The unfamiliar wanderer might mistake a whole lúcuma (Pouteria lucuma) for an avocado while exploring the temperate regions of Peru. But beneath the hard, green exterior, the beholder will discover a vibrant yellow, fleshy fruit. Tasters liken its flavor to caramel, butterscotch, and sweet potato. Its texture, however, gets compared to dry egg yolk. As such, companies in Peru often process and export lúcuma as a powder additive.
Among health-focused communities, the fruit has garnered a reputation as a superfood. Home cooks and health food cafes add the product to smoothies, bowls, and baked goods. In Peru, indigenous groups collect the fallen fruits, then bury them until ripened.
Locals, as well as visitors, enjoy lúcuma-flavored ice cream, milkshakes, and juices. Chileans also love lúcuma in sweets, both as a flavoring in fluffy meringue cakes and pureed in dulce de leche. Chances are, if lúcuma is available in any form, it’s only a matter of time before someone turns it into dessert.