A must-do on any trip to Colombia is a stroll around a local market to peruse the vast array of weird and wonderful locally grown fruits. Of course, there are the tropical bananas, pineapples, papayas and watermelons that we have become accustomed to at home but look a little closer and there are some very unusual fruits on offer. It is highly likely that there will be a dozen incredible fruits in season that you have never laid eyes on before. It’s certainly a memorable and sensory experience to walk through the fruit section amid all the unusual scents, shapes and colours! Exotic fruits are extremely plentiful, delicious and oh so cheap in Colombia. We highly recommend that you take the time to try as many fruits as possible on your visit to Colombia.
In our first blog dedicated to tropical produce we will showcase 5 of Colombia’s many exotic fruits.
This fruit belongs to the passion fruit family and is roughly the size of an apple with a round, freckled-orange appearance. Breaking open the hard shell of a granadilla is easily done with your hands and once you’re through the outer shell there is a layer of pith. The fruit contains black edible seeds covered by a transparent or yellow jelly-like pulp. This refreshing and juicy fruit can be eaten straight away and has a sweet sugary flavour. You’ll find this fruit available all year round. We recommend that you select the heaviest fruits as they contain the most fruit pulp. One granadilla costs on average $800 pesos each (£0.20p/US$0.30c).
These strange looking fruits are commonly known in English as ‘dragon fruit’ named after their scaly red cousin found in Asia. The pitaya is the fruit of a species of cactus and has thick, leathery, scaly skin, sometimes even with a few thorns. The yellow-skinned fruit which has a white flesh filling with small edible black seeds can be eaten at any time and is an excellent natural laxative – so don’t eat it in large quantities! It has an intense aroma and its pulp is very refreshing and sweet, the taste could be likened to grape or lychee – plus it is low in calories. How to eat it? Slice it in half and then scoop out the pulp. It can be eaten right away. This fruit is a little more expensive than the rest and costs $1600 pesos (£0.40p / $0.65c).
The feijoa is an egg-sized oval shaped fruit with smooth dark green skin. When you cut into a feijoa, you will see thick, juicy flesh that is either light yellow or white in colour with lots of small edible seeds present within the flesh. The feijoa fruit is well known for its fragrant and long-lasting aroma with tropical overtones including pineapple, mint and guava. The fruit is native to South America and was named after a Brazilian botanist, Joam da Silva Feijo. In English, the feijoa fruit is known as the Guavasteen. Feijoa is mainly grown around the village of Tibasosa in the department of Boyacá, central Colombia. If you ever venture to the picturesque main plaza there you will find shops selling everything made from feijoa including an eggnog called “sabajón” to feijoa flavoured ice cream, cakes, biscuits and candies. The whole economy of the town is based on the success of the fruit! One feijoa fruit costs around COP$400 (£0.10p/US$0.15c).
Zapote is a fruit that grows in the Colombian jungle regions and in particular, the department of Amazonas. The zapote fruit has a thick, leathery and downy skin and is usually brown or green on the outside. The soft and juicy flesh is orange-yellow and it has a creamy, nutty flavour. Inside there are some large inedible seeds. The fruit tastes a little like papaya or mango but far less sweet. This is a fruit that has always been eaten out-of-hand. Keep a napkin and some floss handy! Each zapote weighs in at around 400-800 grams and costs about $1000 pesos (£0.25p / US$0.40c).
The sugar mango is a small Colombian fruit with much lower fiber content than a normal mango. The small mango azucar is yellow and sweet with a thin edible skin. You could describe the mango azucar as having the texture of a nectarine but with the taste of a mango. Grown mainly in the northern region of Colombia, near the Atlantic Coast, cultivation has spread to the departments of Cundinamarca, Tolima and Huila. One mango azucar costs roughly COP$850 (£0.22p / US$0.35c) but you might want to buy half a dozen.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article about Colombia’s delicious tropical fruits! There are so many fruits in Colombia that we couldn’t fit them all into one blog… so we’ll be back again soon with some more interesting and exotic fruits. In the meantime, why don’t you let us know which of these 5 fruits you would like to try the most.
The Uncover Colombia Team