Posted on | March 11, 2011 | 2 Comments
Yesterday, I listed out some of Peru’s favorite fruits. Today, I’m going to continue the list because, dog gone it, there’s just a LOT of fruit here!
And by the way – I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression. All these fruits that may seem quite exotic to people who live outside of Latin America aren’t the ONLY fruits available here. We have all the “regular” fruits too – apples, peaches, pears, oranges, strawberries. As a native Floridian, I’m a little disappointed in the variety of oranges, but we do have delicious mandarin oranges and navel oranges available which have always been my favorites. I’d love to get a good honey bell once in a while, though!
Anyway – back to the fruit!
Mango – Mango is a very popular fruit here, you can find it in just about any market or grocery store. It’s usually multicolored on the outside with splotches of yellow, orange and red. The inside is a pretty golden color and is very juicy and sweet. Mango is originally from the Indian subcontinent, but is grown in Peru around Piura, Lambayeque and Ica. The Kent and Haden varieties are the most commonly found here. It’s great for eating fresh and is also used in frozen treats and juices. (Top photo)
Chirimoya – This is a fruit native to the Andean valleys of Peru and Ecuador and has been cultivated in the area for thousands of years. It’s called custard-apple in English. It has a thin green peel with a sweet and juicy white flesh. Generally eaten fresh, but it’s also used for a very popular juice. You can find it in cakes, ice creams and other frozen treats.
Papaya – Originally from Latin America (southern Mexico to S. America), papaya is now grown in most tropical areas of the world. Similar in color to the mango, with a yellow-orange flesh.
The flesh is sweet and juicy, and the middle of the fruit is filled with seeds. Papaya was eaten by pre-Incan societies in Peru and is even portrayed in artwork of the Moche people. It’s generally eaten fresh – my kids like it sprinkled with a little sugar – and in fruit salads, juices and marmalades.
There’s also a papaya arequipena, which is often called the mountain pawpaw in English. It is very similar to the regular papaya. Papaya from Hawaii is also commonly found in supermarkets here.
Guanabana – Related to the chirimoya (see above), guanabana has a more acidic flavor than the chirimoya which is how it got it’s English name “soursop”. It’s been said to taste like a combination of strawberry and pineapple with a touch of citric. It’s eaten raw or in frozen treats and candies as well as juices.
Platano de la isla – This is a particularly popular type of plantain that has orange colored, aromatic flesh with a mild, sweet flavor. It’s eaten raw or cooked – it’s very good for frying. It’s often used for babies, and is considered good for the digestion. In appearance, it’s stubbier and fatter than the typical banana. It also has a more “angular” shape – not as rounded.
Tuna – Known in English as the prickly pear, the tuna is the fruit of a cactus plant. The fruit has a slightly thick skin with fin spines. It comes in red and green colors, with the interior flesh matching the outside skin. The pulp is juicy and full of seeds. It’s peeled and eaten as is or served in salads, juices, sorbets and marmalades. The juice can also be made into a liqueur.
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