FRUITS OF ECUADOR
When I first arrived to Ecuador, one of the first things I did was head to the supermarket to buy all the fruits of Ecuador I had never seen before. I should have gone to the local market where the fruit is much better (and cheaper), and maybe I should have read a little about the fruits of Ecuador first. This is because some fruits are better in ‘jugos’ than to eat them raw.
This fruit is one of the favorites of the Ecuadorians. In English this fruit is called soursop. It is about as big as a cantaloupe melon and has a sweet and sour taste, like a strawberry almost. The texture is creamy like a banana. In the middle of the white fruit there are black seeds.
Taxo (sometimes also called curuba or tambo) was interesting to me, because it looks like a small banana. I already translated it in the store and the English name turned out to be Banana Passionfruit. After I opened it up at home it indeed looked like a banana-shaped passionfruit, but it seemed to have small ribs on its peel. It did not look appetizing at all, and the taste is a little tarter than a normal passionfruit. The best way to try taxo is in a smoothie or in a ‘jugo’ with water and some sugar. It is also a popular ice cream flavor.
The name of this fruit literally means sweet cucumber but the English translation is melon pear. The taste would be best described to be somewhere in between cucumber and melon. The fruit can be eaten raw. Therefore, pepino dulce is used a lot of times in fruit salads or as a dessert. The yellow skin with purple stripes does need to be removed before you can eat it.
Pitahaya is better known as dragon fruit, and even though it is available in my home country as well, this is one of my favorite fruits of Ecuador. Every time I walk by a fruit stand, I’ll buy one or two (for $0.60-$0.80 per piece). The outside of the fruit is yellow, and the inside is white with small black seeds in it. I usually cut the fruit in four pieces and eat it from its hard peel. The taste is similar to that of a kiwi.
Tomate de árbol
This fruit called tree tomato is one of the Ecuadorians favorite fruits to drink as a ‘jugo’ during lunch. It tastes like a sweet tomato juice, as the name suggests. It is not a very good fruit to eat raw, because it does taste a lot like a tomato, but much more sour. It has more of an egg-shape as opposed to the normal tomato.
Moras are like blackberries and this ‘jugo’ is also available in a lot of places. Because moras are a little tarter than the blackberries we know, Ecuadorians usually add a little sugar to the ‘jugo.’ They are also larger, and could be eaten right off the vine. You will encounter the bushes in a lot of places as they grow like weeds in the highlands.
Make sure to try all of the fruits of Ecuador on your trip. Visit a local market or try the ‘jugos’ you can get at almost any place that serves food.
Try a variety of Ecuador’s exotic fruits for example one of Quito’s traditional markets.
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