What Is Cupuaçu?
Benefits and Uses
Cupuaçu (pronounced: kah-POH-koo-shuh) is a tropical fruit native to South America. It’s a small tree with many branches and leaves.
Its fruits are greenish red in color, and they’re very juicy when ripe. They have a strong flavor, but not too much so that it makes them unpalatable or unpleasant to eat.
The name “cupuaçu” comes from the Spanish word “cupo”, which means to squeeze. The fruit’s skin is smooth and glossy, and its flesh is firm yet pliable.
It contains high levels of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, calcium and other nutrients.
Cupuaçu is used mainly in traditional medicine, especially in treating rheumatism, gout, arthritis and kidney stones. It’s also been used as a flavoring agent for beverages such as coffee and tea.
There are several types of cupuaçu available today; some contain more sugar than others. However, the most common type of cupuaçu is made from sugar cane juice and contains no added sweeteners or preservatives.
Most cupuaçu oils are inedible due to their low melting points. However, cold-pressed cupuaçu oil is of a higher quality and can be used for the following purposes:
Used as a carrier oil for essential oils (e.g.
for making massage oils, bath oils, etc.)
for drizzling on pastries or adding to cake recipes)
General skin care (e.g.
as a face moisturizer, hand lotion, lip balm, etc.)
Many of the nutrients in cupuaçu are fat-soluble, which means that they require fat in order to be absorbed by the body. For this reason, it’s best to use the oil above in its liquid form (rather than for instance, as a solid or powder).
The nutty flavor of cupuaçu is prominent and slightly sweet. In some cases, people have used it in place of hazelnut oil.
It can also be mixed with other oils such as sweet almond or avocado, or blended with essential oils.
Did you know?
The cupuaçu tree has a life span of about 5-10 years.
Cupuaçu trees can grow up to a height of 35 feet (or around 10 meters).
Cupuaçu trees produce fruit twice a year.
The fruit can weigh up to 1 kilogram.
Cupuaçu has more vitamin C than a lemon or orange.
Cupuaçu butter is as smooth as butter from cows.
The cupuaçu fruit contains delicious white and yellow creamy pulp.
The pulp tastes a bit like a delicately flavored coconut mixed with banana mixed with fresh cream.
Cupuaçu is a favorite fruit for chocolate lovers.
Cupuaçu butter is also used as a moisturizer for very dry skin.
The cupuaçu butter market is not yet fully exploited.
Cupuaçu butter is a good moisturizer for babies’ delicate skin and for people with sensitive skin too.
“The cupuaçu fruit tastes delicious, I wish it was more accessible here in my town!” – Emilia, Cupuaçu consumer.
Cupuaçu butter is very practical for people with allergies or who don’t want to consume dairy products.
Some people use it as a carrier oil for other essential oils when making their own perfumes, massage oils, etc.
Cupuaçu pulp can be used as an ingredient in many food recipes (e.g as a topping for bakery items or ice cream).
The cupuaçu butter market is a niche market.
Cupuaçu butter can also be used in skin care recipes or as a massage oil.
Cupuaçu is a versatile fruit and the market for its butter is growing.
Cupuaçu butter benefits
The following are some of the many benefits of cupuaçu butter:
Cupuaçu butter has a high concentration of vitamin C (more than lemons or limes).
Cupuaçu butter is rich in vitamin A.
Cupuaçu butter is rich in vitamin E.
Cupuaçu butter helps regenerate skin cells.
Cupuaçu butter is a good emollient and moisturizer.
Cupuaçu butter is known to improve the elasticity of the skin.
Cupuaçu butter is hypoallergenic.
Cupuaçu butter is non-comedogenic (it won’t clog pores).
Cupuaçu butter is edible.
Cupuaçu butter has a light and creamy texture.
Cupuaçu butter melts at body temperature (so it feels very comfortable on the skin).
Where to buy
Cupuaçu butter can be found at specialty stores and online.
There are various types of cupuaçu butter on the market. The two main types are:
Refined cupuaçu butter (it appears as a creamy white color and has no smell). Unrefined cupuaçu butter (it appears as a creamy beige on color and may have a light natural smell of cupuaçu fruit).
Cupuaçu butter is sometimes sold as a body cream, whipped butter, or handmade soap.
Cupuaçu butter products are ideal for people who have dry skin, baby’s delicate skin, or people who want to prevent stretch marks (e.g.
Cupuaçu butter can also be used as a carrier oil when mixing perfumes or essential oils. It is also ideal for people who can’t consume dairy but still want the benefits that a high-butter oil provides.
Cupuaçu butter is very rich in nutrients and vitamins that help regenerate and protect skin.
Cupuaçu butter is suitable for all skin types and is suitable for people who have allergies or are vegan.
You can store your cupuaçu butter product in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life. It can also be stored at room temperature.
Exposing your cupuaçu butter product to excessive heat may alter its texture and smell.
The cupuaçu (pronounced coo-poo-ah-soo) is a species of fruit native to Brazil. Its scientific name is The orbiliaceae (Picus cupuaçu).
The fruit has been enjoyed by natives of the Amazon for hundreds of years.
Sources & references used in this article:
Application of calcined waste cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum) seeds as a low-cost solid catalyst in soybean oil ethanolysis: Statistical optimization by IM Mendonça, FL Machado, CC Silva, SD Junior… – Energy Conversion and …, 2019 – Elsevier
LCA Towards Sustainable Agriculture: The Case Study of Cupuaçu Jam from Agroforestry by F Recanati, A Arrigoni, G Scaccabarozzi, D Marveggio… – Procedia Cirp, 2018 – Elsevier
Study of the superficial distribution of microorganisms in kefir biofilms prepared with Cupuaçu juice by MAN Ferraro, EP Pinto… – Journal of bioenergy and …, 2020 – periodicos.ifap.edu.br
Production, characterization and impregnation of nanostructured lipid carriers of cupuaçu butter (T. grandiflorum), alpha-bisabolol, tea tree oil (M. alternifolia) … by M Pohlmann, K Paese, SS Guterres – academia.edu
Nitrogen use in mixed tree crop plantations with a legume cover crop by J Lehmann, JP da Silva, G Schroth, G Gebauer… – Plant and soil, 2000 – Springer
Economic analysis of agroforestry systems in Central Amazonia, Brazil. by MM Pereira, JLV de MACEDO… – … -Resumo em anais …, 2000 – alice.cnptia.embrapa.br