The flavour of the week is Lulo. Lulo, a fruit also known as ‘Naranjilla’ or ‘little orange’ is a member of the nightshade family. Lulo is native to the Andes mountains in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The fruit grows on a bush and has a leather-like orange skin covered with a hairy fuzz. The leaves of the bush are heart-shaped and covered in short purple hairs. The inside of the small fruit looks like green tomato crossed with a passion fruit. The flesh is delicious, with a flavour lying somewhere between rhubarb, lime, pineapple, and, lemon. The fruit’s aromas boast glycosidic bonds, meaning that the aromas are bonded onto sugar molecules, making the fruit’s unique aroma less likely to dissipate during processing or cooking. The seeds in the flesh are edible.
Lulo belongs to the same family of plants as the tomato and is just as fragile as a tomato fruit. Couple that with the fact that Lulo fruits like very specific growing conditions and you find a fruit that is not yet readily available worldwide.
The most popular method of consumption is in juice, which is a exotic green-orangey froth when blended, and a chunky green mash when squeezed directly from the fruit. Commercial versions of Lulo juice can be purchased online.
The Lulo can also be eaten out of hand, in the same manner as a passion fruit. Lulo ice cream is very popular in Colombia, and in some countries the Lulo fruit is made into wine. Drink Factory had the opportunity to try a drink made with the juice in London at the bar in the Dorchester and we found it to be a complex, fruity component of the drink that lent great acidity and top-note aromas. A highly recommended ingredient, indeed.