3 Tropically Exotic South American Fruits

Tropical destinations remind me that everything grown isn’t exported.  There are more fruits than us four seasons dwellers know of.

Although those of us that don’t live in tropical zones can get imported coconut, mango, papaya and pineapple, there are other delectable fruits that we don’t come across.

Many say that fruit is the single best type of food you can eat.  Our bodies crave and love it.  I try to eat multiple servings per day.

While it’s easier when I’m situated in one place for a bit, I still manage  on the road, especially in the tropics.  There, I can’t help but notice fruit all over the place.

While traveling in South America’s tropical north, I was fortunate to try some fruit that was new to me.  I’d like to share three that I consumed on a regular basis.

ChirimoyaChirimoya has many segments of skin.  It’s generally unattractive and lumpy on the outside.

You don’t have to use a knife, you can easily peel it open with your hands.  Either way, on the inside you’ll find sweet, wet, white fruit.  You’ll need to spit out solid black pits after most bites but it’s well worth it.

This fruit is the sweetest I’ve ever tasted.  The flavor makes me think of a piña colada.  It tastes like pineapple and coconut simultaneously.

Chirimoya is currently my favorite fruit on the planet.

I was introduced to this fruit by a mostly fruitarian friend in Lima.

HEALTH BENEFITS:  According to nutrition-and-you.com, chirimoya is anti cancerous, anti malarial and calming.  It helps to control blood pressure, heart rate and relieves and prevents headaches.

GranadillaGranadilla is often dirty and spotty looking on the outside.

On the inside you find crunchy seeds embedded in fresh and natural gelatin.  It’s very easy to open and eat.  Scoop up the yummy goodness with a spoon and enjoy.

I can easily eat three or four in a sitting.

I was first introduced to granadilla in a hostel in Colombia.  I then feasted on it for months in Ecuador and Perú.

HEALTH BENEFITS:   According to Health-9.com, granadilla is calming, cleansing and helps to heal ulcers.  It combats inflammation of the eyes, throat and bladder.

ZapoteOn the outside zapote looks weathered and beat up.

Once you’re finished cutting open the zapote with a knife, you have a fleshy, orange work of wonder.  You have to eat around some big pits, but it’s well worth it for the juiciness and sweet flavor.  Four people can easily share one.

Caveat: It’s very stringy so you’ll need to do some serious flossing.  There will be little fibrous threads stuck between many of your teeth.

I first tried zapote when a friend in Ecuador turned me on to it.  For weeks after that, I surprised guesthouse owners and workers as they’d often say something to the extent of:

I never see gringos eating zapote.  I’m glad that you like it.”

HEALTH BENEFITS: According to 101healthyrecipes.com, Zapote helps eyesight, induces healthy skin and helps to prevent lung disease.  It’s anti diarrheal, anti bacterial and boosts the immune system.

One great thing about traveling is the new food we come across.  I currently don’t have access to the above fruit.  However, I look forward to therapeutically indulging in it again, and keeping my body happy.

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 What’s the most exotic fruit you’ve had?  Feel free to leave a comment.


10 responses to this post.

  1. Chirimoya looks similar to Indian custard apple from inside. I don’t know the other two, even with different names. They seem so delicious!


  2. Posted by Mike on July 28, 2012 at 12:27

    When I visited Ecuador last October, I was thoroughly enchanted with their offerrings of fruit and vegetables. I couldn’t believe how economical they were. We bought a large bag of items at the local market and tried all of the new items, like you discussed above. Most were very tasty! “Safe Travels” !!!


    • MIKE: Thanks! Great that you guys were able to shop at the local market and explore new food. That’s one aspect of travel that I wholeheartedly enjoy.


  3. Yum, looks delicious…reminds me of when I was in Lima eating a fruit they call tuna (not the tuna fish that we know, they call that atun [sp?] [pronounced a-toon]. It reminded me of a cactus pear I’ve seen here in SE Massachusetts.


    • SEAN: Tuna in Spanish is atun yes. However, in South America, the fruit tuna translates to jackfruit in English I think. Maybe it translates to cactus pear too. It’s another popular fruit that I tried in Peru. There they have at least two varieties tuna roja, red and tuna verde, green.


  4. Posted by Clarissa on July 26, 2012 at 01:02

    These fruits look really awesome I have tried many exotic fruits in India like custard apple, litchis and they are really good in taste. Would love to try these too….


    • CLARISSA: You’d think these fruits would be in Asian lands too, just with very different names. I don’t recall seeing any of them in India either. If I make it back, I will surely be on the lookout.


  5. Delicious looking fruit. Would love to try all three of them. Unfortunately, the most exotic fruit we have up here near Canada are oranges.


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