has many different fruits, some familiar,
others more unusual.
Tropical fruit treats include granadilla, taxo and
wonderful variety of fruit from the warm tropical and
subtropical lowlands and even the cooler sierra region produces several
different fruits from the fertile volcanic soil. Fruits and
fruit juice will
be an important source of vitamins during your travels in Ecuador.
papaya, starfruit, passionfruit and of course bananas are familiar
tropical treats. Granadillas and naranjillas may be less
familiar but are no less delicious. In the highlands, tree
tomatoes and taxos may be new to you, but you will soon be
offered tree tomato juice or taxo icecream. Both taxos and
tree tomatoes thrive in gardens in Quito. Apples and peaches
also grow in the mountains, in a rather stunted fashion.
pears are grown
in both the costa and the sierra, though avocadoes from the sierra are
reputed to be the best.
of the more unusual
of tangy, green juice with a citrussy taste (naranjilla means "little
orange"). The bright orange shells are not eaten, just the
pulp inside, which in Ecuador is usually used for juice. The
fruits are a little bigger than a golf ball and are covered in hairs
until they are ripe, when the hairs can be brushed or rubbed off, which
is usually done before they are sold. The stalk falls off
when the naranjilla is completely ripe. The scientific name
of the naranjilla is Solanum
quitoense, which literally
means "nightshade of Quito" and
it is indeed a member of the nightshade family.
are actually a member of the potato family, despite growing on trees up
to 5 metres high. The fruits are a little larger than a
egg, starting off green and ripening to a deep red or yellow.
They are usually peeled and liquidized with sugar and water
a tasty fruit juice. They are also used as a base
for spicy chilli sauce. The tree tomato Solanum betaceum
known in Spanish as tomate de arbol (i.e. tree tomato) and the whole
world uses this description except the New Zealanders, who invented the
name tamarillo for the fruit.
smooth, brittle orange shell, about the size of a tennis ball, which is
lined with a cushion of white pith covered in soft spikes or fingers.
Break through the shell and pith carefully with your fingers,
and you will find a mass of seeds each covered in translucent,
jelly-like flesh, which you suck out from the shell whilst trying not
to make too many slurping noises. Although the contents of a
granadilla look like frogspawn, they have a delicate, fragrant flavour.
If you can summon up the courage to try it, the granadilla
may become your favourite fruit in Ecuador. The granadilla, Passiflora ligularis,
is a member of the passionfruit family and grows in damp, subtropical
areas on a type of vine.
are also member of the passionfruit family and taxos are sometimes
in English as the banana passionfruit due to their elongated shape,
though they are shorter than bananas, less than a hand's
Cut them open and scoop out the flesh-covered seeds to eat or
cook. The tangy, perfumed flavour of taxo is too tart for
people's tastes, so is usually used sweetened for juice or
cream. Opinions vary about how many species of taxo, or
banana passionfruit, there are, Passiflora
and P. tarminiana being
a couple of the suggestions.
and vegetables are important for nutrition,
you are on a vegetarian
diet. Some fruits,
such as avocadoes,
in the best of Ecuador's
traditional dishes, others are
simply served as refreshing juices.
Fruits of Ecuador
Fruit information. Fruits available in Ecuador, what they are
and how to eat them, fruit recipes and information on some of the more
unusual tropical fruits and highland harvests of Ecuador.