Fruits I Never Knew Existed

Paloquemao market in Bogota

Paloquemao Market in Bogotá

Easily one of the coolest things about Colombia is the insane number of fruits and vegetables that I had never heard of before traveling here. There’s way too much unique produce to fit in one blog post, but I figured I’d share some of my favorite South American plant ovaries.

guayaba at paloquemao bogota

Guava... ok I had actually heard of this one...

So guava is not that unheard of in the US, but try finding some at the local grocery store. Also, these are sour guavas, which make a much tastier juice than their sweeter counterparts. Apparently great for plugging you up if you get the runs.

guava at paloquemao bogota

The inside of a guava... pretty in pink...

The inside definitely looks a lot more appetizing. Guava juice is a staple at corrientazo (typical food) restaurants.

tomate de arbol

Tomate de Arbol (Tree Tomato)

Tree tomatoes look kind of like football-shaped apples and (obviously) grow on trees unlike their vine-grown namesake. Normally a juice fruit, they have a tangy citrus flavor with a definite tomato aftertaste. Insane.

uchuva at paloquemao bogota

Uchuva... like cherry tomatoes but cherry-er

Uchuvas are the size and shape of a cherry tomato and have a similar taste with a lot more fruity tartness. They make a great salad topper and can be substituted for tomatoes in a savory red wine sauce that tastes unbelievable with steak.

pithaya dragon fruit in bogota

Pithaya (Dragon Fruit)... costs less that $10 per lb.

Dragon fruit is making its way slowly but surely to the US albeit at outrageous prices. The bizarre looking fruit grows on a cactus and has a soft, sweet inside.

pithaya at paloquemao bogota

Inside of a dragon fruit is pretty dern tasty...

The light sweetness most closely resembles a watermelon and, unlike guava, dragon fruit is a powerful natural laxative.

curuba at paloquemao

Curubas make delicious juice...

One of my favorite juices, curuba is frothy, sweet and sour. It tastes like a toned down Sweetart. What’s not to love about that?

Lulo at paloquemao bogota

Lulos look like oranges... but the similarity ends there...

Lulo, a formidable fruit that grows covered in spiky hair on a thorny tree with leaves that look like bat wings, tastes like a sweet, foamy citrus fruit and is usually made into juice.

passion fruit paloquemao bogota

Maracuya (Passion Fruit)... not just a made-up flavor...

There are plenty passion fruit flavored things in the US, but I tended to assume that there was no such thing as an actual passion fruit. Well there is. And it’s delicious in cocktails like margaritas, mojitos, or the Colombian speciality calentazo- a hot cinnamon drink spiked with licorice-flavored aguardiente.

guanabana at paloquemao bogota

Guanabana is one of my favorite juices...

Giant, green, and covered with horns, guanabana makes a very tasty drink. The pulp is creamy and mild, with almost a coconut flavor. Blend it together with milk and sugar for one heck of a milkshake.


Chirimoya is guanabana's little brother/sister...

Chirimoya is basically a tinier version of guanabana that makes a tasty snack. Crack it open and suck the creamy pulp off of the oblong black seeds. That’s what she said?…

zapote at paloquemao bogota

Zapote is not a looker from the outside...

Underneath the unassuming brown exterior, zapote is a bright orange, pumpkin-like fruit with sweet pulp surrounding wedge-shaped seeds. The taste is a mix between pumpkin pie and mango… hard to describe.

granadilla at paloquemao bogota

Granadilla... little grenades...

Crack open a granadilla by smashing it on a hard surface and then suck out the slimy, tangy seeds. It’s a little like a pomegranate.

So I think that’s it for now but, as evidenced by the fact that I discovered at least one new fruit today that I had still never heard of, I’m sure there will be more interesting produce for the future…


1 thought on “Fruits I Never Knew Existed

  1. fred!

    I miss all of those fruits from Ecuador, loved them all as well, especially chirimoyas. never did see/try lulos or curubas, and i think they called uchuva uvitas. how is everything? hope its going great!


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