Myrciaria dubia, commonly known as camu camu, camucamu, cacari, or camocamo, is a small (about 3-5 m), bushy riverside tree from the Amazon rainforest in Peru and Brazil, which bears a red/purple cherry-like fruit.
It is a close relative of the jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora) and the guavaberry or rumberry (Myrciaria floribunda). The extraordinarily high vitamin C
content (on the order of 2–3% of fresh weight) is the most important property of the fruit, which has been exploited in positioning camu camu on international markets.Description
Camu camu has small flowers with waxy white petals and a sweet-smelling aroma. It has bushy, feathery foliage. The evergreen, opposite leaves are lanceolate to elliptic. Individual leaves are 3–20 cm in length and 1–2 cm wide.
Documentation of traditional camu camu uses is scarce. In traditional Amazonian societies camu camu is not likely to have ever been nutritionally relevant. The fruit is extremely acidic, and the flavour can only be appreciated in recipes requiring a blender, dilution in milk/water, and the addition of sugar.
Camu camu has an extraordinarily high vitamin C content. Vitamin C content declines as full maturity is reached, with a trade-off between vitamin C and flavour expression. As a myrtaceous fruit, camu camu most likely provides other nutritional benefits, but these are less understood and communicated to consumers.
Camu camu has a unique aroma and fruit pigmentation. A reddish pigment in the leathery skin (probably anthocyanins) imparts an attractive and unique pink color on juices extracted from camu camu. The aroma is subtle, but is not as captivating as in more popular fruits. Camu camu is more recently also used in ice creams, sweets.
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