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Fruits & Vegetables

Naranjilla

Botanical Name: Solanum quitoense
Family: Solanaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. quitoense

Synonyms:
*Solanum angulatum Ruiz & Pav.
*Solanum macrocarpon Molina (non L.: homonym)
*Solanum macrocarpon Pav. ex Dunal in DC. (nomen nudum, homonym)
*Solanum nollanum Britton
*Solanum quitense Kunth
*Solanum quitoense f. septentrionale (R.E.Schult. & Cuatrec.)
*Solanum quitoense var. septentrionale R.E.Schult. & Cuatrec.

Common Names: Naranjilla, Lulo, Quito-Orange, Obando, Cocona, or Nuqui

Habitat: Naranjilla is native to Andean countries of Columbia and Ecuador.(Western S. America – Ecuador, Colombia, Peru.) Grows in Montane forests.

Description:
Plant:..CLICK & SEE
Naranjilla is an erect, spreading herbaceous subtropical perennial plant, 8 ft. (2.5 m) tall with thick stems that become somewhat woody with age; spiny in the wild, spineless in cultivated plants. The plant is intolerant of full sun exposure but favors semi-shade and winds protected areas and does best in well-drained rich organic soil but will also grow on poor, stony soils, calcareous soils and on scarified limestone. It must have good drainage. The stems, leaves and petioles of the plant are covered in short purple hairs.

Plant has thick, lignescent, pubescent (with purple stellate trichomes) stem, prickly in the wild, unarmed in cultivated plant.

Leaves:....CLICK & SEE

Leaves are normally alternate, oblong-ovate, large heartshaped or oval-shaped, to 2 ft. (60 cm) long and 18 in (45 cm) wide, soft and woolly. There may be few or many spines on petioles, midrib and lateral veins, above and below, or the leaves may be totally spineless.

Flowers:…..CLICK & SEE

The flowers are pale violet. It is propagated by seed sowing, cuttings, or grafting.They are fragrant, pentamerous, strongly andromonoecious in short axillary inflorescence of 1–20 flowers. About 1 1/5 in (3 cm) wide have 5 petals, white on the upper surface, purple hairy beneath, and 5 prominent yellow stamens. The unopened buds are likewise covered with purple hairs.

Fruit…...CLICK & SEE
Naranjilla is actually globose, round or round-ovate shaped fruit, 1–4 per inflorescence, 2 1/2 in (6.25 cm) across and contains 4 compartments separated by membranous partitions and filled with translucent green or yellowish, very juicy, slightly acid to acid, pulp of delicious flavor which has been likened to pineapple-and-lemon. Fruit is normally brownish-green while young turning to orange when completely ripe. Skin is normally smooth leathery, thick peel which encloses light yellow-orange flesh and juicy green pulp with small, thin seeds.

Fruit consists of numerous, small, lenticular, flat, minutely pitted, buff-colored seeds, 2.5–3.5 mm in diameter. The fruit has a citrus flavor resemble a cross between a pineapple and a lemon. The juice of the naranjilla is green and is often used as a juice or for a drink called lulada. A brown, hairy coat protects the fruit until it is fully ripe, when the hairs can be easily rubbed off, showing the bright-orange, smooth, leathery, fairly thick peel. It looks like an orange on the outside and a tomato on the inside, the flavor is often termed as more like pineapple, kiwi, lime, or rhubarb.

Cultivation:
Plants can be grown from quite low elevations in the tropics up to an elevation of 2,500 metres or more. They do not do well in hot, lowland tropical areas. They appear to be tolerant of temperatures up to about 30°c, but are intolerant of frost. They prefer an annual precipitation of around 1,500mm fairly evenly spread through the year since dry periods can lead to a check in growth.

Edible Uses:
Fruits are eaten – raw or cooked. It is used mainly in sauces and preserves. The tart yet sweet flavour is very refreshing. The pulp is very juicy. The juice, which is rich in protein and minerals, is used in effervescent drinks. The hairs on the skin of the fruit are removed before the fruit is eaten. The fruit is up to 5cm in diameter and is produced in clusters of 3 – 4 fruits.

Health Benefits:
Lulo Fruit or Naranjilla Fruit consists of lots of Vitamins A, C, B also iron, phosphorus, beta-carotene, magnesium, and calcium. Lulo is virtually fat free and very low in calories and is very high in antioxidants. Listed below are some of the health benefits of consuming naranjilla:

  1. Cancer Prevention
    Unique mix of vitamins and antioxidants in Naranjilla mean that it can neutralize the free radicals in the body that mutate healthy cells into cancerous cells. Ongoing researches at a variety of facilities around the world are studying the precise antioxidants and modes of action that give this tangy fruit this anti-carcinogenic ability.
  2. Improves Digestive Health:
    Naranjilla consists of pepsin which is actually a type of fiber and is very beneficial for the digestive tract. Almost all fiber helps promote digestion, and pepsin is one of the best varieties for the health of your gastrointestinal tract. It helps to eliminate constipation, cramping, bloating, and more serious conditions like gastric ulcers. Fiber also helps to regulate the amount of glucose that is released into the bloodstream, making Naranjilla beneficial for people suffering from diabetes, who need to monitor their blood sugar levels very closely.
  3. Cholesterol and Heart Health:
    The combination of dietary fiber help to eliminate dangerous, “bad” cholesterol from the body, and the rich variety of other vitamins and minerals can expressively improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system and lower your chances of developing atherosclerosis, as well as lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  4. Vision Health:
    Naranjilla consists of carotenoids including vitamin A and beta carotene which help to neutralize the free radicals that cause oxidative stress on certain ocular cells, including the macular lutea. This can reduce your chances of macular degeneration, cataracts, and other vision issues.

5.Immune System Benefits:
Naranjilla is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A and is a wonderful way to boost your immune system. Vitamin C works as a natural antioxidant to clear out free radicals from your system, and also stimulates white blood cell production, which is the body’s first line of defense against infectious diseases and other pathogens. Additionally, vitamin C is essential for the development of collagen, which supports connective tissue, blood vessels, and organs.

6.Circulation:
Significant levels of iron that are found in Naranjilla means that your red blood cell count will be increased, thereby boosting the circulation of your blood and increasing oxygenation to vital organ systems and cells. This can also improve the strength, growth rate, and texture of your hair by encouraging the follicle beds. Furthermore, improved cellular healing and regeneration can be achieved by boosting the amount of iron in your body.

7.Detoxify Your Body:
Naranjilla has often been used in traditional medicine as a diuretic substance, meaning that it increases urination. This can cleanse the kidney of excess toxins, relieve stress on the liver, and eliminate excess salts, water, and even fat from the body. Diuretic substances are commonly turned to by people looking to lose weight or detoxify their body and blood of toxins.

8.Bone Strength:
Strong bones are important at all stages of life, so a fruit like Naranjilla, which has a rich diversity of minerals, including calcium, phosphorous, and iron, can considerably improve the density of bone tissue, thus preventing conditions like osteoporosis and even arthritis as we age.

9.Stress Relief and Sleep Disorders
Although research is ongoing in terms of the actual method of action for these health conditions, Naranjilla has been associated with hormonal changes in the body that can improve mood, reduce stress, and even promote sleep for people suffering from insomnia and restless sleep disorders.

Known Hazards:
The fruits are covered in stinging hairs, though these are easily removed. Although providing many well-known foods for people, including the potato, tomato, pepper and aubergine, most plants in the family Solanaceae also contain poisonous alkaloids. Unless there are specific entries with information on edible uses, it would be unwise to ingest any part of this plant.(Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_quitoense
https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/naranjilla/
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Solanum+quitoense

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