Cupuacu (pronounced "coo poo uh sue") is a tropical rainforest tree related to cacao which grows abundantly in the Amazon rainforest. Cupuacu trees grow to 5-20 m (15-60 ft) in height and bear oblong, brown, fuzzy fruit that weighs 1-2 kg (2-4 lbs). There is a growing demand for the cupuacu fruit both within Brazil and around the world, due to the growing requirements of the tree and the limited harvesting season (February-April) there is not enough fruit to go around. The white pulp of the cupuacu fruit smells like a chocolate pineapple and is used frequently in desserts and juices. The seeds of the cupuacu can be processed in a similar method to refining cacao seeds into chocolate. When the seeds are processed you get the base flavor for cupulate, a hot beverage similar to hot cocoa. Cupuacu pulp is used to produce candy, jelly, ice cream, juices, and other desserts. In addition to the use in foods, cupuacu is also being harvested and sold as a health supplement and also as a skin cream. The Amazonian natives would use this fruit for a variety of treatments such as; painkiller, digestive aid, and energy. In remote times the natives would trade the seeds along the Rio Negro and Upper Orinoco rivers where shamans would bless the seeds and the river tribes would then drink the juice to facilitate difficult births. Cupuacu was recently named the national fruit of Brazil and is considered a delicacy in many South American cities.
The cupuacu fruit is a nutrient dense food packed with vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, sodium, fatty acids, and antioxidants. This is a unique fruit that has many health benefits and one I can't wait to try. Hopefully Team i2P will get a chance to sample some cupuacu and let me know how yummy it is!