Meet the Golden Berry, the Andean Bonbon

 

Meet the Golden Berry, the Andean Bonbon

Autor: Leonardo Consiglieri

Illa Superfoods founder


Known as, Uchuva, Peruvian Alquejenje,
Goldenberry, Aguaymanto, Poga poga,
Capulí, Uvilla 
or Coztomate,

is a shrub of the Solanaceae family that grows wild in the Andean countries, especially in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile between 1500 and 3000 meters above sea level, the plant needs a cool climate without extreme temperatures and high rainfall.

My story about the Amazing Aguaymanto as it’s known in my native Perú, starts shortly after my 5th Birthday, I remember it well, while playing soldiers with my invisible friend in the center of my grandmother’s living room, I would advance on a special mission using the furniture as cover, our base was my uncle Walter’s bedroom, and the enemies base camp was located in the dining room, I remember being sprawled with half my body underneath a wide body green chair, the structure was made of solid wood, shiny, black in color, it offered great coverage from my point of view, we were on a recon mission, suddenly I hear footsteps, I turned to look and my grandmother walks passed me, towards the window that faced the stairwell to the third floor, some-one was ringing the bell and she wanted to take a peak, before having to take an unnecessary trip downstairs.

She stood over the thick, wide, and flat rock that was used as a step beneath the window, Suddenly her body language showed excitement, as she hopped off the rock and picked up her step while rushing towards the stairs, I could hear her open the door and  have a brief conversation, the door closed, she rushed up and once she made the bend, I could see her face was filled with excitement, and a fairly decent size box filled her arms, the box was wrapped in a white thick cloth, sown by hand with blue writing on it, without hesitation, she tells me to go grab grandma, I rush to the kitchen and grabbed my Great Grandmother, she lowers the flame on the gas stove and begins to take her apron off while rushing down the hall way that leads to the living room, she releases grip from my hand as we arrive to the center of the room, I run towards cover once again, while my great grandmother examines the box visually from all angles , without touching it, my grandma Elena was missing, she had gone for the scissors. 

We continue moving the group towards our objective, just like Sergeant "Chip" Saunders in Combat!, we were going for the enemies bunker, as we got closer, and closer, only a few feet from enemy line…….. 

 The abrupt and loud laughter of my Grandmother’s, distracted me and the mission is interrupted, one of them is reading a 3 or maybe 4 page letter from family members that live in a Place Called Madre de Dios, deep in the middle of the Amazon basin, the place of birth of both my grandmother’s.

Grandma Elena makes eye contact with me and calls me towards her side, she says look at what we have received from family in the jungle, and proceeds to point out all these well packaged food items, their excitement is contagious, My great Grandmother Julia, highlights some items by mentioning them, Farinha, Castañas…, Paiche (is a dried fish similar to Jerky), they would make some incredible soups out of it, home made papaya jam, and many other items, one of those items caught my eye it looked to be warped it was a brownish transparent cloth like-fruit, my grandma laid some of them over the runner of the coffee table, then begin to peel it, revealing this beautiful, brilliant orange, marble size, shiny fruit, she placed it in her mouth, the minute she took a bite, her eyes closed and you can tell she was enjoying the moment, she savored the fruit, wow! 

Que rico! she said while peeling another one, which this time she offered me, without thinking I took the fruit and shoved it in my mouth, it was a bit sour, then sweet, with the texture of a grape, I had to have at least one more to make a real determination, so I waited for grandma to hand me another fruit, this time I let it sit in mouth a little longer, that first bite, the one that releases the sour, then the second bite, allows you to find the sweet, and as you chew the sweet overcomes the sour, delicious! 

Later that evening once Mom was home from work and my uncle from college, we all sat at the table to dine, we had delicious Aguaymanto juice, I have to say that I loved it, once dinner was done and the table cleared, my grandma brought out the coffee and tea, this evening we would have a special treat that would a-company the hot beverages, a warm, freshly made Aguaymanto Jam, it was delicious! I must have made my Mom make me 3 sandwiches of Aguaymanto Jam, and we would talk about the day, well they would talk, I would listen, my grandmother’s would love to tell stories about their life in the jungle, in this particular narrative, Aguaymanto was the subject, my uncle says, but mom, el Aguaymanto no crece en la zona Puerto Maldonado, Ella le responde, así es hijo por eso esta historia es muy interesante, and she goes on to tell, how their cousin would travel for several days, sometimes weeks, in order to exchange part of their crops of avocados, papayas and castaña ( chestnut ) for Aguaymanto and other products with farmers from Cuzco, therein reason for the journey, the fruit had very high energetic and immune boosting properties, they knew of it’s prostate benefits, she would go on saying, how good it is for your liver and how people with fatty liver would be able to reverse such thing, how good it was to prevent Diabetes and Colds due to it’s rich Vitamin C content, and how the men used it as a powerful energizer along with other things… 

Properties and benefits

This Amazing berry, was an important part of the Inkas diet, it is now consider amongst the top 5 Superfoods on Earth because of it’s potent and healthy properties, the Inkas domesticated the fruit and it was consumed through out the empire, specially by a group of athletic, strong runners, called the chasquis, who were the messengers of the Inca empire. Agile, highly trained and physically fit young men, were in charge of carrying the quipus messages and gifts, up to 240 km per day through the chasquis relay system, it is believed they carried the valuable fruit on their trips in a small pouch due it’s energizing properties.

The consumption of aguaymanto, which generally grows wild in moist clay soils, provides important contributions to health. As it is a powerful antioxidant, it helps to slow down cellular aging and improves the performance of cardiovascular functions; there are even studies that attribute aguaymanto to cholesterol-lowering properties in patients with hypercholesterolemia.

Martha Villar López, head of Complementary Medicine for Peru’s Public Health Services — EsSalud — points out that the large amount of antioxidants in this fruit allows the organism to combat the negative effects of stress, and helps to stabilize the glucose level in the blood. In this sense, aguaymanto consumption is recommended for people with diabetes.

She also points out that, as aguaymanto is so rich in vitamins A and C, it contributes to the prevention of respiratory diseases, such as asthma. In addition, she notes that its antibiotic and diuretic properties help the body keep on top of urinary problems, and that its flavonoid content is a great natural tranquilizer.

Another benefit of consuming aguaymanto lies in its high content of dietary fiber, which allows the fruit's pectin to act as an intestinal regulator.

Nowadays we have discovered the additional and incredible benefits the Fruit provides your body, as long as you hold a balanced diet and exercise, amongst the plants attributes you have:

* Great Taste, energizing properties

* Due to its high content of antioxidants, vitamins A and C, minerals such as phosphorus and potassium, this superfood is considered to be of great help in strengthening the immune system.

* As it is a powerful antioxidant, it helps to slow down cellular aging and improves the performance of cardiovascular function.

* The large amount of antioxidants in this fruit allows the organism to combat the negative effects of stress, and helps to stabilize the glucose level in the blood. In this sense, aguaymanto consumption is recommended for people with diabetes. 

* It is so rich in vitamins A and C, it contributes to the prevention of respiratory diseases, such as asthma. In addition, its antibiotic and diuretic properties help the body keep on top of urinary problems, and that its flavonoid content is a great natural tranquilizer.

* Another benefit of consuming aguaymanto lies in its high content of dietary fiber, which allows the fruit's pectin to act as an intestinal regulator.

This is why we at ILLA TEA would like to share this amazing SuperFruit with every single person, specially those that can some how benefit fruit this amazing Fruit!

 

I would like to send my love and deep appreciation to both my Grandmother's Elena and Julia for everything and for introducing me all these wonderful foods, your memories are present every day 

SOURCES OF INFORMATION:

Indecopi, protects the rights of consumers and promotes a culture of loyal and honest competition in the Peruvian economy, safeguarding all forms of Intellectual Property: from distinctive signs and copyrights to patents and biotechnology.


El Comercio, is a Peruvian newspaper based in Lima. Founded in 1839, it is the oldest newspaper in Peru and one of the oldest Spanish-Language papers in the world. It has a daily circulation of more than 120,000. It is one of the most influential media in Peru.

 

 


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