru, where it is considered the national fruit and flag product.
Due to its high starch content, the pulp sometimes dries off for storage, gives a very sweet and nutritious flour, contains iron, beta-carotene, and niacin. It can be kept frozen.
The tree prefers temperate temperatures, between 20 and 22 C., does not resist the frosts. The ideal soil is sandy, with good drainage, rich in nutrients, and with neutral pH. Interesting element, it tolerates well saline and alkaline soil. It does not need constant irrigation, it tolerates short periods of drought and periods of high humidity, but it does not withstand flooding or very high temperatures.
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