Jenipapo fruit is the latest craze in Brazilian restaurants because of its power to turn food blue. Brazilian chefs use it in everything, from tortillas to sourdough bread and salads, and blue is currently the trendiest color in the country’s gastronomy circles. It’s not difficult for them to do so when they have jenipapo, a sour berry native to Brazil.
Jenipapo berries can grow a lot! Some of them are the size of a kiwi, while others are more similar to melons. They have been a staple in Brazilian cuisine for a long time, but they have recently started using them for coloring other foods. “Its most widespread usage was as a dye substance, especially for body painting, to which it has been attributed magical properties in some tribes,” researcher Victor Manuel Patiño wrote in his book History and Dispersion of the Native Fruit of the Neotropic.
Unripe jenipapo is high in genipin, a substance that releases edible blue pigment in reaction with protein and amino acids. All that’s needed for this reaction is a bit of oxygen or heat, so it’s clear how many different applications it can have in cooking. What do you think about this crazy trend?