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.
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.
The inside definitely looks a lot more appetizing. Guava juice is a staple at corrientazo (typical food) restaurants.
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.
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.
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.
The light sweetness most closely resembles a watermelon and, unlike guava, dragon fruit is a powerful natural laxative.
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, 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.
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.
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 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?…
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.
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…