Jabuticaba – The Brazilian grape

Published Date : March 5, 2022

The fruit appears to blossom out of the bark itself and is, therefore, one of the rarest and bizarre fruits known to mankind!

Jabuticaba fruit

Like turtle fat

a handful of jabuticaba fruits

Jaboticaba derives its name from the Tupi term “jabotim” which means “like turtle fat”. The term refers to the fruity pulp of the Brazilian grape. The round-shaped fruit appears like a concord grape and is about 1cm in diameter. With tough skin and a tanny, resinous flavor the fruit is highly perishable.

100 pounds of fruit per tree!

The Brazilian grape tree is an evergreen tree native to Brazil and is rarely found outside its growing areas. It is frost intolerant and sensitive to salinity. The thin outer layer of the bark flakes off leaving behind light patches like that of a guava tree. The tree is capable of thriving in a wide range of soil mediums and sun exposure is an essential factor that determines its growth. The largest yields are visible in late March and April when a mature tree can produce around 100 pounds of fruit!Jaboticaba flowers

  • The fruit has a sweet and soft pulp with four large seeds in the center.
  • The plant is cultivated from the seeds and propagated by grafting.
  •  The slow-growing tree takes 8-10 years to produce the fruits.
  • But once the fruit blossoms, the tree appears as if it is covered with purple cysts. The fruits are borne on the tree trunk, hence the appearance. 

The fruit is initially green and turns purple on maturity. It blossoms from a subtle white flower. The foliage of the tree is lightly haired and transitions from a salmon-colored tinge to a dark green hue.


Jabuticaba tree

The fruit is initially green and turns purple on maturity. It blossoms from a subtle white flower. The foliage of the tree is lightly haired and transitions from a salmon-colored tinge to a dark green hue.

leaves of Jaboticaba

Jabuticaba in the Brazilian tradition

Jabuticaba festival

Initially, the fruit was consumed as a snack by the Brazilian aboriginals and was used in the making of fermented wines. Brazilian traditional medicines make use of the fruit to treat tonsils, asthma, and gastrointestinal problems. It is believed that the tree originated in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. A few indigenous species are found in the areas of Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Paraguay. The fruit is consumed on a large scale in Brazil. During the fruiting season, the streets of the market are stained purple from the discarded skin of the fruit. Festival da jabuticaba is a festival of the city of Sabará that celebrates the fruit annually.

Jams, marmalades, and medicines!

Jabuticaba jam

The fruit is consumed fresh by simply squeezing its flesh out of the skin. It is used to make jams, marmalades, and other preservatives. The juice is used to make fermented vines while the fruit is bestowed with medicinal properties.

  • It is less with antioxidants like anthocyanins and possesses anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • It works wonders for skin health and stimulates digestion
  • It is effective against type 2 diabetes and asthma.
  • Apart from this, the fruit is imbued with ample compounds that strengthen the hair follicles. 
  • The fruit extracts thus find application on several hair care products.
  •  The phenolic compounds, anthocyanins, and phytonutrients lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. 
  • The essential vitamins and minerals present in the fruit support the gut microbiome and promote bone mineral density.

The unique fruit is thus blessed with a wealth of essential nutrients and augments the overall health of the consumer. It is often called a treasure trove of nutrients owing to the medicinal properties it possesses.

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