If you’ve ever taken a vacation south of the equator, you might have run into a small orange fruit called lulo. This unique fruit is a tropical plant that has a distinct and unique flavor that’s captured the hearts of people around the world.
Lulo has a tart and aromatic flavor. Its tropical taste is reminiscent of pineapple combined with lemons. Some people also compare it to passion fruit thanks to its sweet aftertaste and strong citrus notes.
What Is Lulo?
Lulos are round, small fruits that are about 3 inches in diameter. They have a bright orange, leathery peel, and a greenish-yellow pulp. The pulp is gelatinous and has a sweet but acidic flavor.
Lulos are grown year-round but have a peak season from November to February. They are the fruits of a large, bushy, tropical plant and are a member of the nightshade family. That means that they’re related to tomatoes, eggplants, and tamarillos.
Lulos are native to the low-lying mountains of South America and were first discovered in Colombia and Ecuador during the 17th century. Today, they’re grown year-round in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panamá.
There are four different varieties of lulo:
Health Benefits of Lulo
If you’re thinking of biting into a lulo, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of health benefits to eating this fruit. Regardless of which variety of lulo you choose to eat, you’ll enjoy receiving tons of nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
In addition to these nutrients, lulo is also low in calories. It contains a high water content which means that it’s hydrating and won’t pack on the pounds, even if you eat a lot of it!
Lulo is also a natural diuretic. It has been used for years in traditional indigenous medicine to help flush toxins out of the body thanks to its diuretic properties.
How to Eat Lulo
There are a few different ways to eat lulo. If you’re wanting to try this fruit, check out these ways to eat lulo to see which you like best!
Many people enjoy eating lulo raw. To eat the fruit raw, simply cut it in half and either squeeze the pulp into your mouth or use a spoon to cut it out of the skin.
You can either eat the fruit plain or can add toppings. A popular topping for lulo is sugar since it’s a highly acidic fruit.
One of the most popular ways to eat lulo around the globe is in juice. Lulo is traditionally chopped in half. The fruit is then spooned out of the rind and blended with water and sugar to create a juice.
Lulado is a traditional South American drink that uses juice from the fruit and large chunks of raw fruit. Another traditional drink is Champús, a drink that contains lulo juice, chunks of lulo, and cooked corn kernels.
In Colombia, lulo is often fermented and made into wine. The wine is usually served chilled and is made at special wineries.
You can also find lulo-flavored alcohol. Tequila and vodka are two types of alcohol that are commonly flavored with lulo for an extra punch!
Another way to eat lulo is in baked goods. The citrusy flavor can be a great replacement for lemons or limes if you don’t have them on hand.
Lulo is also commonly paired with banana and used as a filling. Or, bakers will make the fruit into marmalade or jelly and then flavor cakes and tarts with it.
How to Store Lulo
Lulo is an extremely sensitive fruit. Even just by picking the fruit you can damage it and cause bruising!
As such, proper storage is important for anyone who has lulos on hand. Lulo, once ripe, is extremely perishable and will only keep for 1-2 days at room temperature.
If you have unripe lulos, however, you can keep them for a lot longer. Unripe lulo will keep for up to a month if you store it in a refrigerator.
You can also freeze lulo. Lulo should be frozen as a pulp rather than a whole fruit. Once it’s frozen, lulo will keep for up to six months at a time.
Where to Buy Lulo
If you want to buy lulos, you might have a hard time finding them. Although readily available year-round in South America, lulo is very difficult to find outside of this area.
Lulos can be found in Australia as well as some parts of Southern Florida. However, even then it’s mostly available in specialty food stores rather than in commercial grocery stores.
Many people also purchase this fruit online. You can find lulo fruit pulp on popular websites such as Amazon or can order the fruit whole through gourmet fruit deliveries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is lulo passion fruit?
Despite the similar, tart flavor of passion fruit and lulo, these are two different fruits. Lulo is from the Solanaceae genus while passion fruit belongs to the Passifloraceae genus.
What fruit is lulo in english?
Lulo is not grown in any English-speaking countries and thus has no English name. It is known as lulo in Colombia and naranjilla in Panamá and Ecuador, which translates to little orange in English.
Is lulo a fruit or a vegetable?
Despite the fact that it looks similar to a tomato, lulo is a fruit. Fruits contain seeds while vegetables contain stems, leaves, and roots. Since lulo contains seeds, it is classified as a fruit.