Fruit in Colombia

Posted on 04. Aug, 2010 by in colombia

Now offering guided food tours in Bogota, Colombia for foodies, culinary adventurists, and food tourism.

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.

Curuba

These are known as banana passionfruit in English. They’re so sour it’s hard to eat more than one.

Tuna

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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

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Carambola, or starfruit, is good and common.

Tomate de Arbol

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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

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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.

Pitaya

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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

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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

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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.

Uchuva

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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.

Sapote

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I don’t eat sapote much, but they’re nice little, fleshy orange guys.

Papaya

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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.

Noni

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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.

Mangostino

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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

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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

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Feijoa is common in juices. They’re also edible raw.

Granadilla

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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 Pear

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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.

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18 Responses to “Fruit in Colombia”

  1. Ward

    04. Aug, 2010

    I’ve not been to Colombia but here in Cusco we also have many fruits that come from some of the lower-elevation areas neaby, such as Quillabamba, Limatambo, etc.

    One thing I never realized before is how much better these fruits taste fresh than when you buy them in the US. Fresh bananas for example are so much better than up North, they actually last like 3 weeks or so instead of the 3-4 days up North.

  2. Paola

    10. Aug, 2010

    Wow! those fruits look fantastic!!! Make me dream with a real juice. Anything comparable to the freshness and flavour of Colombian fruits…

  3. Paul

    06. Sep, 2010

    awesome run-down of the fruits. thank you!

  4. Irena

    17. Nov, 2010

    nice blog. I remember trying noni in cuba, man do they smell bad, something like rotten cheese. Your entries on latina america are fascinating.

  5. Angelica

    24. Nov, 2010

    I am a proud Colombian living in Canada. I have lived all over the world. Rarely I have an opportunity to hear of people like yourself that have the audacity to offend the locals. You prove to have a lack of social couth, and clearly your travels have not taught you to not offend a general population. Colombians are humble, joyous people. I respectfully disagree with your comment that “colombians don’t know shit”. You, sir, have not understood the culture. How sad that is, considering the opportunity you have been given.

  6. JGP

    01. Feb, 2011

    Totally irrational comment. Only ignorant a**holes like you believe you know so much. Your lack of respect is overwhelming, Colombians are highly educated people. Shame on you, publishing garbage about other people and cultures you should instead get to know better.

  7. Tranquilo

    17. Feb, 2011

    @Angelica, @JGP and anyone else taking offense to that one line “most Colombians don’t know shit”… I can see why the statement might bother you if you take it totally literally, but you aren’t taking it in the spirit it’s delivered. It’s an off-hand remark which in its full context I take to mean nothing more than “despite what most Colombians will tell you, these are perfectly ok to eat as whole fruit.” It’s actually a pretty common way to say things, sort of an ironic over-statement which plays against the format of the first half of the statement. I’m surprised you haven’t encountered it more. Or maybe you encounter it all the time but never realized that a lot of people kid around when they talk (or write), especially when talking about things they are really fond of.

  8. Camilo

    18. May, 2011

    I’m Colombian and I have to agree. Most of the time, Colombians don’t know shit. Particularly the Colombians that told you that sugar mangoes are only for juice. I’ve been eating them raw since I was a little kid.

  9. Sebastian

    24. Jun, 2011

    I am costeño and I hate guanabana. People don’t eat it here on a daily basis. I think you should stop believing every stereotype around there. We don’t fuck donkeys either.

  10. Wookiee

    09. Mar, 2012

    Hey, I’m a donkey and what’s wrong with sleeping with my kind!? Plus we’ve got huge slongs!

  11. Ana Maria

    12. May, 2012

    only an ignorant idiot like you would make such a nasty comment about Colombian people . There are millions of Colombians that are way smarter than you. Why does everyone think that just because Colombia is third-world country, everyone is supid. Stop being so racist and dicrespectful, when you don’t know anything about us. GO COLOMBIA!

  12. TIYANA LARA

    24. May, 2012

    I just looked at the pic,s.

  13. Kimberly Lee

    29. Jun, 2013

    Very useful! Thank you :)

  14. Chris

    31. Oct, 2013

    Thanks for the info here! I will be visiting Colombia soon and would like to try as many tropical fruits as possible. Can you recommend any specific markets where you can buy these fruits?

    Thanks.

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