Cacari/Camu-camu/Myrciaria dubia

Have you ever heard of the Camu Camu fruit? This one in particular comes from Peru; it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods and provides 50 times more vitamin C than an orange. It is very powerful in boosting the immune system and helps to prevent colds and flu.

Myrciaria dubia tree, is native to the low Amazonian rainforest in Peru. The particular centre of origin for Myrciaria dubia seems to be located between the lakes Sahua and Supay, both tributary of the river Ucayali on the right margin, very near to the locality of Jenaro Herrera. Camu is a plant species whose fruit contains the highest amount of vitamin C in the whole world. This fruit shrub or fruit tree was practically unknown out of some localities in the Peruvian Amazonia until 1957, when the Instituto de Nutrición (Institute of Nutrition) of the Ministry of Public Health of Peru performed the first nutritional analysis of the fruit.

This analysis determined that the content of vitamin C of the fruit is the highest among all the other fruits in the world: 2 800 milligrams of ascorbic acid per 100 grams of pulp (contents of among 877 milligrams and 3 500 milligrams per 100 grams of pulp have been reported). Since then, Myrciaria dubia became an indispensable fruit in several countries around the world, such as Japan, the United States, Germany, France, etc. Camu is a shrub or tree up to 13 meters high, with glabrous branches (without hairs). The evergreen, opposite leaves are ovate, or elliptic, often inequilateral, 5 centimeters to 12 centimeters long by 2 centimeters to 4.5 centimeters wide. They are 2 to 4 times as long as wide. The margins at the base are abruptly incurved into the petiole, forming a pair of slightly raised and usually subopposite auriculate appendages. The petiole is 3 millimeters to 9 millimeters long. Leaves are dull and browning in drying.

Its small flowers have waxy white petals and a sweet-smelling aroma. The flowers are nearly sessile disposed in 2 decussate pairs. The bracts are rounded, ciliate, near 1.5 millimeters in long and broad. The pedicels are very stout for their length, up to 1.5 millimeters long and almost 1 mm wide. The bracteoles are persistent, broadly ovate and rounded at apex, united by their basal margins into cuplike involucres, 2 millimeters to 3.5 millimeters long. Fruits are 10 millimeters to 12 millimeters in diameter. They are fleshy, soft, red-brown or black-purple, and naked at apex. The fruits present a circular scar, 2 millimeters across, and about 2 seeds.

Long used by native peoples, wild Camu camu is harvested directly into canoes. The fruit has only recently come into large-scale cultivation and sale to the world market with Japan being the major buyer. It is relatively easy to cultivate. It survives best in hot, damp tropical climates but will grow in the subtropics, surviving temperatures down to just above freezing. It requires copious water and withstands flooding. Trees begin to bear fruit after about 4 to 6 years.

C-Bomb Smoothie
Makes 2 servings

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup filtered water
2 tsp camu camu powder (readily available at health food stores and Whole Foods)
3/4 cup chopped fresh mango (or frozen if you can’t find fresh)
1 cup frozen organic strawberries
1 banana, sliced

Combine the orange juice, water, and Camu Camu powder in a blender. Add the mango, strawberries, and banana. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

About zoom50

“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease”
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7 Responses to Cacari/Camu-camu/Myrciaria dubia

  1. Emmy says:

    Cool. So is this plant, wild cultivated, so to speak? I think that mixed cultivation (as opposed to monocultures) are better in general!

    • zoom50 says:

      Usually, Camu fruit is wild-harvested in the rainforest in canoes because the plants grow in swampy areas. Yes, it is true. This is a more economical and efficient way of planting vegetables as you can control the soil composition better. Plus, offer greater stability in production under adverse weather conditions, diseases and insect infestation.

      Thanks for posting a comment.

  2. Aussie Emjay says:

    I can see a trip to Whole Foods coming on …….. 🙂 We have a “Yes! Organic” market near us but it is still evolving to stock what the neighbourhood wants. We are a “transitional” neighbourhood and I think they are struggling a little bit with not enough customers yet. Whole Foods is a couple of trains away.

    • zoom50 says:

      That’s great! Whole Foods has a large variety of fruits and vegetables. I’ve had such a hard time trying to find this fruit here. Let me know if you find it. 😉

  3. akamonsoon says:

    Ohh! I have to find this! I hope our local Whole Foods will have it, too.

  4. Jaehyung Lee says:

    Where can i buy fresh camu camu seeds? Please let me know online stores for sale.

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