100 Fruits in Colombia

12045302_10153648238159618_515981556999707268_oAs I mentioned, I planned to try 100 new (to me) fruits while in Colombia. Here they are.

Uchuva (cape gooseberry/yellow berry): These cherry-sized yellow fruit inside a paper cover (they look like small yellow tomatillos) have an aroma that I can’t describe (a subtle tomato-ish aroma), are slightly sour, and have a tomato-like texture. img_3630

Lulo: This fruit is unique to this part of the world (grows in Ecuador and Peru as well). The Colombians have really made it part of their daily juice selection (fresh juice is a part of daily life here). The lulo looks like a tomato but is super sour so only used for juice. The juice is greenish in color even though the fruit is orange. img_6600

Pitaya (yellow dragon fruit): This fruit could change the world. I call it the “110-minute fruit”… as in, you know where you will be 110 minutes after you’ve eaten it. I like to scoop out the insides sort of like eating a kiwi. It is part of the cactus family. img_6597

Maracuya (passion fruit): When I went on the fruit tour, I learned that the passion fruit sold in the U.S. is the brown version created by mixing a “mom” and a “dad” fruit. In the photo, the big round greenish one on the right is the “mom” and the long narrow one on the left is the “dad” (called a “caruba”) and the one in the center is the one I think of as a passion fruit.img_7999

Tree tomato: I tried three different kinds of tree tomato in Colombia. They don’t have much flavor and look like long narrow tomatoes. img_6599

Chirimoya (custard apple): This green pear shaped fruit that looks a bit like an artichoke is a surprise. 10421300_10153347353934618_6551906275350936819_n1

Kumquat: Looks like a grape-sized orange. Supposedly you can eat it, rind and all. I find it very bitter.

Papayuela. The only fruit that must be boiled with sugar before consumption.905967_10153648165584618_2113259764934613346_o1

Orange: The oranges used for Colombia are often green on the outside and orange on the inside. And sweet.10295299_10153154808029618_6497864187278336944_o10649655_10152941158444618_304262838288101202_n

Mandarin: I mention these because the juice is great. Most of the mandarins I tried in Colombia were in juice form. When I would go to my favorite market, Paloquemao, the vendors would often give me a free mandarin. I appreciate the freebie but really I don’t like the mandarins because they are too papery and fibrous. But, great as juice! And so incredibly orange colored (the green juice in the back is feijoa – mentioned later)!10295925_10153141348034618_1238038620572353122_o

Zapote: Baseball size and dirt-colored. Inside is the texture of a pumpkin and it is bright orange. This is just one of the fruits you can try on the fruit tour in Bogota. img_7981

Obos: It looks like an olive and one chews around the hard seed inside. It seems like a lot of work for what you get.

Mamoncillo: Little round hard fruit a bit like lychee but without the same aroma.img_0606

Curuba zanahoria: The fruit from a palm tree. It’s a bit like a pumpkin. It needs salt, sugar, and lime juice… is it worth it?img_14371

Feijoa (pineapple guava/guavasteen): It tastes like kiwi with a soapy aroma. Not so good for those who don’t like cilantro. Used mostly for juice. Named for a Brazilian explorer.img_7994

Guayaba araca (wild acidic guava): These are yellowish and the size of an apple. The aroma of these led me to them in the produce section. Inside the flesh is pale custard color with flesh like a peach. But, they are super sour. Once I read about it, I found out that it needs to have sugar added and it needs to be diluted to 1 part juice to 10 parts water.

Granadilla: This was the go-to fruit for Colombian school kids because this is a sturdy fruit (and apparently the kids would smash it against their forehead to crack it open). 12109738_10153648238154618_4031459241144594892_o

Guamas: looks like a mega green bean pod but you just eat the inside white fluff that surrounds the beans.fullsizerender62

Carambola (starfruit): You have seen them on many a cocktail. I assume.

Papaya: This is a meat tenderizer and the Colombians eat this for breakfast — like they are trying to tenderize the night.

Pepino melon: a long attractive melon. photo53

Agraz (blackberries, but like a small bitter acai): This small berries are so bitter that they must be good for your health. 11223961_10153648176094618_8871581844640326146_o

Higos: The fruit of the cactus fruit. img_1512

Cashew fruit: The fruit of the cashew tree is great if you can get it. The nut hangs off the end of the fruit. It’s much better as a juice. img_1477

Mango: There are many sorts of mangoes. Colombia has the larger reddish kind.

Mangosteeno (mangosteen): Not from Colombia but they are very proud to grow them here. This is my favorite fruit.img_9791

Piñuela: This was a small shallot-shaped fruit. To eat it, one peels the leaves it like a banana. Inside is a white floss around a large black seed. Eat the floss. 11703215_10153432786054618_6224118621775175662_n

Yacon: I first heard of this in the U.S. as it was being used in dried form as a diet tea. It’s sold on the streets of Bogota. On the outside, this fruit looks like a dirty potato. On the inside, it looks like a pear. Sort of. 11428034_10153347356384618_6703100946318414907_n

Plantain: It is a fruit. It’s eaten like a starch. It is. But, it looks like a banana. A word about bananas in Colombia. Most of them are spotty. There are many different kinds. If you want unblemished Dole bananas, you need to buy “export” bananas. And good luck finding them. 10629567_10152764664629618_2203745753734451276_n

Breva: This fruit looked like a styrofoam. I had lots of discussions with my Colombian colleagues about what it’s actually called. I believe it has to be boiled with sugar for ten hours.11893871_10153648327319618_3449185676384618469_o

Noni: And then there were these “noni”… so ugly. Apparently, they also have to be boiled for 24 hours with sugar. I couldn’t find anyone who had ever had these.


Actually, the rarest fruit to find in Colombia are lemons.

While researching the names of the fruits, I found this photo contest. It’s amazing to see what fruits are out there for us to try: Some links to other fruit adventurers: A blog about all kinds of things.

I did not find 100 new fruits to try, but these are a sample of the ones that I tried. Many of the new fruits were variations of other fruits. And frankly, a lot of the fruits were not very tasty and had to be boiled with sugar for 24 hours to be edible… stick with the pitaya, lulo juice, and mangosteeno.


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