Food Culture, Ingredients

Capuli Fruit and Tree, a Peruvian Treasure

Capuli Fruit Enchants Cuzco These Days (Hebert Huamani Jara)

Capuli is a fruit tree that is native to the Andes of Peru. Its leaves are long and green. Its trunk almost never grows straight up like trees that produce wood, but is heavily branched. Its fruit is almost the same size as a cherry and its color, when ripe, is very attractive.

Capuli fruit is abundantly available in the months of February and March. You can find it in any of the city’s markets. It is sold in mounds for 1 sol or 2 soles depending on the quantity you wish. In those months it is one of the fruit that is most asked for.

The trees tend to fall to one side in those months because of the heavy amount of fruit they carry. This is especially true if they are growing in a temperate climate, such as is found in the Sacred Valley of the Incas or in Lucre. These are places were cauli abounds and, as a result, is collected to send to market in Cuzco.

The capulli tree is also used in the carnaval feasts. Since at that time the trees abound and they are often used for the yunza tree in which people put gifts and objects as a reward for those who are the fastest in cutting it down.

One of the people competing has to catch the chihuaco bird that eats all the best fruit. It is also this bird that moves the seeds around so that the plant keeps growing and being found ever more.

In our fields, these trees serve s a barrier or boundary that separates different people’s fields or just the different crops, such as corn or potatoes. Since the rain falls continuously at this time, the trees develop rapidly and give fruit.

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