London, Jan 1 : An African fruit, which has three times the vitamin C of an orange and twice as much calcium as milk, is now available in the UK.
The baobab fruit has been revered in Africa for thousands of years for its health benefits, and now an EU ruling has enabled the fruit pulp to be imported for the first time to the UK.
British manufacturers are already starting to produce products containing it.
The fruit of the baobab tree looks like a velvety coconut on the outside and its white, powdery pulp looks like sherbet and has a cheese-like texture.
It can be blended with anything and is highly nutritious and packed with antioxidants, iron and potassium.
The shell is extremely difficult to crack so it will not be available to buy as a whole fruit in Britain but will instead be used as an ingredient.
The fruit powder has a unique, tangy taste described as "caramel pear with subtle overtones of grapefruit".
The baobab, which is also known as the upside-down tree, is cherished by African villagers who believe its spirit protects them. Only specially trained climbers are allowed up the tree to pick the fruit.
PhytoTrade Africa, the not-for-profit trade association is the only approved baobab pulp supplier in Europe.
"The availability of baobab is timely with attention on South Africa with the World Cup taking place," the Daily Express quoted chief executive Gus Le Breton as saying.
"Consumers can now get hold of it directly for the first time and we expect food manufacturers to roll out their own baobab lines from smoothies to cereal bars and confectionery as they take advantage of the booming market in healthy foods," he added.
Products already available include baobab jam and lemonade. In addition, baobab fruit powder can be bought for use in home cooking.
Baobab has not been allowed into the UK until now because legislation prevented the import of food that was not commonly consumed in the EU before 1997. (ANI)