Cuaresmillo peach

Ark of taste
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The cuaresmillo (Prunus persica) is a type of peach found in the northern regions of Argentina. Its harvest coincides with the season of Great Lent (cuaresma in Spanish) and it is from this period that it takes its name. As the fruit itself is rather small there is little pulp, however despite this it is still incredibly flavorful. Historically the cuaresmillo tree has been considered of great importance to the local cuisine. However, despite the fruit’s popularity it is relatively difficult to find today. Many peasant families and some rural communities still have cuaresmillo plants that they continue to preserve for their own personal use. The fruit is sold on a very small scale in local markets and can be found at various fairs that showcase regional products of the north.Usually the cuaresmillo is not consumed in its fresh state because of the limited amount of flesh – instead the fruit is used in various local recipes, often in the form of jams or syrups. A dessert from Salta based on this peach is one of the country’s oldest sweets. The preparation of this dish consists of peeling the fruit and making syrup by slowly cooking it down with sugar. It must be simmered at great length to ensure that the flesh is tender and the syrup has time to become reasonably thick. In the north it has also traditionally been included in savory plates such as the various meat stews, which benefit from a long cooking time. There are currently no large-scale plantations of the cuaresmillo and it can only be found on isolated plants in rural areas or in the homes of farmers – mainly in North-western Argentina. The variety is also used as rootstock to help commercial varieties of the peach tree grow in many of the fruit producing regions of the country.

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