The Pitanga, Surinam Cherry, Brazilian Cherry
, or Cayenne Cherry is a plant in the family Myrtaceae, native to tropical South America's east coast ranging from Suriname to southern Brazil, as well as parts of Paraguay and Uruguay. Known as Pitanga throughout Brazil or Ñangapirí in surrounding countries, The plant is relatively pest resistant, easy to grow and high in antioxidants. The Surinam Cherry is often used in gardens as a hedge or screen. The tree was introduced to Bermuda for ornamental purposes but is now out of control and listed as an invasive species.
Brazilian Cherry is a large shrub or small tree with a conical form, growing slowly to 8 meters in height. When bruised, crushed or cut, the leaves and branches have a spicy resinous fragrance, which can cause respiratory discomfort in susceptible individuals. New leaves are bronze, copper or coppery-pinkish in color, maturing to a deep glossy green, up to 4 cm long. During winter the leaves turn red.
Flowers have 4 white petals and are borne on slender long stalks, with a conspicuous central cluster of white stamens ending in yellow anthers. Flowers develop into ribbed fruits 2 to 4 cm in diameter, starting out as green, then ranging through orange, scarlet and maroon as they ripen.Fruit:
The taste ranges from sweet to sour, depending on the cultivar and level of ripeness (the darker red to black range is quite sweet, while the green to orange range is strikingly tart). Its predominant food use is as a flavoring and base for jams and jellies. The fruit is high in Vitamin C and a source of Vitamin A.
Health Benefits Of Brazilian Cherry Fruit:
1. Research reveals that it has anti-stringent and antiseptic properties.
2. It clears diarrhoea symptoms and also helps in gastro-intestinal treatments.
3. It is useful in treating common cold.
4. The main ingredients in Surinam are antioxidants which are high in vitamin content. These antioxidants help in preventing non-required free radical productions. These free radicals if produced, will lead to reactions that may cause inflammation and other diseases. Antioxidants are required by the body for curbing the excess oxidation that may turn unhealthy. As per research conducted by the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg, it has been proven that ingredients present in Surinam indeed reduce inflammation.
5. Surinam also helps in improving the pulmonary functions and is recommended for proper functioning of lungs.
Brazilian Cherry Nutritional value:
We have seen how the content of cineole in Surinam cherry is beneficial. According to USDA reports, it also contains:
0.84 to 1 gram of proteins
0.4 to 0.88 grams of fat
7.93 to 12.5 grams of carbohydrates in about 100 grams of cherries
26.2 mg of Vitamin C
9 grams of Calcium
11 mg phosphorous
0.2 mg of iron
0.03 mg thiamine
0.04 mg riboflavin
0.03 mg of niacin
The Vitamin A content depends on the ripe nature of the fruit. The reports suggest that the cherries contain 93 grams of water which is also beneficial for hydration of the body. The fruit also contains B complex vitamins needed for energy provision to the body.
USDA reports provides the nutrient percentages to be as following in 173 grams/ a cup of Surinam cherries as
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