For its dimensions, Ecuador is a country that offers great variety of landscapes and weather. No wonder it is home to so many native varieties of exotic fruits that are rarely found in other parts of the World.
We went to the market and bought all the fruits we could find that we haven’t had before. The result? The most colorful fruit platter our eyes have seen!
From left to right, in the photo above, we had:
- taxo (banana passionfruit)
- gooseberries (the little orange ones)
- naranjilla (little orange in the front)
- tree tomato (red egg shaped tomato)
- granadilla (orange one in the foreground)
- dragon fruit (yellow cactus in the back)
- tuna (prickly pear – green cactus in the back)
- sweet cucumber (on the right)
My favorites were the passion fruit look-and-taste-alikes: Tao and granadilla, mildly sweet and slimy, but in a good way.
The cacti ones, dragon fruit and tuna are very juicy – I guess cactus know their way to accumulate water. Surprisingly enough, the prickly pear is incredibly colorful on the inside. One pictures cactus to be plain and somehow dull, but when you cut this fruit open, not only you are invited to take it to your mouth because of its aroma, it’s also a feast for the eyes.
If you are thinking a tree tomato is just another kind of tomato that simply grows on trees, there is more to it! It’s hard to place it on the sweet or savory side of things – it’s a bit tangy but delivers a smooth and pleasant after taste. It’s very commonly used in juices here in Ecuador. And talking about juices, that’s what you would need to do to a naranjilla to be able to eat it. It’s incredibly sour! So unless you blend some of them along with sugar or honey, I don’t think many palates would have a happy ending with this one. Sweet cucumbers are a more watery version of sweet melon. Not precisely inspiring or unique. Refreshing though.
Gooseberries, locally known as uvillas, are rather similar to cherries I’d say. Pick a cherry, take out the seed, give it a citrusy tangy taste, color it orange and there you go… you have a gooseberry! Goes well on pretty much anything.
So, what exotic fruits have you eaten lately?