Tasting the local fruit was one of the things I was absolutely most looking forward to in Colombia. I have always loved fruit, yet here my fruit passion has almost reached insanity levels. The first time I went to the market I bumped into so much sparkling color fruit I had never seen before. Maracuyá, Gulupa, Uchuva, Zapote, Pitaya Mangostino , Borojó, Curuba…
I had to taste it all. Now that I did, here my ultimate guide across my five favorite types of Colombian fruit:
Lulos are small, round, orange-like fruits. When cut open, its greenish pulp appears as four distinct membranes of a jelly-like consistency and small, yellow seeds. It comes from a tropical perennial plant from northeastern Colombia, although it is also cultivated and eaten in Ecuador, Costa RIca and Panama. The flavour is very hard to describe: it’s slightly sweet but with an acidic aftertaste, and with notes of kiwi. It is normally used to make juice, but I tend to eat it raw, in a fruit salad with mango and banana. Delicious combination.
The core element of my everyday breakfast.
Although it is said that papaya may be born from the fusion of two or more species of Carica native to Mexico and Central America, its origin is still quite obscure. It has a sweet flavor and a creamy, butter-like texture which makes the fruit literally melt in your mouth.
I didn’t know but wikipedia taught me that Papaya plants grow in three sexes: male, female, and hermaphrodite. The male produces pollen only. The female generates small fruit-, inedible unless pollinated. The hermaphrodite can self-pollinate since its flowers contain both male stamens and female ovaries. It seems that what I’m eating during breakfast is almost always hermaphrodite papaya, as all commercial papaya orchards contain only hermaphrodites.
- Passion fruit
Passion fruit (otherwise known as maracuya) is a highly nutritious fruit native from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Around 1700, the name Passion Fruit (latin name passiflora) was given by missionaries in Brazil as an educational aid while trying to convert the indigenous groups to Christianity.
Maracuya encompasses several varieties, such as the yellow or golden and the dark purple passion fruit. It has a fresh, intense, sweet yet slightly tart taste and a viscous texture. Its pulp surrounds small seeds that are inside a strong shell that protects them and allows them to grow. It has digestive, diuretic and healing properties.
It’s immensely beautiful appearance is to me, one of the most stunning work of Pachamama. Pitahaya is the fruit of several different cactus species indigenous to the Americas. Its yellow exterior with tips from which some thorns come out contrasts with its white, soft and delicate interior. Cutting it open, you will discover its white and black seeds. The texture is juicy and the flavour reminds me of the kiwi but its delicate taste, combined with its sweet and acid contrast leads to a completely new experience.
- Tree tomato
The tree tomato is a plant native to America, belonging to the Solanaceae family and growing from 1,500 to 2,400 meters above the sea level. It may remind you of a tomato, in its shape and color – and its name. Yet, it tastes more like a plum to me. Its soft texture, orange/yellow color and small size are very striking, in addition to its acid flavour and small seeds that can be chewed. I normally eat it in my dinner vegetarian salad, with tofu, carrots, avocado, onions and tomatoes – the “real” ones.