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Lucuma, healthy
sweetness from Peru.

Lucuma, the gold of the Inca's with its delicious caramel sweetness.

by Steven Nyland, OrganicCrops. Posted on 01 June 2017, 08:03 hrs

There is no doubt about it, Lucuma is the most popular flavor in Peru. Ice cream, biscuits, cakes, sweets, milk-shakes, all powered by the delicious caramel and maple flavor of this bright deep-yellow/orange Peruvian fruit. The Incas used dried Lucuma fruit as a natural sweetener, which is why it is often called "gold of the Inca’s" by Peruvians.

  Straight to the recipes

lucuma tree in PeruThe sub-tropical fruit grows on trees, 5-8 meters tall, at an altitude of 2000-3000 msl. The trees prefer cooler over tropical climate and therefore Lucuma is often cultivated in valleys of the he Andean low mountain ranges. The trees flower and fruit year round. A single adult tree produces up to 300 fruit. Over 100 improved lineages have been identified in Peru.

The origin of Lucuma

It is still a mystery where and how Lucuma originated. But in Peru we have a legend, told mainly In the village of Aguamiro in Huanuco and the village of Chiquian in Ancash. According to the legend: “Centuries ago, a goddess named Rukma lived in the Andean Alto Plano. The beautiful Rukma (synonym for strong and proud woman) rejected every man who proposed to her. Especially Huatio, a local priest and considered 'father of agriculture', who looked dirty in ragged clothing.

One afternoon during a hot summer day in the lower mountains of the Andes, Rukma rested in the shade of a Lugma tree. After she fell asleep, Huatio appeard in the form of a bird and dropped a fruit in her lap. The fruit carried the semen of Huatio. After Rukma ate the fruit, she got pregnant and after 9 months she delivered a healthy boy.

After a few years passed, Rukma was feeling ashamed of not knowing who fathered her son. One day, she decided to gather all the man at the center square of the village. The men were eager to comply as Rukma was still beautiful and radient as before.
After all men had gathered at the square, her little boy immediately ran to Huatio and hugged him like only a son would hug his father. Rukma face went red with shame and she ran from the square as fast as she could. Shortly after she fled to the high mountains where she remained the rest of her life.”

In the Quechuan language, Rukma is is synomym to lucuma, or as Quechuan speakers say "Fruto del lúcumo"

Fruit of the Inca

ancient bottle cap 4 lucuma'sAccording to research carried out by the Museo Nacional de Arqueolog??a, Antropolog??a e Historia del Per?? (National Museum of the Archeology, Anthropology, and History of Peru) lucuma fruit dates back all the way to 1,500 BC. Archaeological research places its domestication in the lower Andean valleys of the pre-Inca cultures, where the consumption of lucuma fruit and the use of the wood of the lucuma tree are documented. In 1938 a trunk of carved ??wood from a lucuma tree was found as a totemic figure in the sanctuary of Pachac??mac.

Many ancient Moche relics were found that represent lucuma as a food and fruit. The Larco museum in Lima exhibits several pieces, with the most famous one being a bottle cap with 4 lucuma's together (see photo).

The Spanish conquerors had little interest in Lucuma as it was seen as "indigenous food of the local Indians". Nowadays Lucuma is enjoyed all over the world, either as fresh fruit, as a natural sweetener, or as a flavor in sweets and dessert products.

Egg fruit?

Lucuma fruit is a bit unusual. The flesh is a bit dry, fibery with the consistency of a hard-boiled egg yolk. In early days, British traders called it egg fruit. After you peel off the thin green skin the first thing you notice is the delicious sweet-maple smell and butter-scotch caramel taste.
Lucuma is high in antioxidants, vitamin B3, carotene, niacin, calcium, dietary fiber, protein, and essential minerals.

Lucuma Powder

lucuma powderLucuma powder is made from the pulp of the Lucuma fruit. After harvest, the fruit is left to ripe for 4-10 days. Once ripe, the fruit is first washed before it is peeled and cut into pieces. The Lucuma pieces are then dehydrated at a temperature of maximum 45 degrees Celsius to preserve flavor, color and odor. After a quick cooling-off the dehydrated Lucuma pieces are pulverized to create Lucuma powder.

Lucuma is great for people on a low fat/low sugar diet as it very low in fat and sugars. It is low on the glycemic index which makes lucuma powder an ideal sweetener without the sugar kick.

Lucuma Recipes

Lucuma powder is an ideal product to flavor and sweeten all kinds of dishes. Here are some of our favorties:

Ready in 2 mins, delicious lucuma milk recipe

Quick and Easy Lucuma Milkshake

Prep: min
Cook: min
4 servings

Nutrition facts: 172.1 Calories per serving

This healthy yummie milkshake is sold in most juice bars in Lima, Peru. It is often served in a large glass. In Peru they often use fresh lucuma, but you get the same result with lucuma powder.


  • 3 tbsp organic lucuma powder
  • 1 liter milk (almond, cow, etc)
  • 1 large ripe banana


  • 1 tbsp organic honey
  • 2 tbsp organic cacao nibs


  1. Add to a blender the milk and banana. Blend till smooth.
  2. Add the lucuma powder (and optional honey) and blend for few seconds.
  3. Service in tall/large glass.
  4. Optional: sprinkle with cacao nibs
Ready in 2 mins, delicious lucuma milk recipe

Inca gold ice cream

Prep: min
Cook: min
6-8 servings

Nutrition facts: 284.8 Calories per serving

Lucuma Ice cream with nuts and honey. Everybody will love this. The recipe is based on a 'light' version, e.g. not using any cream. To create a lavish lucuma ice cream, substitute 1/2 liter of milk with cream. If you're not a fan of honey you may substitute it with organic sugar.

What to do with the left-over egg whites you say? Have a look at the next recipe: lucuma merinques, or use them for an egg-white omelet.


  • 8 fresh organic eggs
  • 1 liter almond milk or full cream milk
  • 200 g choice of pecans, almonds, walnuts
  • 150 g organic lucuma powder
  • 100 g sugar
  • 100 g organic honey
  • 1 tbsp or vanilla extract or 1 pod
  • 1 pinch salt


  1. Separate the egg yolks from the egg white and set aside unrefrigerated.
  2. Put the nuts in a towel and break them up.
  3. Fill a small bowl with lukewarm water and add the broken nuts to soak (min. 10 min).
  4. Place the milk in a pot on medium heat and bring slowly to the boil.
  5. When the milk is about to boil, put the egg yolks and the sugar in a bowl and beat until thickened and pale yellow in color.
  6. Take the milk off the heat whisk through 1 tablespoon of the egg yolks at the time.
  7. Put the milk/egg yolk mixture back onto a medium-heat.
  8. Drain the nuts.
  9. Keep stirring the milk until it starts to thicken. Do not let it boil.
  10. Once thickened, remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl.
  11. Whisk through the lucuma powder, honey, vanilla, salt and the drained nuts.
  12. Put the bowl into an ice bath or ice cold water to cool off.
  13. Either put directly into your freezer or add to your ice cream machine. Freeze overnight.
  14. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.
Great looking and tasting lucuma meringues

Lucuma Meringue

Prep: min
Cook: min
40 servings

Nutrition facts: 311.2 Calories per serving

Lucuma meringues go very well with Inca gold lucuma ice cream. These yummie Meringue have a semi-sweet lucuma flavor. You can cut the amount needed in half to make 20-22 large Meringue or 30-35 small ones.


  • 8 fresh egg whites
  • 400 g fine organic sugar
  • 100 g organic lucuma powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 sheets non-stick baking paper


  1. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Line two flat baking trays with the non-stick baking paper.
  2. With an electric mixer, on high speed, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks.
  3. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time whilst whisking on a medium speed. Keep adding and whisking until you have used all the sugar and all the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk on high for 3 minutes. Whisk in the lucuma powder, one table spoon at a time.
  5. Use a piping bag or two tablespoons (teaspoons for small meringues) to pipe/spoon meringue onto the lined baking trays. Reduce the oven temperature to 90 degrees Celsius.
  6. Bake the lucuma meringues for 1 hour 30 mins.
  7. Turn the oven off and leave the Meringue in the oven to cool completely.
  8. Do not open the oven door until they are done!
  9. They keep fresh in an airtight container for about a week.
Great looking and tasting lucuma meringues

Lucuma chili sauce

Prep: min
Cook: min
50 servings

Nutrition facts: 12 Calories per serving

A fruity, flaming hot chili sauce that tastes of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Leave in the seeds of the chili's to make it even hotter or remove the seeds and heart/stem to go for a mild-hot sauce. Great on steaks, BBQ or anything to needs a lot of kick.


  • 2 Rocoto or 3 Scotch Bonnet or 4 Habanero chili's
  • 4 Aji Amarillo or 2 jalapeño chili's
  • 50 g organic lucuma powder
  • 150 ml organic white vinegar
  • 1 large Paprika or 2 small ones
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized purple/Spanish onion
  • 2 ripe organic tomatoes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. If your oven has a grill function then switch on the grill else pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cut the chili's in half. Optional: remove the seeds.
  3. Quarter the tomatoes, paprika and onion.
  4. Put the chili's, tomatoes, paprika and onion in a bowl. Add olive oil, pepper, garlic, salt and toss well.
  5. Add the chili mixture to a baking tray and grill till it starts to blacken (grill 6-8 min., oven 10-15 min).
  6. Remove from grill/oven and add to a blender. Add the vinegar. Blend till smooth.
  7. Add the lucuma powder and blend for a few more seconds.
  8. Put in an airtight jar/container. Keeps for 7 days refrigerated.

About OrganicCrops

OrganicCrops is a Peruvian agricultural trading company that exports premium quality superfood products such as quinoa, maca, and cacao. Our fair trade way of working ensures that indigenous Peruvian farmers receive fair compensation for their crops.


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About OrganicCrops

OrganicCrops is an agricultural trading company from Tarapoto, Peru that specializes in cultivation, marketing and exporting organic products such as Quinoa, Maca and Cacao.