An unusual but important fruit found in Brazil is Jabuticaba, Plinia cauliflora. The unusual aspect of the fruit, which grows on a small tree, is that they form on the trunk of the tree as well as on its branches and twigs. A mature tree with ripe fruit looks as though its trunk is protected by plastic balls that surround the circumference in a tight profusion of berries.
The Jabuticaba fruit is about the size of a grape thus giving it a common name in English of Brazilian Grape Tree. The skin of the fruit, black when mature, is firm with a slightly sharp taste reminiscent of black-currents, while the pulp is white and sweet, hiding within it a single red seed.
A few ripe and near-ripe Jabuticaba fruit in front of a bowl.
There is a multitude of health benefits in consuming jabuticaba. The fruit is low in calories and carbohydrates and high in protein as well as high in numerous minerals and micronutrients including calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamin C. It is an important source of antioxidant.
Good source of folic acid and calcium means its a great fruit to eat during pregnancy. The anti-oxidants prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, while its anti-inflammatory content can help ease arthritis and similar issues.
Jabuticaba is best consumed fresh, washed and raw, eating the skin and pulp but not the seed. The fruit doesn’t travel well so it’s hard to find outside its growing rage.
It is possible to make jam from the fruit – the product having the same appearance and consistency as damson jam. Great on toast for breakfast or a snack between meals.
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NB: While Alan Skyrme has a number of diplomas in Nutrition it is strongly recommended that the latest available analyses of the nutritional contents and benefits are obtained from appropriate sources. Those provided here are indicative only and may be incomplete.