There’s a tree in Brazil called “Jabuticaba”, whose fruit grows directly from the trunk and branches of the tree. It can be found in the states of Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, in the south of Brazil. Jabuticaba’s popularity has been likened to that of grapes in the United States. The name Jabuticaba is derived from the Tupi words Jabuti (tortoise) and Caba (place), meaning the place where you find tortoises. This Jabuticaba tree has a very unusual appearance.
The fruit is not big, only 3 to 4 cm in diameter, with one to four large seeds, having deep purple-colored skin and a sweet, white, or rosy pink gelatinous flesh. This odd tree provides fruit twice a year and continuously irrigates its flowers regularly, and fresh fruit can be available year-round in tropical regions. Jabuticaba fruit is borne directly on the foremost branches. Up to four crops can occur during the warmer period.
Harvest the slightly unripe fruit every few days. It can be quite time-consuming to pick the fruit. When there’s a Jabuticaba season in Minas Gerais, countless sidewalks and street vendors sell fresh fruits in the little net bags, stained a similar deep purple by discarded Jabuticaba skins.
The fruit is quite often used to make jams, tarts, and many other things because it is largely eaten fresh and fermented 3 to 4 days after harvest. Because of its short shelf life, fresh jabuticaba is rarely available in markets outside of areas of cultivation. Jabuticaba fruit has traditionally been used in medicine.
A severe decoction of the sun-dried skin has been used as a treatment for asthma, diarrhea, hemoptysis, and gargled for chronic inflammation of tonsils. Jabuticaba has many powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds.
However, jabuticaba grows in many regions of Brazil and is found mostly in Minas Gerias. Its association with the state is so robust that the Jabuticaba tree appears on the coat of arms of the city of Contagem, and another city in Minas Gerais, Sabará, hosts a Jabuticaba festival annually.
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