With over 70 fruits growing in Colombia, a walk through any market in the country can be an adventure in itself. Here are the answers to The Wild World of Colombian Fruits: Part 2:
This acidic Amazonian fruit is second in the world in vitamin C content and is thought to possess other health benefits. It’s eaten by popping open the soft shell with your teeth and sucking the pulp off the seed. It tastes best in a juice or by eating it with a little salt.
#2: Pitahaya (dragon fruit)
Pitahaya is a cactus fruit native to Mexico but is heavily cultivated in Asia and Central America. There are three different versions. The one pictured is pitahaya amarilla (yellow dragon fruit), but there are red versions as well. It has a mildly sweet taste and is said to be good for digestion. It’s consumed by cutting it in half and eating it with a spoon.
#3: Aguacate (avocado)
Avocados are one of the most important and most valuable fruits in the world. They’re originally from Mexico but now several versions are cultivated all over the world. The biggest avocados I’ve seen are in Colombia, but the popular and tasty Hass avocados are also cultivated here. Avocados have rich nutritional value, high in B vitamins and vitamin K, and have a diverse composition of fats. It’s said that a diet with a higher consumption of avocados can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and increase HDL (good cholesterol).
#4: Guanábana (soursop)
At first glance, this gigantic fruit looks like something from outer space. Guanábana is native to northern South America, Central America, and Mexico, but is cultivated in southeast Asia and Africa as well. In Colombia, it’s often used in fruit juices (more commonly in milk) and ice creams. The flavor is sour and slightly creamy. It has a high content of vitamin C, and vitamins B1 and B2.
Papaya is native to Colombia and Central America, but is now cultivated in just about every country with a tropical climate. The smell can be unpleasant to some people. It’s said to aid digestion and is a great source of vitamin C. The seeds are usually not eaten but they can be. They have a spicy flavor to them.
#6: Maracuyá (passionfruit)
The most common type of passionfruit in Colombia is the popular maracuyá. It’s a favorite in juices and ice creams, but can be eating by spooning out the jelly-covered seeds. It’s a natural sedative, is thought to be good for digestion, and is also very high in vitamin C.
Native to southern Asia, the mango is now widely cultivated in Colombia. It contains a significant amount of vitamin C. Mangos are commonly consumed in juices, both in milk and water. They’re also cut into strips and sprinkled with salt and lime juice, making for a refreshing treat for Colombia’s tropical climate. There are different versions of mango, such as the tiny mango criollo shown below. The mango criollo can be eaten without removing the skin.
#8: Higo (prickly pear, cactus fruit)
Higos are a version of cactus fruit high in vitamin C and fiber. They’re native to Mexico but also cultivated in South America, the Mediterranean, and Middle East. They have a sweet taste with very hard seeds.
#9: Curuba (banana passionfruit)
Curuba is a small, banana-shaped passionfruit very high in antioxidants. They’re eaten raw or in a juice. The fruit is native to the Andes Mountains and has a sweet and slightly acidic flavor.
Sapote is native to the Amazon rainforest with other variations native to Mexico and Central America. Also known as chupa-chupa, the fruit is cracked open to reveal an orange fibery flesh. It’s eaten by sucking the flesh off the seeds inside and peeling the rest of it out of the shell. It’s available in Colombia near the end of August and September.