Fruit trees

Babaco (Carica pentagona)

This is a plant with tuberous roots and a porous, fibrous stem, grayish in color and with a diameter that gradually reduces from the base to the apex. Its large leaves are grouped at the top and develop alternately on the trunk. They have 5 to 7 lobes and a lanceolate apex, the veins are very visible. The flowers of this species are only female and have a greenish-white bell-like appearance measuring 3.5 to 4 cm.

The Babaco fruit has an elongated and pentagonal shape that is approximately 30 cm long. The unripe fruits are green, later yellow stripes are observed on their peel and then they turn totally yellow when they are ripe. Its pulp is creamy white and very aromatic. Regarding the flavor, it is a mix between strawberry and pineapple.

They reach their ideal size two months before harvest, reaching an average weight of 1 kg, but fruits of up to 2 kg can be achieved. A plant can produce between 35 and 40 fruits.

 Its cultivation

It is a kind of humid and rainy climatic conditions, it also does not tolerate cold or strong winds, so it is necessary to place wind barriers if you plan to cultivate in open fields. The perfect exposure is in full sun. Now, if this is too intense you can take it to the greenhouse.

In relation to the soil, it grows in clay soils that drain well because the stagnation of water causes its roots to rot. Before sowing, you must open a hole of approximately 50 cm and add natural fertilizer with phosphopotassium fertilizers. The best period for its cultivation is in the spring and in holes of 30 or 40 cm wide; for a better result add peat and fertilizer.

During their growth it is important that the plants maintain a height that does not exceed 2 m to avoid the appearance of new apical flowers. In growing areas with low rainfall it is necessary to apply constant irrigation. In hot regions, sprinkler or sprinkler irrigation systems that increase humidity in the place are very useful.

In cooler places, it is better to use the drop system. The collection can be done between 6 and 12 months; the optimal fruit for harvest should be green with yellow stripes.

Spread

As the species is only female, its propagation is only possible through the parthenocarpic process, which means that its propagation is solely vegetative. Through the use of cuttings or micropropagation you can obtain uniform cultures of the species. To do this, divide the trunk into 25 cm long sections and then place them outdoors in the dark for four days to heal the cuts. The use of fungicides is important.

Uses and properties

Babaco, in addition to its good taste, is rich in nutritional substances, particularly it is rich in vitamin C and A and contains potassium. A serving of this fruit is more than enough to obtain the daily requirement of vitamin C recommended by the specialists. It is Ideal for those who are on a diet, as the fruit contains few calories. For that reason and for those people who want to lose weight, it is an excellent option.

All parts of the Babaco can be used, including the shell. It can be eaten alone or in salads. Cream or ice cream can be added to add flavor and is great for making smoothies.

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