Jabuticaba: An unusual fruit with anticancer, detox, antioxidant properties

Jabuticaba: An unusual fruit with anticancer, detox, antioxidant properties


The jabuticaba or jaboticaba is an unusual fruit that appears to blossom right out of the bark and trunk of its tree. It is often used in its native lands in South America much like grapes are used elsewhere. Jabuticaba fruit looks like thick-skinned deep-purple grapes. Inside the pink or white sweet fleshy fruit. Embedded in the pulpy flesh are several large seeds. The fruit is typically eaten fresh or made into tarts, jams, or wines, and liqueurs.

Benefits of jabuticaba


Some preliminary studies have found that jabuticaba may help to protect against the development of cancer. Jabuticaba contains such anticancer compounds as anthocyanins, which is believed to inhibit the development and spread of cancer cells. Rich in antioxidants, jabuticaba is believed to help prevent the development of cancer because they scavenge free radicals in the body preventing and reversing the damage done to cells. However, more rigorous, scientific research needs to be conducted to confirm these results.


In South America, jabuticaba has commonly been used to help treat bouts of diarrhea. When dried, crushed, and mixed with the water, the skin of the jabuticaba slows bowel movements. Once you’re able to keep food in your system, eating the meat of the fruit restores nutrients and vitamins lost while sick. This helps to speed up recovery time and helps prevent dehydration.


The rich antioxidant activity in jabuticaba has strong anti-inflammatory effects. By enjoying a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, you help prevent the development of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Anti-inflammatory foods are great when suffering such inflammatory conditions as arthritis, which are painful and can reduce the overall quality of life.


Jabuticaba is great for the liver. Jabuticaba helps to take the stress off this busy organ by helping to filter out toxins while nourishing the body with vitamins and minerals. Regularly consuming this fruit helps to keep your body free of illness-causing toxins.


Natives of South America believe jabuticaba is a benefit for those suffering from asthma. Jabuticaba is believed to keep the airways and passages to the lungs clear by opening bronchi. There is currently no evidence supporting this claim, however.


The rich antioxidant content of the jabuticaba may help slow the aging process. The antioxidants help to neutralize antioxidants that ravage the skin with age spots and fine lines. Regularly consuming this sweet fruit may help to ensure the integrity of your skin a little bit longer.


In South America, people commonly call jabuticaba as a remedy for sore throats. Squeeze the juice from the fruit and mixed with warm water, jabuticaba has a soothing effect on raw and sore throats. The rich vitamin C content as well as other vitamins and minerals help to fight infection, speeding up the healing process.

Adding jabuticabas to your diet

People ommonly consume it raw or used to make jams, juice, and even used as a flavoring in cakes and other foods. Due to its highly fermentable nature, jabuticaba is commonly used to make strong wines.

The jabuticaba can be consumed any time of the day but only when it is fully ripe .

Word of caution

When eating jabuticaba, please consider the following:

Eating the skin of the fruit may cause constipation. It is advised to consume this fruit in moderation.

Recipe  for Jaboticaba Syrup


4 cups jaboticaba fruit, sliced in half

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

a few slices ginger (optional)


Combine fruit, water, sugar, and ginger in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Once the fruit is soft, use a potato masher to crush the fruit. Add the lemon and allow it to simmer for 5 more minutes, then turn off the heat.

Once it’s room temperature, pour the juice through a fine-mesh strainer and refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipe for Jabuticaba jam


800g Jabuticaba (buy a kilo and use the rest for drinks!)

300g sugar

Optional: cinnamon stick (canela), cloves (cravo-da-índia)


Wash the fruit, drain, and place in a large saucepan. Use any utensil you have to crush the fruit – a potato masher, wooden spoon, or even a fork works fine. Don’t mash them hard – just make sure that you break every berry open so that it can let out its juice and pulp.

Once all the berries are broken, heat on medium flame until the juicy mixture starts to bubble. Now add 300ml of water, stir well and continue to gently simmer the mixture, squeezing any chunky pieces of fruit up against the side of the pan.

After a few minutes, all the fruit should be softened. Don’t cook it for too long or the resulting jelly will be bitter.


Put the pulp and juice into sieve above a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to squeeze all the goodness out of the fruit and through the sieve. Discard the pulp and pips that don’t make it through.

Push the pulp through a plastic sieve.

You should now have around 600ml of liquid remaining – return it to the pan and add 300g of sugar.

Add sugar, heat and stir.

Heat to a very gentle simmer, stirring occasionally (don’t let it boil). At this stage, if you want, you can add a cinnamon stick and/or a few cloves, though personally I prefer to keep the pure jabuticaba flavour.

After 20-30 minutes the liquid will have reduced a little and you can turn off the heat.

Pour the mixture into sterilised jam jars, allow to cool and then refrigerate.

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