Morón de Páramo Berries
Inventory, lb : 0
Morón de Páramo is a medium to large aggregate fruit varietal, averaging 3 to 4 centimeters in diameter and 3 to 7 centimeters in length, and has an oval to conical shape tapering from the broad shoulders to a rounded, somewhat pointed tip. The fruits are comprised of tiny round drupelets that fuse to create a solid but bumpy, textured, and bubbled appearance and are topped with several dark green, oval leaves. Each drupelet has glossy, thin, and delicate skin ranging in color from bright red, dark red, to red-purple, depending on maturity. Within the drupelets, there is a light red, aqueous, and fleshy pulp. In the center of the fruit, there is also a large, hard seed that is not typically consumed and is discarded. Morón de Páramo fruits are somewhat tougher in consistency when compared to commercial blackberries and raspberries, but the chewy, succulent fruits have a sweet-tart flavor with bright, fruity, and tangy nuances.
Morón de Páramo is available during the fruit’s main season, spanning April to June. A secondary crop may be found from October through November in some regions.
Morón de Páramo, botanically classified as Rubus nubigenus, is an aggregate fruit belonging to the Rosaceae family. The fruits grow on shrubs comprised of scrambling, thorny stems that form a dense thicket of branches, and each stem can grow over two meters in length. The shrubs are self-fertile and produce some of the largest fruits in the Rubus genus, a diverse grouping of bramble species. Morón de Páramo are also known as Morón, Mora Gigante, and Mora de Oso, and are rare fruits primarily foraged from wild plants. The species is found in a specific climatic region in the northwestern countries of South America and is valued as local food, typically consumed fresh, blended into beverages, or simmered into preserves and sauces. The shrubs are also sometimes grown in home gardens, but the fruits have remained mostly wild and are not commercially cultivated.
Morón de Páramo is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus to build strong bones and teeth and vitamin C to boost the immune system while reducing inflammation. The fruits also provide potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, fiber to regulate the digestive tract, and vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning. In addition to vitamins and minerals, Morón de Páramo contains phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins, which give the fruits their pigmented red-purple hue and provide antioxidant-like properties to protect and reduce cell damage caused by free radicals.
Morón de Páramo has a sweet-tart, tangy flavor well suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The berries can be consumed straight, out of hand, discarding the hard, central seed, or they can be tossed into fruit bowls, green salads, and yogurt. Morón de Páramo can also be used as an edible topping over pancakes and crepes, or it can be pureed and frozen into popsicles, sorbet, or ice cream. In Colombia, Morón de Páramo is popularly juiced and mixed with milk or water as a fruity, tangy beverage. The fruits can also be blended into smoothies, muddled into cocktails, or fermented into wines. Beyond fresh preparations, Morón de Páramo can be simmered into jams, jellies, and preserves, or they can be juiced and strained into syrups. The berries also provide a sweet-tart flavoring to sauces, incorporated into cakes, tarts, and other desserts or used to complement roast meats. Morón de Páramo pairs well with other fruits such as citrus, berries, and apples, spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans, and meats including beef, pork, and poultry. Whole, unwashed Morón de Páramo should be immediately used for the best quality and flavor. The fruits will also keep 1 to 6 days when stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer.
Morón de Páramo fruits grow wild in a high-altitude ecosystem known as Páramo. This region is typically situated above the timberline, around 2,600 meters and above, but below the snow line at 4000 meters, and is found in the Andes Mountains. The Páramo spans mainly across Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, and 60% of the land is inside Colombia. The ecosystem is comprised of grasslands filled with shrubs, including Morón de Páramo, and it is common for the temperatures to fluctuate, often producing dense fog from the high humidity. The shrubs are vital to the region as they create dense thickets alongside roads, forest edges, and streams and provide protection, food, and shelter for several animal species. The seasonal flowers also attract beneficial pollinators, including bees and other insects. Within Páramo, Morón de Páramo fruits are sustainably sourced from wild shrubs by indigenous communities for beverages and sweets. One of the most popular beverages that the fruits are mixed into is known as colada morada. This dark purple-red drink is made from spices, herbs, fruits, and cornflour and is commonly consumed during Dia de Los Difuntos or Day of the Dead. Morón de Páramo can also be simmered with cinnamon and panela, a type of raw cane sugar, to create a thick and sticky, jam-like dessert.
Morón de Páramo is native to South America and has been growing wild since ancient times. The fruiting shrubs are found in a distinct ecosystem in the Andes Mountains known as the Páramo, and the region is known for its humid, high elevations, reaching above 2,500 meters. The shrubs have been spread throughout this region by animals and birds scattering the fruit’s seeds. Morón de Páramo was also foraged by indigenous peoples as a nutritious fruit. The shrub’s native range spans from Venezuela to Peru, with the most concentrated regions found in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. In Colombia, the shrubs are mostly found in the Andes Highlands but are also found in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountain range in northern Colombia. Today Morón de Páramo is a rare fruit species that has remained primarily an undomesticated plant, harvested by hand from wild shrubs. The fruits, when in season, are sold locally at fresh markets.