The content of the article:
- Composition and calorie content
- Beneficial features
- Harm and contraindications
- Dish recipes
- Interesting Facts
Surinamese Pitanga cherry is a ribbed berry with 2-4 large seeds, ripening on a tree from the Myrtovy family (Eugenia one-flowered). The plant is found in the wild in Uruguay, Brazil, Central America, Paraguay, throughout India. The species is cultivated in southern China, Colombia, the Philippines and the Antilles, California. Trees are planted for decorative purposes for landscaping the territory, it is easy to give them the desired shape. The leaves are lanceolate, with a dark green shiny surface. In the wild, the height of the shrub can be 8 m, in an artificial environment, growth is limited to 1.5-2 m. The berries are small, ribbed, sweet and sour, with a slight bitterness and a pronounced smell of cool freshness. Fruit color can be lemon, bright red, burgundy or black. The shape also depends on the variety. In greenhouse trees, fruits are spherical, in wild trees, they are round, slightly flattened and ribbed. The crop can be harvested 2 times a year.
Composition and calorie content of Surinamese cherries
The calorie content of Surinamese cherries is 33 kcal per 100 g, of which:
- Proteins - 0.8 g
- Fat - 0.4 g
- Carbohydrates - 7.49 g
- Ash - 0.5 g,
- Water - 90.81 g.
Vitamins per 100 g:
- Vitamin C, ascorbic acid - 26.3 mg,
- Vitamin B2, riboflavin - 0.04 mg,
- Vitamin B1, thiamine - 0.03 mg,
- Vitamin A, retinol equivalent - 1.5 mg.
Micro and macro elements:
- Iron - 0.2 mg
- Phosphorus - 11 mg
- Sodium - 3 mg
- Magnesium - 12 mg
- Calcium - 9 mg
- Potassium - 103 mg
As part of the Surinamese cherry:
- Vitamin A... It has antioxidant properties, stimulates the regeneration of mucous membranes, improves the quality of the skin. In 100 g of pitanga pulp, the daily rate of this substance.
Vitamin C... A constant participant in redox processes, increases immunity, stimulates metabolism in the body, prevents the release of histamine, strengthens the walls of blood vessels. It is enough to eat 200 g of Surinamese cherries to completely restore the supply of ascorbic acid, which the body loses in a day during its life.
Calcium... Improves the condition of nails and hair, increases bone strength and elasticity of cartilage tissue.
Potassium... Normalizes cardiac activity, in combination with phosphorus has a strengthening effect on blood vessels.
Also in the composition of the Surinamese cherry there are organic acids (salicylic, citric, succinic, malic), sugars - up to 11%, the bactericidal substance anthocyanin and coumarin, a stimulant of the nervous system.
Benefits of Surinamese Cherry
The indigenous people of the countries where it is found in the wild were the first to appreciate the benefits of the Surinamese cherry.
When consuming Pitanga:
- The condition of nails and teeth improves, the skin is cleared of acne, black dots and white abscesses cease to form. Acne scars heal faster.
Vision improves, degenerative-dystrophic changes in the anatomical structures of the organ of vision in general and the optic nerve in particular stop.
Exchange processes are accelerating. With an increase in the speed of peristalsis, the intestines are cleared of old toxins. The diuretic action prevents the formation of edema, does not allow the formation of a fatty layer, which helps to stay in "your" weight.
The possibility of developing cardiovascular diseases, heart attack and stroke, tachycardia and angina pectoris decreases. "Excess" cholesterol, which could be absorbed from foods high in fat, dissolves and is excreted through the intestines.
The body gets enough iron to prevent the development of anemia. It is useful to introduce a berry into the diet with heavy menstruation.
Pitanga has a pronounced antioxidant effect. Teas, which include leaves and berries, relieve intoxication, lower the temperature, eliminate the symptoms of a febrile condition - muscle and joint aches due to the relief of vasospasm and nerve fibers.
The introduction of a low-calorie product into the diet has a beneficial effect on the body. Metabolism is normalized at the cellular level, the general condition improves, the nervous system begins to work stably.
Harm and contraindications to eating pitanga
The contraindication to the use of Surinamese Pitanga cherries is quite general - individual intolerance. With caution, a new product is introduced into the daily menu for children under 3 years old and pregnant women, so as not to provoke the development of an allergic reaction.
Since the berry pulp contains a large amount of organic acids, it is worth limiting the use if you have a history of such diseases:
- Acidic gastritis
Ulcers of the stomach and duodenum,
Erosive damage to the mucous membrane of the digestive organs,
The fruit should not be eaten with seeds. They taste quite bitter and, like most berries, contain hydrocyanic acid.
Surinamese Cherry Recipes
Surinamese cherries have a characteristic bitterness, which gives a special piquancy when eaten raw, but negatively affects the taste of desserts. To get rid of it, pitanga is covered with sugar and put in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. The bitterness goes away, and you can make jam, jam or make drinks from the berry.
- Curd cake... Beat 2 chicken eggs, without separating the whites from the yolks, with a glass of sugar. Gently add 2 tablespoons of sour cream, a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the broken eggs. Separately, grind 2/3 cups of cottage cheese, mix with an egg mixture, add some salt, add a glass of wheat flour, a little soda or a tablespoon of baking powder. The bones are removed from the pitanga, the berries have to be cut. Pour the peeled fruits into a container with curd dough and mix everything thoroughly. A silicone baking dish is greased with sunflower oil, the curd dough is put into it, leveling the surface. Preheat the oven to 220 ° C, put the dish in it and bake for 1 hour. Readiness indicator - golden brown on top. After the cake is taken out of the oven, it is allowed to cool. Dessert is not consumed hot. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. You can pour melted chocolate over the entire cake immediately after removing it from the oven. In this case, no powdered sugar is needed.
Liquor... Mix in a volumetric thick-walled glass bottle 1 kg of fresh fully ripe berries, the same amount of sugar and pour 1 liter of real vodka without additives. If possible, it is better to dilute the alcohol to 40 °. For 5 days, the bottle is left in a dark place, shaken at least 4-5 times a day. After the expiration of the above period, 1.5 liters of pure, filtered water are poured into it, everything is mixed and the liquid is filtered through cheesecloth. The cherries are carefully squeezed out. The finished liquor is stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It can be used as a tonic mixture, drinking 1-2 teaspoons in the morning, or offered to guests as an alcoholic drink.
Berry vinegar... Calculation of products: 1 kg of pitted pitangi, 1 liter of water, a glass of sugar. The seeds are removed from the berries, kneaded in mashed potatoes, poured with water and sugar is added. Oppression is placed on a container with berry puree and left in the light at room temperature for fermentation. If it is impossible to put oppression, then the contents of the container are constantly stirred to release air. After the primary fermentation, the liquid is decanted, poured into cans so that there is a free space of about 10-12 cm up to the neck. Now the containers are covered with gauze and left to ripen for another 2 weeks. Then the liquid is filtered again and bottled. The ready-made berry vinegar is stored in a cool, dark place so that it does not lose its beneficial properties and does not cause secondary fermentation.
Berry cake... The chicken egg is divided into white and yolk. The protein is interrupted by adding a tablespoon of sugar to a cool foam. When the volume of protein has increased 3 times, carefully introduce the yolk and beat again. Sift flour - 3-4 tablespoons, mix it with the same amount of starch, add a pinch of vanilla or vanilla sugar. The loose ingredients are added to the egg mixture, the dough is kneaded. Parchment is laid out in a baking dish, the dough is poured, and 60 g pitanga berries are carefully laid on top, after removing the seeds. It is baked like a regular biscuit, at a temperature of 180 ° C, by placing it in an already heated oven. Biscuit dough will be tastier if you pour 1 tablespoon of good cognac into it.
If you do not plan to eat the fruits right away, then preference should be given to unripe berries with a dense skin, without damage. Such berries will ripen on the refrigerator shelf, where they can be stored for 3 days. Further, the pulp becomes slimy and, despite the low temperature, the decay process begins. To increase the shelf life, fresh berries are purchased and immediately frozen. This is exactly what European restaurateurs add to gourmet cuisine. When frozen quickly, the beneficial properties of cherries are preserved.
Interesting facts about Pitanga
The Indians called the berry Pitanga. Literally translated - "red". In modern Brazil, the fruits are often called the Brazilian cherry or southern berry.
The name "Eugenia" Pitanga received later, in honor of the Austrian prince, commander Eugene of Savoy, who brought the berries to Europe in the 18th century from Turkey, where they got thanks to Arab merchants. In total, there are 270 species of myrtle trees, the common name of which is eugenia. They are united by their presence in the composition of the substance eugenol, the source of the characteristic myrtle smell.
In Brazil, Pitanga can be found in the wild, but it is quite difficult to buy. Large berries are grown only in Pernambuco, and their price reaches 100 reais per 1 kg. Currently, the rate of the Brazilian real is 16-18 rubles.
Despite the variety of pitanga rind colors, it is very easy to determine the ripeness. It is worth touching a ripe fruit, it remains in the hand. The unripe berry does not separate from the stalk. When buying, it is enough to smell the pitanga to understand that yellowness is not a feature of the variety, but a sign of immaturity. Such berries have a distinct smell of spruce needles. You shouldn't even taste them, your mouth will be filled with sour bitterness.
Collecting berries is a difficult process. They grow one at a time, and are medium-sized, 1-1.5 cm in diameter. It's like picking grapes one at a time.
The berries are so tender that they can only be stored frozen. Due to the special storage conditions, import is difficult.
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Representatives of the species are among the largest in the tyrannous family. The body length is 21-27 cm, weight reaches 52-68 g. The head is large, the wings are long, the legs are short. The head is black with a white stripe and a yellow stripe at the crown. The throat is white, the chest and lower body are yellow. The upper body is brown, the wings and tail are of a similar color with well-defined rufous edges. The beak is thick, short and black in color. This bird is considered a songbird, but its singing is loud and harsh. Therefore, large pitangs are not contained in cells.
Reproduction and life expectancy
Male and female do not differ externally. In the spring, they both participate in the construction of the nest. It is usually done on a tree or telephone pole. A structure for reproduction is assembled from stems, plants, moss, covered with rags and even plastic bags on top. It has a spherical shape with a side entrance. Outwardly, it looks bulky and untidy.
In a clutch, there are from 2 to 5 eggs, most often 4 eggs. Their color is reddish and diluted with brown spots. Only the female incubates the clutch, and the male carries food. The incubation period lasts 30 days. Chicks become independent at the age of 35 days after birth. Sexual maturity in these birds occurs at the age of 1 year. In the wild, the large pitanga lives for 6-7 years.
Behavior and nutrition
These birds are sociable and noisy. Their flight is fast and maneuverable. Extremely aggressive when their nests are threatened. They are not afraid to attack birds that are several times their size. Therefore, predatory birds, if not hungry, avoid contact with large pytangs.
Representatives of the species hunt very actively. They usually wait for prey sitting in a tree. The diet includes larvae, worms, insects, small rodents, lizards, frogs, fish. Having caught a fish in shallow water, the bird lifts it up a tree and there finishes it off with blows of its beak. Vegetable food is also eaten. Here, preference is given to fruits, mainly grapes and figs.
Since the vocal data of these birds are not of interest to people, they are not interesting to poachers either. In addition, one must take into account the fact that the large pitanga prefers animal food, and this makes it difficult to keep it in captivity. In accordance with the international classification, this species has a status that does not cause concern, and the number of these birds is kept at a stable level.