12 Exotic Tropical Fruits You Should Try In Colombia
Colombia is a tropical fruit paradise, here we break down 12 of the best exotic fruits sold in Colombia
Many nature-lovers that make the trip to Colombia come for its tropical climate, biodiversity and spectacular geography. As home to nearly 10% of all the species in the world, Colombian geography comprises Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, tropical rainforests, open savannas and breathtaking mountain ranges. And one of the many benefits of such lush tropical landscapes and rich biodiversity, is the spectacular array of delicious and exotic fruits that are available.
Colombians adore eating fruit and the exotic varieties found here are turned into all manner of sweets, desserts, juices, ice creams, jams and preserves - as well as being eaten whole. Natural fruit juice in Colombia ( Jugo Natural ) is actually very different from the pure squeezed OJ or Apple Juice that we’re used to in Europe and the US. In Colombia, fruits are liquified with either water or milk with sugar added for sweetness. It’s very common when ordering a fruit juice in a restaurant to be asked if you want your juice in water or milk. This is because many of the popular fruits here do not naturally contain enough juice to make pure squeezed juice an economically viable option, so adding water or milk increases the volume of the juice and makes the fruit go further. This is the typical way of preparing fruit juices in Colombia, whether in restaurants or in the homes of local Colombians.
Despite Colombia exporting millions of dollars of fruits every year, foreign visitors to Colombia almost always encounter fruits that they’ve never seen or tasted before. When browsing one of the many fruit markets or fruit sections in grocery stores, you will often find a bewildering selection of wild and wonderful looking fruits on offer. In this article we’re going to break down and explain 12 of the best exotic fruits that you can find in Colombia and that we highly recommend you try.
Colombians adore eating fruit and the exotic varieties found here are turned into all manner of sweets, desserts, juices, ice creams, jams and preserves - as well as being eaten whole.
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1. Banano Bocadillo
Also known as Lady Finger Bananas, these are short and stumpy looking bananas with a slightly thinner skin and sweeter taste than regular bananas. These bananas are rich in Vitamin C, B5 and minerals and are delicious eaten whole or made into desserts.
Chontaduro are small red or orange skinned fruits with a hard orange flesh that is often cooked for a few hours to make them soft. With a similar texture and taste to sweet-potato, Chontaduro is often sold in city centers by street-food vendors served with honey, lemon and salt. Colombians love this fruit, and legend has it that Chontaduro also serves as a natural aphrodisiac!
A member of the Passionfruit family, Granadilla are round and orange coloured fruits with a hard and shiny shell that breaks open easily to reveal a grey jelly pulp and black edible seeds. These sweet and slightly tart fruits are similar to Maracuyá, and they’re a very popular snack for kids.
Guanabana are delicious! A large green fruit about the size of a watermelon that is cut open to reveal the creamy white flesh and black seeds inside. The flavour of Guanabana is unique and unforgettable, it’s similar to Pineapple or Strawberry. You can eat the flesh raw or make it into a delicious juice or smoothie, its creamy texture makes it perfect for a milkshake or smoothie.
Also known as Guava, these are small green colored fruits with a bright pink pulp and seeds inside. Guayaba fruit is the base ingredient used to make the famous traditional Colombian sweets known as Bocadillo. Bocadillo is an absolute must try if you’re visiting the country and makes a great souvenir gift for friends and family back home. All airports and bus stations around Colombia sell Bocadillo, often with Arequipe ( Colombian Caramelized Milk ) which is a traditional way of eating Bocadillo.
Another unique and delicious fruit that is often used in high-end cuisine and skin-care products, Higo is also known as a Barbary Fig or a Prickly Pear. Either orange or green in color, these spiky fruits grow on Cactus plants and have a deep orange colored flesh that tastes similar to a Kiwi fruit. An excellent source of Vitamin A and dietary fiber.
Lulo is one of the most popular traditional Colombian fruits and a bit of a national icon. Its sour, acidic taste makes it hard to eat alone so it’s most often sweetened with sugar and used to make delicious natural juices or desserts. A Lulo is a round orange fruit that looks similar to a Tomato, another must try if you’re here visiting in Colombia.
Known as ‘The Fruit of the Gods’ in South East Asia, Mangosteens have a strange appearance with a hard purple rind and a soft white flesh inside with milk-like juice. The taste is unique, sweet, tangy and very delicious. Some people claim it tastes like a combination of several fruits. Mangosteens are also high in Vitamin C and used to treat various illnesses such as Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Tuberculosis and Alzheimers.
Maracuyá is a Passionfruit, the delicious sour fruit with a distinctive orange jelly center and black edible seeds. The most common variety in Colombia is the yellow passionfruit, which is larger than the typical red passionfruit more commonly found in Europe. Maracuyá is one of the most popular fruits in Colombia and is widely used to make juices, desserts, ice creams and cakes.
Also known as Dragon Fruit because of its outer yellow scales, Pitaya is a soft fruit of white flesh flecked with edible black seeds. It has a mild taste, similar to Kiwi Fruit and is very delicious. You will often find this fruit on offer at a breakfast buffet in many hotels around Colombia and I highly recommend giving it a try!
11. Tomate de Arbol
Tomate de Arbol is a fruit staple used to make the delicious and refreshing juice that accompanies the traditional ‘menu ejecutivo’ lunches sold all over Colombia. With an oval shaped tomato like appearance and a long stalk, it has a deep orange-colored soft flesh inside and a very mild, slightly sweet taste.
Similar to Higo you will find Uchuva as an ingredient in many trendy high-end restaurant dishes. They have an appearance similar to yellow cherry tomatoes, and have a delicious sweet and slightly sour taste. An excellent source of Vitamin A, C and B12, if you spot Uchuva on a menu near you I highly recommend trying this exotic little delicacy!