Araza (Portuguese common names araçá, araçá-boi ; Spanish common name arazá) is a fruit tree native to Amazon Rain-forest vegetation in Brazil and Ecuador. It has recalcitrant seeds which should not be grown in soil, but prefer semi-rotting wood. In any case, germination is very slow, and may take 3-6 months.
The fruit is distinctive and very appealing, but also very acidic (pH 2.4, similar to lemons). It is usually used to make juice or for culinary purposes such as making jam. It is cultivated in California, but is not very commercially exploited due to the poor shipping ability of the fruits. Some are large (up to 750g).
The trees are small to medium sized and tolerate some flooding and droughts of up to 2 months. They are hermaphroditic (possibly allogamous) and there is considerable interest in further developing the crop through selective breeding.
The fleshy petals of its beautiful flowers are also appreciated. In addition, there is a wide variety of industrialised products on the market in the form of paste, jam, crystallized fruits preserves in syrup and liqueur. The flesh can be used in the soft drinks and ice-cream industries. The fruit is rarely eaten raw because of its acidity (pH 2.4 in the case of the juice) but if it does it is eaten out of hand. In Colombia, the economic interest of this fruit has increased since the end of the 20th century, and the fruit is at present sold by growers’ associations and even in supermarkets, while the exports to the UK have just started. The USA is in the process of registering arazá to be sold fresh. It’s better to use it processed form, mostly as a juices, nectar, ice cream but also jellies, marmalade, preserves and desserts. Another use of this fruit tree is to rehabilitate exhausted land and also for ornamental purposes.
Health Benefits of Araza Fruit
Unlike Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia), more than 20 percent of whose fresh weight is represented by 2 percent of ascorbic acid, araza fruit has more vitamin C than oranges and this boost the immune system drastically and protects the body from infections. The golden fruit is especially popular at New Year’s, for it is believed to bestow good fortune on a household. At year’s end-the Japanese, who call it bushukan, also buy it.
In Brazil one of the most common drinks is the Araza succo which is water based. Many fruits are very rich in important vitamins. If you find yourself taking a vitamin C supplement to ward off colds and keep your energy levels high throughout the day, eat a fruit.
Different fruits contain different proportions of different vitamins, so by consuming a rich mixture of fruit you can be sure you are getting a nicely balanced vitamin supply. Fruits also contain lots of fibre which helps to keep your bowels healthy. Problems such as constipation and diverticular disease are less likely to develop.