Curious about camu and all it has to offer? Learn about this vitamin C-packed superfood below!
I’m one of those people who could easily spend hours poring over the health & wellness aisle of the grocery store. Or hell, the whole grocery store if it’s an especially good one. I love reading labels, exploring fresh ingredients, and discovering new things to incorporate into my daily routine. I regularly run out of room in my pantry for yet another powder, seed, oil or nut — though I’ll always find space — so yes, the way to my heart is well documented. So I was thrilled when my husband presented me with a bag of camu powder last week. Sure, I had no idea of what to do with it, but I was excited to find out more. I’ve seen camu on the shelves before, nestled next to lucuma and maca, and it turns out this superfood hails from a similar geographic region in — big surprise — Peru (what kind of magic is happening in peru?!) and is chock-full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Curiosity piqued? Get to know camu below and learn how to make an incredible camu-raspberry vegan ice cream, perfect for relaxing with on these warm spring days.
What is it? Camu powder comes from the camu fruit, a small purple-red berry-like fruit that grows on a low, shrubby riverside tree in the Amazonian region of Peru, though its range extends into Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Camu is closely related to guavaberry and rumberry. Though it’s unlikely camu was nutritionally considered by the Amazonian tribes that have consumed it for so long, it’s recently made waves in the international market with its extremely high levels if vitamin C — the highest in the world with over 60 times the potency of an orange. Camu is most widely available as a powder.
What are the benefits? Most notably, camu berry offers the highest potency of vitamin C in the world. Nicknamed “nature’s vitamin”, it’s also brimming with antioxidants — which fight aging and neutralize free radicals — and flavonoids, like anthocyanins (similar to acai). Camu is also a good source of beta-carotene, for healthy eyesight, and potassium.
How do I use it? Camu berry powder has a sweet-tart, citrusy flavor that lends itself well to a variety of dishes. Try it mixed into desserts, smoothies, baked goods, and yogurt, or use it to flavor sauces or spreads. Because it’s water soluble, it can also be used to make drinks, like camu berry lemonade or a fruit-punch-like drink sweetened with honey. It’s also widely used to flavor ice cream, which brings me to…
Camu Raspberry Vegan Ice Cream
2 cans full fat coconut milk, chilled upright in the fridge overnight
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp raw honey (or more to taste)
2 tsp camu powder
3/4 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup nut milk of choice (I used a coconut/almond milk blend)
Toppings: roasted pistachios, honey, bee pollen
Tools: handheld or stand mixer, loaf pan lined in parchment
Before you begin, place the bowl and paddle of your stand mixer in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. While the bowl chills, remove the cans of coconut milk from the fridge, flip them upside down, and use a can opener to open them from the bottom. Pour off the coconut water and reserve for later (you can use it in smoothies, in curries, etc.). Use a spoon or rubber spatula to loosen the coconut cream in the cans.
Remove the bowl and paddle from the freezer and attach to your mixer. Working quickly, scoop the coconut cream into the mixing bowl and add the vanilla. Beat on high until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Tip: This mixture is coconut whipped cream!
Add the honey and camu powder and whip on high until combined. Taste, and adjust sweetness and camu accordingly. Add the raspberries and almond milk and beat on high until combined and fluffy.
Scoop the mixture into the parchment-lined loaf pan and freeze until completely firm, at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, remove the loaf pan form the fridge at least 10 minutes prior. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop into cones or cups and top with pistachios, honey and bee pollen. Enjoy!
*Best consumed within 5 days
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