Let’s Talk Food: Abiu, an exotic fruit from the Amazon

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Abiu bread
  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Sliced abiu
  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Abiu

Many folks planted the Pouteria caimito, or abiu tree, several years ago and now are enjoying the fruits bearing from their trees. Other names for abiu include luma, Caimoto, Aboi, Australian sawo, yellow star apple, blueberry pie fruit, alasa, abierio or tamare.

Abiu is an Amazonian wild fruit commonly seen on the Andes Mountains and in as wide an area as Venezuela to Peru. It grows well in the warm climates of South America and also in Hawaii.

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The fruit has a creamy white flesh and is easily bruised and turns brown, but still very edible. Because it is so fragile, it does not ship well and therefore has very little economic value. It is best eaten from your backyard. After picking, do not squeeze the fruit or it will bruise easily.

Keep it in the refrigerator for up to one week, as it continues to ripen even after being picked.

It also is a wonderful host for fruit flies.

The green fruit has a lot of sticky latex, and in some countries is chewed. In Columbia, they grease your lips to keep the gummy latex from sticking to your mouth. Or you can wait until the fruit is yellow on the outside and peel off the skin and white pith to expose the creamy flesh. Or you can cut the fruit in half and scoop out the flesh. There might be anywhere from one to four large seeds in between the flesh that are easily removed.

There is a lot of nutritional value in 100 grams of abiu; also 36.3 grams of carbohydrates:

• Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, 49 mg

• Niacin, 34 mg

• Riboflavin, 0.02 mg

• Thiamine, 0.02 mg

• Vitamin A, 130 mg

• Iron, 1 mg

• Phosphorous, 41 mg

• Calcium, 22 mg

• Ash, 0.9 mg

• Dietary fiber, 0.9 mg

• Fat, 0.4 mg

• Protein, 1.8 mg

• • •

In Brazil, the pulp is eaten to relieve coughs, bronchitis and other pulmonary complications.

The latex is applied on abscesses.

The texture of the flesh is very similar to that of persimmon, so I made abiu bread using this recipe and replacing the persimmon with abiu.

Abiu Bread

Makes: 1 loaf

1/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup pureed abiu flesh

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

Mix abiu with baking soda to dissolve baking soda. Mix dry ingredients together. Beat eggs, add oil and mix together. Add wet ingredients to wet ingredients, abiu pulp, nuts and raisins. Pour into 9-x-4-inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, till center bounces back when lightly touched.

• • •

This recipe makes a richer bread that is great with cream cheese or pate.

Abiu Date Nut Bread

Makes: 1 loaf

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup abiu pulp

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup dates, chopped

1 cup walnuts or pecans

Cream butter, add sugar and beat until creamy. Add egg, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Combine abiu pulp and baking soda. Let stand to dissolve baking soda. Sift dry ingredients together, add to abiu and creamed butter, add nuts and dates. Mix well. Place in loaf pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour, until center bounces when touched lightly.

Foodie bites

• The Hawaii Community College’s Culinary Program is open 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. today through Friday. Call 934-2559 for menu information. Check if they have fresh fish for their poke or chirashi bowls.

Hilo Bay Cafe has a new fall and winter 2018 menu. The warm farro and warm kale salad, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, steak frites, roasted garlic spaetzle, Angus ribeye and Angus tenderloin filet, winter thyme lemon chicken, island etouffee, braised short ribs with polenta, Hamakua mushroom sushi roll, Kenai sushi roll, aina poke bowl, banana cream pie sundae, peanut butter sundae, warm macadamia nut bread pudding or donut holes all sound wonderful and it would take all fall and winter to get to try each one.

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• The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that liquid nitrogen-infused foods and drinks can be dangerous and therefore should be avoided in restaurants and bars that serve drinks often marketed as “dragon’s breath,” “heaven’s breath” or “nitro puff. “ According to the FDA, liquid nitrogen can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidentally ingested. Inhaling the vapor can cause breathing difficulty, especially if you have asthma.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.