The fruit known as cupuaçu, from the family of the cocoa, originates from the Brazilian Rainforest and is really popular in the states of Pará and Amazonas. Its tree (Theobromagrandiflorum) has different names depending on the locality.Cupuaçuzeiro, cupuaçueiro orcupuare some of the most frequent names used to refer to this high tree that reaches on average 10-15 meters. Specimens with 20 meters high have been listed in more than one region in Pará. The leaves are long, measuring up to 60 cm in length and have a dark green color. The flowers are big, dark red and are the largest in this family tree. Another interesting aspect of these flowers is that, unlike other species of the theobromáceas, they grow on the branches of the tree and do not stuck to the trunk. Its fruits which ripen in the rainy months from January to April have a strong and sweet smell that quickly spreads and fills the air. The fruit has a spherical or ovoid shape and measures 25cm length.

It´s common to find fruits that weigh more than 1kg. Its shell is hard and thick, dark brown, covered by a layer of powder that looks like cinnamon powder and that comes off with a light touch.

T o get to the pulp, it is necessary to saw or break the shell. Inside the shell, the fruit has seeds, surrounded by pulp, just like the cocoa.It´s pulp is white, almost creamy and somewhat looks like the jackfruit pulp. It´s a very aromatic and acidic pulp.The ¨cupulate¨ is produced from its seeds, a product that has a very similar taste to chocolate.These seeds have raised the interest of scientists as they contain proteins than can enrich other foods. There are also several scientific studies, both in Brazil and abroad, using the seeds and the pulp of the cupuaçu to treat gastrointestinal illnesses.

Furthermore, the extracted fat is used in the cosmetics and beauty products industry for its high content in antioxidants. The pulp contains vitamins (especially vitamin C), minerals, and pectin, a soluble fiber which helps maintaining good levels of cholesterol. Besides the seeds and the pulp, the plant has also medicinal properties: the leaves are used as a sedative; the juice made from the leaves is used to treat kidney infections and bronchitis; the tea made from its shell serves for the treatment of diarrhea; and the plant is used as an effective diuretic.

The main uses of the cupuaçu are in the food industry

Despite all this, the main uses of the cupuaçu are in the food industry. It can be found in ice creams, juices, shakes which are widely consumed.Sweets made of cupuaçu are also very popular just as creams, jams, jellies, liqueurs and soft drinks.The cupuaçu is traditionally used as an ingredient in the manufacture of sweets that found a wide acceptance throughout the country.

Source: Rajá Frutas

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