Mexican Exotic and Tropical Fruits

Mexican Exotic and Tropical Fruits | #mexico #tropical #fruits #cleaneating

One of the things I most looked forward to before arriving in (or should I say, moving back to) Mexico was all of the exotic and tropical fruits; many of which I’d only seen pictures of, and others I had not tasted since my childhood visits to Mexico. These past eight months have been wonderful for my tastebuds, needless to say. Today I’d like to share with you a few of the succulent fruits I’ve had the pleasure of eating in hopes that you too may have an opportunity to taste them.

In the pictures above and below are a pineapple, a mature coconut, rambutan, a saramuyo, a black sapote, a membrillo, dragon fruit, yellow mangoes, and a few prickly pear fruits.

Mexican Exotic and Tropical Fruits | #mexico #tropical #fruits #cleaneating

I can’t tell you how excited it made me feel to look at this exotic and tropical fruit collection on my kitchen counter. Eating them all makes me that much more excited.

Mexican Membrillo or Quince Fruit by @SpicieFoodie | #mexico #fruit #membrillo #quince

Let’s start off with this firm yellow fruit that has an intense and pleasant fruity smell. In Spanish this fruit is knows as membrillo, and in English as quince fruit. Quince (or membrillo) is something that I only knew of because of a sweet made from it that in Mexico we calldulce de membrillo. Quince is in the same fruit family as apples and pears but unlike those two it is usually cooked first before being eaten. This fruit is native to South-West Asia but is now also grown in many parts of the world.

Mexican Membrillo or Quince Fruit | #mexico #fruit #membrillo #quince

Due to the membrillo’s high pectin it is usually made into jams, jelly and or marmalade. Additionally liqueur, wine and cognac may be made from quince. Some people like to simmer the fruit with spices and liquid to serve the soft fruit just like one would poached pears. The fruit must be a yellow colour before it can be eaten. It is very firm and unlike other fruit it doesn’t soften as it ripens. Raw, the taste is described as sour and astringent but some varieties are known to be sweet. The one I purchased was very hard and had a slight sourness to it, the texture was like that of a grainy pear. I will be poaching this beauty and will report back with the results.

Mexican Coconut by @SpicieFoodie | #mexico #fruit #coconut #maturecoconut

Every one all ready knows this is a coconut. But I just learned the brown ones like this are referred to as mature coconuts, the green ones you drink when on a tropical getaway are young coconuts. I love them both and also have access to the two. Sorry, I know many of you only see the brown ones at your local shops.

Mexican Coconut  | #mexico #fruit #coconut #maturecoconut

Mexican Coconut | #mexico #fruit #coconut #maturecoconut

I’ve been experimenting with the best ways to crack one open all while making sure to not waste any of that precious coconut water. As soon as I’ve got my technique down I’ll be sharing it with you.

Mexican Pineapple | #mexico #fruit #tropical #pineapple

The pineapples grown locally are out of this world delicious! I swear even if you’re not a fan, munching on one of these golden, juicy beauties will quickly turn you into one — a fan not a pineapple. This one was being prepped for this smoothie and a main dish I will be sharing next week.

Mexican Rambutan | #mexico #fruit #tropical #rambutan

These are called rambutan and why I found them in a grocery store in Playa del Carmen I’m not sure. You see these softly spiny fruits are native to Indonesia and Malaysia, I always thought of them as an Asian fruit. After a little research I found that rambutan is grown in Chiapas (a state in south-east Mexico) and they are becoming popular in the region.

Rambutan  | #mexico #fruit #tropical #rambutan

Rambutan taste quite similar to lychee: juicy, sweet with a slight floral taste to them. To eat you crack the spiny shell open and remove the squishy fruit, put it in your mouth and eat until you get to the hard seed — which you discard.

Saramuyo or SugarApple | #mexico #fruit #tropical #saramuyo #sugarapple

This alien like fruit made me super excited to purchase and taste. I had no idea what is was but I knew it had to come home with me! At the check out it sparked a conversation with the cashier and people in line behind us about what it was, was it ripe and when and how it should be eaten. I was thankful that they offered the information.

Saramuyo or SugarApple | #mexico #fruit #tropical #saramuyo #sugarapple

In Spanish this is called a saramuyo and in English it is known as a sugar apple or sweetsop or custard apple. (The Annona family of fruit has several different fruits that are similar to each other.) My saramuyo had to ripen a bit more before eating — even thought the outer skin is thick and rough, it should feel soft when squeezed a bit.

Saramuyo or SugarApple | #mexico #fruit #tropical #saramuyo #sugarapple

The taste is sweet and quite unique so difficult to compare it to other fruits; there are hints of pear but all it’s own. The texture is soft but with a smidge of the graininess of pear but it does definitely have a custard-like feel to it, hence it being referred to as a custard apple; the seeds are black, hard and should be discarded. Online many suggest that the fruit should be chilled before serving. I unfortunately slice mine in half then after reading put it in the fridge, which of course cause it to oxidise a bit. Thankfully it didn’t affect the taste at all. The fruit is so delicious that you’ll want to make sure you have several to indulge in!

Sapote Negro or Black Sapote | #mexico #fruit #sapote #blacksapote

This is a sapote negro or a black sapote, it is native to Mexico and Central America and it is also in the same family as persimmon. Other names for this exotic fruit are chocolate persimmon and/or chocolate pudding fruit. The taste is supposed to be just like chocolate pudding — awesome! Mine is still quite firm and so I have to wait until it ripens to taste it.

Sapote Negro or Black Sapote | #mexico #fruit #sapote #blacksapote

It’s so pretty!

Tunas or Prickly Pear Fruit | #mexico #fruit #tunas #pricklypear #cactusfigs

These babies are tunas or prickly pear fruit! I have been waiting to eat them again for way too many years. We never found them in Europe and since they are only in season for a short time I was thrilled when I finally found them here in Playa.

Tunas or Prickly Pear Fruit | #mexico #fruit #tunas #pricklypear #cactusfigs

This fruit grows on (paddle) cactus and has to gently be picked off so that none of the thorns pierce the skin. When you find them in markets the thorns have already been removed so it’s just a matter of peeling off the skin and enjoying the fruit inside. I’ve always just eaten the fresh fruit but it can also be blended into drinks or used in making jelly and candies.

The taste is very unique and you simply must give it a taste yourself. The fruit is not too sweet but it is juicy and hydrating. The seeds are very hard but they can be chewed (if you have teeth of steel) or swallowed or spit out. I either swallow them or secretly remove from my mouth.

The only other fruit you that was included in the top photos but not below were the mangos. I love them I ate them too quickly before photographing them, more about mangos on a coming article. In the meantime I hope you enjoyed this mix of exotic and tropical fruits. I have a couple of recipes coming where I used the fruits, so make sure to check back!


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  1. A fascinating list and description of a lot of my favourites. Membrillo sounded strange to me until I discovered it to be quince 🙂 ! I don’t think most Australians know the black sapote . . . I lived for a number of years in semi-tropical Northern NSW and grew both white and black sapotes tho’ moved on ere the trees fruited! I was told they came from S America . . . ? Thanks . . . .

  2. Nice job presenting these beautiful fruits! I am familiar with some of them: pineapple, coconut, prickly pear and one similar to the rambutan, which when in the Philippines it was a lychee. I love the photos.

  3. I enjoyed this so much Nancy! There is a whole world of food that we know nothing about. I would love to taste these exotic beauties.

  4. I just learned about the prickly pear in your recent post and I do know the other fruits except the membrillo, that one is new to me. The Sapote look different too in mexico but I knew that already, but I didn’t recognize the custard apple. It looks so different to the one we have in our garden. Awesome post Nancy, would love to discover more food ingredients like this.

  5. I adore rambutan!! I did not know they grow it in Mexico. It’s one of my favorite treats from Sri Lanka. 🙂 I few of these fruits are also new to me… gotta see if I can find them in my Asian/Hispanic Market. 🙂

  6. I love prickly pears! In Greece (mostly in the islands), they brought the trees/cacti (?) to use as natural fencing. Let’s just say that it didn’t work out that way, but at least I get to eat a couple dozen fruit during the summer. I have a friend who claims she makes a jam out of prickly pears, but I’ve never seen it.
    I’ve mostly eaten quince as a sweet, either as a jam or small pieces stewed in a heavy syrup, but recently I’ve eaten a veal dish with tomato sauce and quince at a few restaurants in Athens. It’s mostly found in the mainland as a savoury dish and usually in the winter.

  7. There is an orange fruit in the photo at the top in between the mango and the pineapple which you did not describe. I ate this while in Cancun, and would love to know the name of them. They have a hard skin somewhat like a soft shelled Gourd, and the inside is full of seeds surrounded by a sweet jelly-like flesh.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      That’s a mango too. I’m pretty sure that the fruit you are describing is a yellow passion fruit — they are wonderful, but not always available. Thanks!

  8. Yesterday I went to the local farmer’s market and saw rambutan for the 1st time, as apparently, so did everyone else the stand owner had them listed as rambutan) The stand owner was quite friendly and was giving everyone instructions on how to get to the fruit and getting free tastes. All I can say is——“WOW WHAT FLAVOR!” To say almost everyone who tasted them, including me, bought some would not be an overstatement!

    I am hooked on a new fruit. The fun I having showing my friends and relatives my “new fruit” is worth the price I paid. I encourage anyone finding a ramatan to give it a try!

    1. Hi Iva! That’s fantastic that you discovered and now are hooked on rambutan. They are delicious, aren’t they? And good for you for spreading the good word. I too love discovering new fruits and foods. Thank you and enjoy those rambutans.:)

  9. Woman, you need to get out of the Playa supermarket and into the countryside. I live an hour from Merida in the middle of nowhere and I eat fruit you will never see inside a supermarket. There are Kaymitos, Zapote (not just negro), Mamey, and a ton of others. Explore the countryside and you will see. This stuff is too fragile to ever make it to centro de abasto.

    1. Hola Regina!

      You are so right, there is so much fruit and foods to be discovered outside of the supermarket. When I wrote this article I had just arrived in Playa so was still exploring around. Now I’ve gotten the opportunity to taste many other things only found in the mercaditios or small villages. Of course there are tons more foods to discover — as I’m sure you already know, every region in Mexico has something different to offer.

      Thanks and bonito fin de semana!

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