Posted by: adventuressetravels | October 16, 2010

The Fruits of the Season

I love fruit and absolutely adore discovering new taste sensations. I knew that there would be a different selection of fruits in South America but I had taken it for granted that back home you could find most of these in specialty supermarkets. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Colombia was a fruit-lovers’ heaven. Huge fruit markets offered a spectrum of fruits I had never even heard of.  Fairly bursting with flavor even the fruits I was familiar with surprised me with their intense flavor. These delectable versions of mangos, bananas, oranges and guavas only bore the vaguest resemblance to the genetically engineered greenhouse varieties found in US supermarkets. I could almost live on the fruits of Colombia.  Just to whet your appetite, I want to share my ten most interesting discoveries from this Mecca of fruits.

 

10. Borojó – Commonly used to make smoothies or a thick almost black uniquely flavorful tangy jam. I never did get to try fruit fresh.  Apparently the borojó  is extremely healthy, containing vitamins, amino acids, phosphorous and proteins, not to mention supposedly healing and are said to have many healing and aphrodisiac qualities. It is more common in tropical areas like Colombia’s Pacific Coast.

9.  Pytaya –  When I first tried a pitaya I loved it. The fruit grows on cactus and is an excellent digestive aid, or so I was told.  The light, almost kiwi-like flavor and meaty texture, with the delightfully crunchy seeds, seemed strangely familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Suddenly it hit me; dragonfruit!  That’s what it reminded me of. To my amusement, when I looked it up on the internet, it seems the pitaya and Asian dragon fruit are one and the same. Apparently the larger, hot-pink variety I knew is merely a different type from the yellow fruits in Colombia.

8.   Guanabana (soursop) –

On the exterior this hugely popular fruit looks something like a spiky watermelon.  When cut open, the interior is meaty white flesh with large black seeds and is frequently sold separately. When pureed, the fruit has an almost creamy texture and guanabana smoothies taste similar to a rich vanilla milk shake; Colombians love them.  They are one of the more popular smoothies in Colombia.

7.  Madnono – A small greenish-yellow fruit resembling a lychee.  With a thick lumpy exterior, the skin is easy to peel off and reveals clear translucent flesh. Be careful not to bite directly into the fruit, because a large, rock-hard, light-brown seed lies at its center.  The fruit has a soft texture and a taste slightly reminiscent to a Granny Smith apple.

6.  Granadilla – This teardrop shaped orange fruit has a hard, thin outer layer. After cracking through it, one peels through the thick inner layer of soft white pith to reveal the gelatinous interior.  With each small (edible) seed encased in a clear gelatinous pulp sack it has a delicate sweet flavor. The juice is given to children to calm their upset stomachs.  There is a variety of this fruit with a stronger, more delicious flavor only found around Popayan, Colombia.

Uchuva

5.  Uchuva – Small, extremely tart and slightly bitter, each berry grows in a papery pod or husk.  The light yellow-orange fruit is also called a ground cherry, golden berry, or cape gooseberry.  In Colombia they are often sold dried and are frequently used in salads. Though the uchuva gets slightly sweeter as it ripens, the taste is still enough to pucker the mouth.

Mamoncillo4.  Mamoncillo – This delicious juicy little green fruit looks something like a cross between a lime and the Asian longan fruit.  When you peel the hard green rind away from the translucent light pink flesh, it looks a lot like longan fruit.  Be careful and do not bite directly into this fruit.  The sweet tart flesh clings tenaciously to a large hard white seed and you need to chew it off. The seeds can also be roasted, cracked open and eaten, but I have not had a chance to try that yet.

3.  Chantaduro – One of the most unique fruits I have ever encountered, it is not what one would expect from a fruit at all. With a texture similar to a dry squash, the fruit is commonly served with salt, and occasionally with salt, honey, and lime juice.  It is a member of the palm family and is reputed to be great for energy and health.  But remember that this fruit is not your average fruit and don’t give up after the first bite (as people are often startled by the flavor). The flavor of this plum-sized fruit really grows on you, in fact you may begin to crave chantaduros.

Tomate de Arbol2.  Tomate de Arbol (tree tomato or tamarillo) is a delicious fruit with a completely unique flavor.  Tart, but with a slight aftertaste with lower notes not generally found in fruit.  Whether it is the flavor or the texture, something about it just make you want more of the meaty flesh.  The fruit has a slightly tear-dropped shape and can be red, yellow, but most commonly appears like a greenish unripe tomato and is about the size of a small plum.  The interior has a light orange color and has a thick, meaty texture.  It can be eaten raw (but don’t eat the thin tough skin), as a dessert, marmalade but it is most commonly used as a juice. Pureed with water and a bit of sugar, it is fantastic as a thick smoothie-like juice.

Lulo

Lulo

1. Lulo (naranjilla) – The first time I tried lulo (also known as naranjilla) juice, I was certain that the taste was manufactured.  I was drinking a sweet tart candy!  When ripe, the exterior of the fruit looks much like a persimmon, however the similarities end there.  The fruit holds a bright green interior with small seeds.

Lulo is almost certainly my favorite fruit discovery.   Its bold tart flavor practically explodes in your mouth.  With a bright zing all its own, lulo is truly a fruit that one must experience for oneself. It makes delicious green smoothies, delectable sorbets and to this day I daydream of marketing it worldwide.

If you can find them I highly recommend trying any or all of these fruits.  Your taste buds will thank you!

 

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Responses

  1. Someday, I will eat each of these. Keep the edibles updates coming.

  2. i’m happy for this article
    my favorite fruit is lulo
    i miss my country when i travel to mexico because the variety of fruits was pour

    you can find fruits everywhere you go
    every tree can be a delicious experience

    by the way
    if you don’t understand me
    i invite you to my country
    Colmbia


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