Have you ever seen exotic fruit at your local grocery store and wondered what is was called, or how to eat it? During my most recent trip to Colombia, I was very fortunate to have done an Exotic Fruits Tour through Real City Tours in Medellín, Colombia. Colombia has a large variety of exotic fruits that are native to the South American region, so it is a great country to try these different foods.
My tour guides name was Anna, a local from Medellín who spoke fluent English, and was very knowledgeable about the local fruit and the cities history. Anna took us through all of the colorful stalls of fruit and vegetables at The Minorista Farmer’s Market in El Centro Medellín. She introduced us to a lot of the vendors, explained to us about the different exotic fruits in Colombia, how to eat them, and some of the health benefits that each fruit possessed. Best of all we got to try over 15 different fruits, and a juice. Although this market has a dark past, my group and I all agreed that this market felt very welcoming and safe.
I found this excursion very interesting, and refreshing. If you visit Medellín and decide to go on this tour I would strongly suggest on skipping breakfast because you will have a lot of fruit to eat within the 2.5hour duration. It’s definitely a good deal for $16USD, and a great way to spend a morning. I would like to share with you some pictures of the fruits that we discovered on the tour, and explain a few health benefits for each type of fruit that we tried.
Tomate De Árbol (Tamarillo)
Tomate de Árbol or Tomato Tree in English is the first fruit that Anna introduced us to. Anna gave us each a half piece to try. For hygienic purposes, we all had a metal spoon given to us so we could scoop the fruit out of the peeling without the need to wash it. The tomato tree fruit was pretty good, it had a sweet flavor. Usually, the fruit is mixed with water and blended to make juice. The Tomate De Árobol fruit is high in vitamins, iron, protein while low in calories.
Lulo (Little Orange)
The second fruit that Anna showed us was the Lulo, a citrus flavored fruit that was kind of like a tomato in texture. This fruit tastes good if eaten whole, but it is usually made into juice. The vitamins in the Lulo fruit help support healthy skin, nails, and hair. The fruit also helps prevent insomnia.
The Borojó fruit is usually seen wrapped in plastic so it will ripen to a soft almost rotten like state.(See the following picture) This fruit is traditionally mixed with milk or water and blended into a drink. The Borojó fruit is high in protein, calcium, iron, is an aphrodisiac, and it helps prevent hypertension.
There are many different ways that you will see this fruit wrapped at the market. Each method is for the same purpose; to ripen the fruit. We did not try this fruit on the tour, however, some people in my the group did get the Borojó juice at the end of the tour and said it was delicious.
This one is a bit unique because you actually need a hammer to crack it open. It’s not watery like your typical fruit, it is more of a starchy paste. Anna hammered a few pieces open for us to all try. It was sweet, and kind of chalky. It’s usually sold as a powder and added to smoothies as a protein supplement because of its high protein content. Algarroba is considered a Superfood, It’s high in Calcium, helps to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The Mangostino is considered The Queen Of Fruit because of all the antioxidants, and cancer preventative properties it contains. In order to eat it, you need to crack open its purple shell and pull the white sweet gummy pieces out to eat. You must be careful not to eat the stones under the white part. This fruit has a lot of vitamins and tastes really good. Mangostinos contain a lot of vitamin C, they have anti-inflammatory properties, help prevent cancer, reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acne, coronary heart disease, and they can help rejuvenate cancer cells. This fruit is also very popular in Asia.
This fruit is often seen as a pink color in other parts of the world, but the inside is always the same regardless of the outer appearance. The Pitahaya is usually eaten raw or made into smoothies. This fruit is high in vitamin C, high in iron, and is great to aid in weight loss due to its high fiber content which makes this fruit a good natural laxative as well.
Higo or Tuna (Prickly Pear)
This fruit doesn’t have the best taste, and the seeds are tough. However you are not supposed to chew the seeds, rather you should just swallow them. This fruit must be peeled, and it has prickly thorns on its outer surface that make it a challenge to pick. I use this fruit a lot in smoothies even when I’m back in Canada. Higos help to lower cholesterol, help decrease the risk of diabetes, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Sapodilla cut in half.
This fruit is made of simple sugars so it is very sweet to eat. Sapodillas are rich in antioxidants and high in fiber. They are good to help with constipation, help prevent colon cancer, have anti-inflammatory properties and are an aphrodisiac.
Chontaduros are considered a superfood. They are high in Iron, protein, help reduce high blood pressure, help prevent cancer, strengthen the immune system, and are an aphrodisiac. The Chontaduros are usually peeled sometimes cooked and eaten with salt or honey on them. They kind of taste like sweet potatoes. I prefer to eat them with salt and no honey.
This fruit has a lot of vitamins and minerals. It is high in Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron. It has compounds that may slow the growth of cancer cells, and it has anti-inflammatory properties. This fruit can be eaten or made into a smoothie. The fruits’ flesh is soft, smooth, and sweet. It has a strawberry/pineapple taste with a bit of citrus.
Guava has a sweet taste, but can be a bit sour sometimes. They can be white or red inside. Most guavas are made into juice, but guava jam is also a popular way to consume the fruit. Guava is high in fiber which helps protect the colon from cancer-causing chemicals, and it is very high in Vitamin C.
Gooseberries have vitamins that are good for your bladder, promote healthy vision, good cardiovascular health, and they have anti-inflammatory properties. They also have a lot of Vitamin C, B3, B1, Iron, and antioxidants. You can eat them like little tomatoes, and they are sweet. We tried a couple different types.
These long green fruits contain a lot of vitamin C. They are usually sliced in half and the center is scooped out and eaten.
Last but not least is the passion fruit family. Anna had 4 different types for us to try and an interesting story about how the fruit got its name. First, we tried the Gulpa, then the Maracuyá, and Curuba. They are all somewhat similar in taste, a bit sour, and that is why they are usually drunk as a juice with some sugar added. The last fruit that we tried was the Granadilla. It had a sweet taste to it, and Anna got us to try the fun way of eating it. You take the Granadilla, smack it on top of your head to crack it, peel the pieces off the top, then suck the seeds out.
Passion Fruit is high in Vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, & potassium. Passion fruit is good for stress management as well.
After trying all of these different fruits Anna told us a couple stories. The first was how the fruit got its name. In 1700’s the name Passion Fruit was given by the missionaries that were in Brasil at the time. They claimed that the fruit resembled the crucifixion of Christ from the way that the Passionfruit flower looked. It was named “Flower of five wounds” and the “Passion of Jesus”.
Flower of the Passion Fruit.
Anna’s second story was very surprising. The Minorista market in Medellín where we had the tour was considered one of the most dangerous places in the city back in the 80’s during the Narcos years. I don’t want to spoil the story in case you decide to do this tour. Through my experience, I can honestly say that it is a different market today, full of color, clean, and it felt very safe. If you have spare time for this tour, I strongly recommend doing it. If you would like to know about the Minorista Markets dark past then you can leave your e-mail address in the comment section, and I can tell you. Otherwise, you can find out by taking this enriching tour.
So that is all I have for you as far as exotic fruit goes. If you have any questions on this post or anything regarding what to do in Medellín then you can contact me via e-mail email@example.com or leave a comment below. Thank-you for visiting today!