Just one fruit stand at Paloquemao.
One day’s shopping from 7 de agosto.
Colombia owns a good chunk of the Amazon rain forest, two coastlines along the Caribbean and Pacific, and varying altitudes up and down the Andes Mountains – all in a tropical climate of heavy rainfall. Very fertile land. Put anything in the ground and it grows.
In addition to apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes, watermelon, and all the fruits you can get in America, you find exotic fruits I’d never heard of. I don’t know the names for many. Locals don’t know their names. There are too many. Plus, it seems what’s on the market changes all year round. You eat whatever’s in from the jungle that particular week.
I surely haven’t included every exotic fruit possible, but this is a good start. Also, I’ve surely gotten some names wrong.
These are known as banana passionfruit in English. They’re so sour it’s hard to eat more than one.
I got used to eating tuna (or prickly pear in English) in Southern Peru, where they’re more abundant, tastier, and cheaper. They’re also green on the inside, but who cares? They’re still good.
Carambola, or starfruit, is good and common.
Tomate de Arbol
If judging by how often I buy them, these are probably my favorite. The tomate de arbol, or tree tomato, or tamarillo, are orange, tart goodness. Most Colombians say you can’t eat these, that they’re only for juice. Remember most Colombians don’t know shit and I eat all kinds of fruits they say you’re not supposed to.
I use these in my own personal Colombian chili, which has red, green, and tree tomatoes plus coconut milk.
Lulo is another of those fruits you’ll surely have as juice in a restaurant, but the locals say you can’t eat it raw. They’re super-sour and I need a big cup of milk to take one down, but it’s possible and delicious. Lulada, or lulo juice, is one of the more popular juices in Colombia.
The pitaya is delicious. You eat the inside white part. Unfortunately, they’re expensive. It’s hard to get one for less than 2000 pesos ($1).
Guanabana makes one of Colombia’s national drinks. They mix that white flesh with milk and sell small cups on the street. Usually it still has the big black pits in it, but sometimes they remove the pits and mix it in a blender. I recommend having it without pits for true goodness.
On this particular day, a friend and I tried to eat that whole guanabana with four liters of milk. FAIL. Half that big-ass fruit remained the next day.
Guanabana (‘soursop’ in English) has been linked to Parkinson’s disease due to its high annonacin content. However, I believe it’s only a risk to the costeños who eat the stuff every day.
Anona, or sugar-apple in English, has super-sweet white flesh inside. It’s closely related to chirimoya, which I ate tons of in Peru but rarely see in Colombia. Guanabana and anona are high in annonacin and may increase risk of Parkinson’s.
Uchuvas are just like what I remember eating when I lived in Southern California, called cumclops. They’re different, but easy little guys to snack on.
I don’t eat sapote much, but they’re nice little, fleshy orange guys.
Papayas are big. There are many different kinds. In Peru, there were Lima papayas and Arequipa papayas. Here there are normal papayas and Hawaiian papayas. The one on the right is Hawaiian, which are more bitter.
Many people like noni, but I can’t stand the smell of them. I bought these to give them another chance, which failed. They smell so bad I can’t bring them to my face.
Noni juice has a following among natural cure enthusiasts. Google search noni and see all the pill and juice products under shopping results. It’s been suggested the stankin’ shit prevents cancer.
Known as purple mangosteens in English, these little guys are lovely. Cut and break off the purple shell, then eat the white flesh, which have pits. Sweet and delicious.
Mango de Azúcar
Mangos de azúcar (sugar mangoes) or mango dulce (sweet mango) are another one Colombians say you should only make juice with. Colombia has regular size mangoes, but these ones are tiny. I can hold three in one hand. You slice off a bit of skin and go to town. I always get my face and hands completely covered in juice. I’m a dripping sloppy mess, but it tastes good.
Colombia also has green mangoes, which are sour and I don’t have a picture of. They’re sold on the street with salt and lemon juice.
Feijoa is common in juices. They’re also edible raw.
Granadillas used to be cheap, about 200 pesos ($0.10) for one, but they spiked in recent years. You break the soft orange shell and eat the inside guts, which in Peru is sometimes called moco (snot). Similar texture.
Guayaba is guava in English. The fruit pictured was one of my early favorites in Colombia, and I thought they were guayabas. I later learned that somebody crossed guayabas with pears to get these green-skinned, pink flesh hybrids. Cheers to that guy!
Not pictured: maracuya, mamoncillos, green mangoes, all the fruits you can find in the States, and surely shitloads more. As always, add me on Facebook for easier viewing of my pictures.