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Solanum sessiliflorum or Cocona is a tropical shrub belonging to the Solanaceae family. The cocona plant has sturdy branches and huge, serrate and hairy leaves. Cocona closely resembles a number of close relatives, including naranjilla and pseudolulo. It can be distinguished from those plants by its lack of spines. It will hybridize with those and other close relatives. Cocona also lacks the characteristic purple coloring usually seen in the naranjilla. Its flowers resemble large potato flowers, with light green petals. Cocona is harvested in parts of South America around the Amazon rainforest such as Purús Province in eastern Peru.

The fruit of cocona is a red, orange or yellow edible berry. Cocona is native to the Andean region of South America, where it is occasionally cultivated for human consumption.

Cocona fruit is another tropical fruit found in the mountainous regions of South America. It grows on a small shrub, and can miraculously grow from seed to fruit in less than 9 months, after which the fruit will take another 2 months to ripen. The fruit is a berry and comes in red, orange or yellow. It has a similar appearance to tomatoes, and is said to taste like a mixture between tomatoes and lemons.

Closely allied to the lulo, it grows in the tropical forests of  Perú, Venezuela, Colombia y Brasil. It is produced in a bigger proportion in Putumayo and Caquetá (Colombia).

Food Uses

1 The ripe fruit is peeled and eaten out-of-hand by South American Indians. More sophisticated people use the fruit in salads, cook it with fish and also in meat stews. Sweetened, it is used to make sauce and pie-filling. It is prized for making jam, marmalade, paste, and jelly, and is sometimes pickled or candied. It is often processed as a nectar or juice which, sweetened with sugar, is a popular cold beverage.

2. In Brazil, the leaves are cooked and eaten as well.

Health benefits of Cocona:

1. Cocona has a  high water content (about 90%) and is quite useful for preparing juices. Is very rich in iron and vitamin B5. In order to prevent the deterioration process, the fruit should be frozen. 

2. Cocona is valued for its valuable medicinal properties which include migrain relief; it has also been used as an useful scabicide and for treating burns. Is a most for people suffering from Diabetes and evidences have proved that is a blood pressure regulator. Waorani Amerindians use the juice to get clean and bright hair, against kidneys and liver diseases and as a tonic for fortifying the blood.

Read More at Wikipedia.
Recipe using Cocona see Here.
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