Lulo chocoano

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Lulo chocoano

Lulo chocoano (Solanum sessiliflorum) is a wild plant, the fruit of which is one of the most typical of the food heritage of the Quibdó region. It is grown in wet soils by indigenous and African communities together with other traditional plants such as borojó, papaya and plátano popocho. Lulo is dark red in color when ripe, is ovoid or pyramid-shaped and the flesh has a burned yellow color. It is used to make juice, compotes, jam and desserts.

It grows all year round and is readily grown from seeds in wet soils, generally in household gardens, as well as on river banks, near water and in cool areas. Ripening takes around six months. The fruit is harvested when ripe by women, who know the various ways it can be used in cooking. In Colombia and Ecuador the fruit is eaten fresh because of its high vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus content. However, the variety that grows in Quibdó is completely different from the varieties in the rest of the country. It is larger, dark red in color, the skin is shiny and thick, the flesh is a burnt yellow color and it has a thick, white membrane. To make juice, it is first cooked in water to reduce oxidation. It is grown in household gardens and grows wild along rivers and in marshy and moist soils. It grows readily in any soil by simply watering the seeds. The plant is not tall and the leaves, which are rather large, are oval, broad, green and furry. Around four tons are produced per month. It is commonly found in markets, at a modest price, and is grown as much for family consumption as for sale.

Lulo chocoano is potentially at risk because younger generations are losing the habit of eating it and are not aware of its cultural importance. In the medium and long term, due to changes in eating habits, it could be increasingly replaced by mass-produced products and its profound connection with local identity and culture would thus be lost.

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