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Mike's Tour Through The Fruits of Colombia

Colombia is known for its incredible variety of insects, flowers (especially orchids), birds, and butterflies. In Bogota at 9000 feet, we see few insects, almost no birds but pigeons, few butterflies, and certainly no wild orchids. The flowers make it to town in cut form and are incredibly diverse and inexpensive. However, we do enjoy seeing all of the exotic fruits that abound here. When we go shopping and pass through the produce section, it seems like you are in the States. For a minute. You see all of the vegetables we are used to, then the bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, and citrus. Then all of sudden there is a whole section of colors and shapes that are different! I thought I would give you a rundown on some of the most interesting of the lot, most of which we have tried in fresh, smoothie or juice form. I will not bother with guava and mango, which are very popular here, but are more know in the U.S. I can't say that we have particularly grown to love any of them in an addictive kind of way, but give them a try if you can find them!

Cherimoya
It has a green exterior that looks like it is covered with thumb prints. Its interior is similar to the guanabana. The flesh is soft, white, and sweet. Some liken the taste to bubblegum. Mark Twain called it "the most delicious fruit known to man".

Granadilla
Hard, round, usually orange in color on the outside and is best eaten by pushing your fingernails into the skin, then sucking the runny, gooey seeds out from the inside. I opened one up and thought the seeds looked like frog-egg globs, with a hard black seed. Everyone laughed when I crunched the bitter seeds with my teeth (bad technique). Not one I can say I enjoyed.

Guanabana
Had this one as a smoothie with milk and a little sugar. It was very good. It takes some work to prepare. When cut in half, they remind me of white, human brains. Not the image I need to dive right in with a spoon. These can grow to be very large. The Guanabana tree is a natural, powerful cancer cell killer.

Lulo

The lulo looks and feels like a small tomato. The taste is described as a rhubarb\lime combo. It is a very strong-tasting fruit and is usually served in drink form.

Mamoncillo
This fruit, somewhat like a lime, has a tight, rigid layer of skin, traditionally cracked by the teeth. They grow in bunches like grapes and are green in color.

Maracuya or Passion Fruit
Very similar to the granadilla, interior and exterior. Come on, at least try eating all of it at least once!


Pitahaya
A cactus fruit, both refreshing and sour at the same time. It has a juicy flesh and a strong flavor. The fruit must be cut in half to get to the fleshy center. Don't try and pick our the black seeds, just crunch them along with the fruit.
 
Uchuva
Its most notable feature is the inflated, papery calyx enclosing each berry. Inside the skin is the tart, tangy, creamy pulp (technically the seed coat), which is sucked by putting the whole fruit inside the mouth. It is bright orange and sweet when ripe, but can be extremely sour and face-puckering also.

Enjoy!

1 comment:

LGH said...

This was so fun to read and to see the pictures. we had some interesting fruits in China also. I like your spirit of adventure in trying them all out.