One of Cuzco’s native fruits and a close relative of the husk cherry or ground cherry, this bush has green leaves that continually grow. They hide the fruit until it is ripe. The fruit is a bright and intense yellow and is covered by a papery husk that protects it.
Like other fruit, the aguaymanto is green at first and with the passage of time changes color and ripens. It turns a rich and deep yellow. When green it is bitter but the fruit sweetens as it becomes ripe and takes on the sun’s color.
At first the pichuberry does not seem to have an intense flavor. It is a bit sweet and sour with lots of fine seeds, but as you continue eating the fruit it becomes more noticeable and more intense.
People eat the fruit fresh, either alone or in salads, giving them a slight sweet and sour touch. In Peru, this fruit is also processed to make products such as marmalades and jams, sweets, ice creams, and liquors.
The aguaymanto also is known for its curative and medicinal properties. It is considered one of the new superfoods, especially under the marketing name of “pichuberry”. According to our traditions it can relieve bronchial problems. It also diminishes the levels of cholesterol in the blood and is known to combat asthma. It is also very nourishing. For example, it has levels of vitamin c that are higher than those of oranges.
There are many home recipes for using this fruit, since it grows in many people’s gardens and is available in our markets. You can make an aguaymanto sweet (dulce de aguaymanto), marmalade, yoghurt, and you can candy them.
In what follows we will give you the recipe for the aguaymanto sweet and for candied aguaymanto.
Dulce de Aguaymanto
½ kilo light brown sugar (azúcar rubia)
1 kilo aguaymanto fruit
Cinnamon sticks and cloves
1 liter of water
1.- Boil the water with the cinnamon and cloves.
2.- Add the sugar to the boiling water and dissolve.
3.-Remove the husks from the pichuberries (aguaymanto) and add to the boiling, sweetened and seasoned water. Lower the heat.
4.- Stir slowly until the mixture begins to thicken. Do not wait until the aguaymanto falls apart.
5.- Remove from the heat and cool.
6.- It is now ready to be served alone or as a dessert to follow a meal.
This recipe is very easy to make. You just have to get the ingredients and have the patience required for making it.
Here is another recipe that is even easier to make, called candied aguaymanto.
Aguaymanto Acaramelado (Candied Aguaymanto)
½ kilo of sugar.
½ kilo of aguaymanto.
1.- In a pot place the sugar and put on the heat. Wait for it to liquefy.
2.- In this case push the husk of the aguaymanto back to become a kind of handle. Candy only the fruit in the hot liquid sugar.
3.- Oil lightly a plate or baking sheet and place the candied aguaymantos husk up, one after another.
4.- Let them cool. Then enjoy them as a dessert or just as a sweet.