My weakness as a child was always fruits. My grandparents lived completely off the land, (raising large families they had to be quite self-sufficient 😉 ) and I grew up in a house with no processed foods, refined sugars, and no preservatives. My whole family loved fruits when I was growing up, so I was exposed to so many wonderful fruits and vegetables as a child. There are a couple exceptions though. My mother used to make green peppers stuffed with rice. I could not stand green peppers. When she was preparing them, I swear I could smell them a block away. And then at some point, around age sixteen, I shifted into full culinary-exploration mode. Now, there’s nothing I won’t eat. I miss my Grandparents! They valued what they had and were very dedicated to preserving it for the next generation. I loved them dearly and I miss them so terribly. 😦 (Ahh… *sob*…*sob*).
That being said, here are my ten favorite yummiest fruits.
Visit Dragon Fruit – Sweet Lord! I love the name of this fruit. The red-fleshed variety (Costa Rica Pitahaya), is generally sweet with a mild acid bite with a characteristic wine-red color. This exotic fruit is a most unusual-looking fruit. On the outside is bright pink with red and green flame-like growths. But cut it open and the appearance is totally unexpected! When you cut through the flesh you find purple flesh dotted with small black seeds which look like black sesame seeds. This fruit is loaded with fiber and vitamin C, as well as other important nutrients. Eating it is simple. In fact you don’t eat the skin of the fruit; just the flesh from inside. Just slice the fruit into slices and then peel off the skin. You will find that it peels off very easily. Just cut it into halves and eat the kiwi-like flesh with a spoon.
Visit Mamoncillo – Okay, this is an amazing fruit that is not widely known in the United States. They are called Quenepas or Mamones. This fruit brings so many memories of my childhood growing up years. (Although use of the word is considered to be obscene in some Spanish-speaking countries) This mind-blowing fruit has a thin, but some¬what stiff outer skin. Inside the skin is a delicious sweet and tart flavor with a velvety texture which surrounds a large pit. I ate them one by one until I was successfully sick. To eat, bite into the center of the fruit just softly enough to make a rip on the peel and reveal the pulp within. You can occasionally find them in local Bodegas or Asian markets.
Visit Jicama – If you’ve never tried Jicama, you must!! This is one of the fruits I missed (and still do, to some extent) since my family moved to America years ago. The best way I know to describe it is a crispy, sweet, edible root that resembles a big potato in physical appearance. This succulent fruit is starting to gain a foothold in the United States and makes regular appearances in many Mexican and Asian dishes. Jicama is a great source of vitamin C and is fat free. I love this fruit, because tastes good, satisfies my hunger for quite awhile, and is good for me. I have it for lunch at least two times per week. To eat it, just peel off the light brown skin, slice it up, cut it into smaller pieces, dowse it with lime juice, and sprinkle it liberally with a chili powder. Jicama is so versatile that you can use it in a number of ways; or just enjoy it the way I do!
Visit Pineapple – I have fond memories of my Grandmother’s pineapple banana cake. She knew pineapple and banana was hands-down my favorite combination and she always made sure to have one cake in the fridge. Pineapple is a very nutritious fruit. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and enzymes. Ripe pineapple is exceedingly juicy and has a tangy sweet-tart flavor. My favorite way to eat pineapple (besides plain) is in a big smoothie with a lots of baby spinach. It’s one of the easiest ways of increasing your fruit and veggie intake. Omg… It’ so GOOD………and……… HEALTHY!!
Visit Guava – Guava is a fruit that is like the shape of pear, with green rind and pinkish or white flesh and small seeds. When ripe, it is soft but don’t wait till it over-ripes, it will be mushy. The taste is sweet with a strong musky odor, which some people may dislike it. Don’t peel them; just remove the seeds, because an extremely high concentration of vitamins A, B and C are found in the skin. I grew up in a country that grows guavas with large stone hard seeds. So I would not dare to tell any constipated soul to eat the seeds. There must be about 100 seeds in each one, and do not try to grind them down between your molars, that’s a fine way to require repairs to your thooths. Trust me, you will be hooked. It’s absolutely delicious!
Visit Lulo – In Costa Rica it grows all over the place, with many different temperatures. It sprouts up along the roadsides. Lulo fruit has a citrus flavor which can best be described as being a combination of pineapple and lime. The fruit is orange and has a smooth skin, similar to a persimmon, but when you cut it open, it reveals a center with a combination of liquid and seeds, like an orangey- greenish tomato. Thought the fruit is slightly acidic, in drinks is very refreshing and light. It is high in calcium, phosphorus, niacin and vitamin C. I buy the frozen Lulo pulp–very cheap, about two dollars for a frozen bag at the Tradefair Supermarkets. This drink is powerfully nutritious as well as great tasting, and goes great on those hot summer days.
Visit Cape gooseberry – Another wonderful summer fruit is Cape gooseberry aka Uchuvas. This fantastic super fruit is a relative newcomer to the United States. At the moment, you’ll find it mostly in dried form as an ingredient in healthy, nutrition bars and fruit mixes. Uchuva fruit is the size of a cherry tomato; the inner berry is covered with a latern-like hood which should not be eaten. It has a unique, sweet-tangy flavor that’s great on its own or mixed with other fruits. My grandmother used to make frozen fruit juice ice pops with ripe Uchuvas, we called them “bolis”. One of the reasons I like Uchuvas is due to its high vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorous content. I miss eating the cute sweet fruits under our big mango tree. 😦
Visit Mamey – Okay, this is one of a kind rare and exotic fruit (actually berry) that is often confused with Sapote (Pouteria sapota). Many people assume that this is a fruit, but Mamey Apple is considered a berry instead. On the outside the Mamey feels rough but on the inside it is usually yellow or orange, and its texture can be juicy, crispy or tender. The taste is kind of sweet similar to apricots. The pulp has protein, fiber, calcium, iron, Vitamin A and B. When I was a little girl, Mamey tied Sapote for first place in my favorite fruit category. I remember that my Grandpa would go to the store and buy my sister and I (me) huge bags of sliced Mamey top it with salt, lemon and a little bit of aiguaste (sorry I’m not sure of the spelling, but anyway it’s made with toasted pumking seeds…pure heaven!)
Visit Granadilla – Of all the tropical fruits I love, none remind me so forcibly of home as granadilla. They look similar to the yellow passion fruit as they are under the same family. Granadilla is shaped like an egg with a thick, orange outer skin, which becomes dull and wrinkled as it ripens. Inside, the pulp is yellowish-orange, with a citrus-like aroma, sweet-sour taste, fairly high sweet water content with many edible, black seeds covered in jelly-like pulp. It provides you with vitamins A, C and K together with calcium, iron and phosphorus. My grandparents used to have a huge granadilla vines on their land. And when they were in season, I used to just pick them out of the garden. I miss watching the Granadillas ripen on the vine.
Visit Papaya – The yummiest of all…the sweet papaya!! In retrospect, perhaps one of the most scrumptious fruits that I have ever taste was the sweetest granadillas! This delicious exotic fruit tastes wonderful on a hot summer’s day, chilled and cut it in cubes. It has a soft, creamy consistency and is quite sweet. Although many people cannot stand the smell of it…I just love it! Grandma used to peeled it and cut it up into chunks that she frosted to have on-hand for a super delish thick and frosty batidas de leche (papaya milkshakes). Papayas are also a very good source of beta carotene which protects the cells from free radical damage and provides a source of vitamin A. What else can you ask for?
That’s all I can think of for the moment, but I know there are MORE memories. Thanks for reading!
Have a super wonderful weekend, everyone!