Icaco

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The icaco or cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco) is a wild bush that grows in areas close to the sea. The tree is low and squat, dark brown in color and quite bumpy. The leaves are hard, round or oval, leathery, a brilliant dark green on the upper surface, five cm long and eight cm wide. The flowers have five green petals and five white ones. The fruit is oval, with either pink or white skin, while the pulp is white and as soft as cotton. When the plants grow close to the sea the fruit is quite sweet, but when it is further away the pulp tends to have a more neutral flavor. The tree begins to produce fruit three years after it is planted.   History claims that the seed was brought to Colombia by the Dutch. This fruit was harvested by local women in the area where the Termoguajira installations are found today, in the Mingueo region. In the past the trees were found between the mouth of Rio Ancho and the point of Rincòn Mosquito, which was known as Los Icacale (the Spanish name of the tree), while the beaches in the area were known as Boquita del Icacal.   Even though this product was not a direct form of sustenance for the local families, it was still a helpful crop. Besides being sold at the market in Riohacha, the fruit were used in traditional dishes like the dolce de icaco. To prepare this dish, the women boiled the cocoplum and then added sugar and cinnamon; after about an hour it was ready to serve. This traditional dish is still made today, usually in December, and has a caramel-red color and a crystallized form.   The experts in Dibulla hold that a good harvest is more than two 38.8 cm containers full of fruit. The product, however, is rarely found in the market. Cocoplum is at risk of disappearing due to the new uses for the territory in which this plant has traditionally been found: some areas are being sold to build a large estate, or to construct holiday resorts.
For example, in the Archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia Icaco is almost extinct due to the deforestation.
Although this fruit is found all along the coast, the characteristics of these new fruits are different in terms of color, size, and taste. 

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Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Liliana Marcela Vargas Vásquez