The fruits of South America
This is the last article in a mini-series:
A couple of months ago we bought, tasted and described all fruits we came across on our three-month trip through South-East Asia. But now we are on a new continent, so we have a new challenge ahead of us… 🙂
For exotic fruits which are found on both continents, please see the previous articles: tamarillo, carambole, maracuja/passion fruit, papaya, coconut and guava. Fruits, like pitahaya and star apple also exist in both parts of the world, but are of a different color or taste, so we described them here again.
Custard Apple (aka cherimoya or sweet sop)
This heart-shaped green fruit is relatively expensive, but it’s really worth it.
The thin looks a bit as if it has scales, but it feels quite smooth. When the scales turn slightly brown and the skin is slightly soft, the fruit is ready to eat. The white fruit flesh is creamy and firm and contain numerous black seeds.
The taste is a wonderful mixture of banana, pear and peach. It’s very sweet and has a slightly sour aroma. The cherimoya has a full-bodied flavor and is particularly filling, so that eating a whole fruit really fills you up.
The small fruit consists of a huge seed and surprisingly little fruit flesh.
The orange-red to dark red skin is thin but very firm. It easily breaks open when the fruit is ripe. The flesh is yellow and very juicy. The riper the fruit the more juicy the flesh, so that it actually feels like drinking the fruit. The taste is fruity and sour, but in a pleasant way. It’s a bit like orange, but with less acid.
After washing just put the whole fruit into your mouth (you can eat the skin) and spit the big seed out. We saw many people eating green fruits with salt. Perhaps you might give it a try too and tell us if you liked it.
Pitaya / Pitahaya
In contrast to the flavorless pink Asian pitaya, we really love the yellow South American pitahaya. It is very sweet and aromatic, and the flavor lingers in your mouth for quite a while.
This is a purple version of the green Asian star apple. It is just as sticky on the lips but nonetheless delicious.
The big star-shaped fruit can easily be mistaken for a papaya, but it tastes very differently.
When the fruit ripens the thin skin changes from green to yellowish and finally to intensely yellow. The white fruit flesh is slightly spongy, but very juicy and with no visible seeds. The outer part of the pulp has a firm consistency and the inner part is rather soft. The texture is like a very ripe very soft plum. While the inner part has no taste, the outer part tastes like a Galia melon. It’s very refreshing and a pleasant mixture between sweet and sour.
This fruit looks like a Khaki fruit, but it’s much smaller.
It has a very thin skin of orange color. The juicy flesh is orange-green, with a whiter outer layer. The inside feels very much like jelly. Naranjilla is quite refreshing and tastes a bit like a sour orange but in a pleasant way. To enjoy the fruit, slice it in half and eat the inner part with a spoon.
Due to the its form, skin feel and color we thought that these fruits are small mangos, so we didn’t buy them for quite some time. But as you in the picture above they are very different.
In fact, the inside is very similar to maracuja / passion, but the jelly is intensely orange, less juicy and the maracuja’s pleasant acidity is missing. Also the seeds are larger and more bitter.
This fruit is a bit unusal and reminded us of no other fruit we know. It’s yellow with vertical purple stripes.
While the skin is very thin, the fruit itself is pretty firm. The yellow flesh has a firm consistency but at the same time it is quite juicy, almost like a watermelon. The fruit has a very mild and very slightly sweet taste. In fact the sweetness is so light that it’s irritating.
Have you ever seen a banana which is not green or yellow? Well, here is one and now that we tried it, we don’t really want to go back to the usual yellow bananas.
This intensely yellow fruit looks like a curled up hedgehog, but the spikes are soft and don’t hurt 🙂
Peel off the thick skin to reveal the white, fast transparent, fruit flesh. The texture reminded us of a mangosteen. It contains two huge seeds of brownish color, so there is not that much flesh to enjoy.
Ocoro tastes very juicy, tender, refreshing and aromatic, much like a langsat with a bit of lychee.
Bolivian Mangosteen (Achachairu)
Except for the smooth skin this fruit is very similar to the Ocoro — in size, texture and taste.
Ice-cream or Inga bean (Pakai / Pacay)
This funny fruit has the form of large cloves with 4 angular ridges. It is about 10-20 cm long and grows in a curve or straight. The green and brownish skin is thin but quite hard. It contains 10-15 black shiny seeds, which are surrounded by a soft layer of white silky shiny pulp. They are tightly packed like beans in their skin or candies arranged in a well fitting box.
The seeds have an alien-like structure comparable to a 3D jiggsaw puzzle, which consists of many parts glued together.
The white pulp is soft, smooth and chewy. It’s like fluffy cotton dipped in a sweet liquid. It looks and feels like cotton candy, but wet, which is quite similar to a wet Q-tip. When you touch it, it gives to pressure easily.
The taste is fruity, creamy and pleasantly sweet, like a mixture of peach and apricot ice cream.
To enjoy the fruit, cut the skin open with knife and break it open until the “candies” are revealed. Eat the white flesh around the seeds and spit the seeds out. With your tongue and your theeth you can easily sperate the flesh from the seed. Unfortunately there is little fruit flesh compared to the size of the fruit, so eating Tinga beans produces a lot of trash.
Ice-cream or Inga bean (Guama)
This fruit is very similar the one above and obviously of the same family. The inner structure and the taste is similar, but there are a few differences: guama is twisted and irregular, but also thicker and longer than pakai. It looks very much like a huge green bean.
Soursop (Sirsak / guanabana/ Sinini)
A thorny green round fruit with white flesh and scattered black seeds. The fruit flesh tastes like a mixture of tart and sweet. Soursop is quite difficult to eat, and it’s usually used as ice sorbet or for making juice.
Having tasted many fruits on several continents we can now announce our 6 most favorite fruits:
- Katja: mango, cherimoya, sugar apple, maracuja, pitahaya, mangosteen
- Boji: chiku, cherimoya, sugar apple, pitahaya, mango, papaya
Which fruits have you tried so far an which one did you like best? Let us know by leaving a comment below.