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Exotic Fruits and Vegetables of Oaxaca and Mexico

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Introduction

Mexican cities usually have supermarkets in them, similar to ones you find in the U.S.A. or Europe. As far as fruits and vegetables go, supermarkets are great for clones and zombies.

All Mexican cities will have an outdoor market or Mercado. And that is where all our food fun begins. The wide variety of foods can be over whelming. Instead of finding one type of banana you will have a choice of three varieties to choose from. And then there is that avocado the size of you thumb, what in the world do you do with that? What about the mushy rotting fruit that the old lady is selling, who in the world ever heard of zapote. And what do we do with all the green leafy things, does everyone here own a rabbit?

After living in Mexico for 30 years I still find new things to try. I hope to introduce you to a few new veggies and fruits or identify ones you have eaten. I am sure I am going to learn more too trying to identify new veggies and fruits. There must thousands of new fruits and vegetables for us to discover.

Although this page is about fruits and vegetables, I will include grains, nuts etc.... If it does not come from an animal or a bug it goes somewhere within the fruit and vegetable pages. Some plants that are medicinal will also be included as well. I am not going to include fruits and vegetable that are commonly available in the U.S. or Europe, so don't expect photos of cabbage, onions or potatoes.

Fava Beans

Fava bean is called haba in Spanish. In Mexico fava soup, sopa de habas, is a popular dish as well as roasted favas flavored with salt and chili powder is a popular snack. For a larger image of fava beans click HERE. For a larger image of roasted fava beans click HERE.

Flor de Calabaza

Flor de Calabaza

Flor de calabaza is squash flower. Flor de calabaza is usually served in quesadillas (roasted or fried tortillas stuffed with cheese) and in soups. For a larger image of flor de calabaza click HERE.

Flor de Cuateco

Flor de Cuateco

Flor de Cuateco, I believe comes from the flowering part of a uncommon type of palm tree. It can roasted or boiled. The one pictured is roasted. They have a sour or bitter taste to them and have the texture of guacamole. They are sold while still in their husk, the husk is like a corn husk and needs to be removed before eating. Four flores de cuatecos will cost you 10 pesos or U.S. 50 cents (Jan 2018). For a larger image of flor de cuateco click HERE.

Flor de Maguey

Flor de Maguey

Flor de maguey is maguey flower in English. Flor de maguey is usually served in quesadillas (roasted or fried tortillas stuffed with cheese) and in soups. For a larger image of Flor de maguey click HERE.

Fruta del Dragón, see Pitahaya

Fruta Estrella, see Carambola

Fumaria, see Hierba de Conejo

Granada, see Pomegranate

Granada China

Granada China

Granada china or Granada originates from South America. Granada china has a peel like an orange and has a citric flavor. The gelatin pulp and seeds are to be be eaten. This is a favorite fruit of mine. For a larger image of granada china click HERE.

Grilla

Grilla

Grilla and less commonly called higuerilla in Spanish is ricinus communis or castor bean plant in English. The castor bean plant originates from tropical Africa[grilla1] and was introduced into the Americas during the colonial era. The plant can be seen growing along fence lines and along highways, sometimes reaching heights of 10 meters. The seeds of the castor bean plant are used to make castor oil. For a larger image of Grilla click HERE.

The plant has a wide variety of traditional medical uses, from treating some types of fevers to stomach ailments.

The castor seed contains ricin, a toxic enzyme.

Guaje, see Huaje

Guayaba

Guayaba or guava in English. The photos below show two varieties, the yellow variety is by far the most common. I throw six of these sweet fruit into a blender with a bit of honey for a great fruit drink. For a larger image of the yellow guayaba click HERE. For a larger image of the pink guayaba click HERE.

Hierba Buena

Hierba Buena

Hierba buena, also known as yerba buena. The specific plant species regarded as hierba buena varies from region to region. The mint flavored plant is used in cooking and is said to have medicinal properties. For a larger image of hierba buena click HERE.

Hierba de Conejo

Hierba de Conejo

Hierba de conejo also known as fumaria and sangre de cristo grows in Oaxaca, especially during rainy season. It is used as a spice with beans. Hierba de conejo also has some medical uses including a diuretic and a laxative. For a larger image of hierba de conejo click HERE.

Hierba Mora

Hierba Mora

Hierba mora is known as solanum nigrum in English. Hierba mora is often used in soups. I cook it like spinach and add some balsamic vinegar. The berries of hierba mora are toxic. Click HERE for a larger image of hierba mora.

Hierba Santa

Hierba santa, sometimes called yerba santa or hoja santa in Spanish is native to Mexico. The heart shaped leaf of hierba santa is used in Mexican cooking, especially in green mole, tamales and in soups. It is also used as a wrapper for some Oaxacan cheeses. For a larger image of the hierba santa plant click HERE and for a larger image of the hierba santa leaf click HERE.

Huaje

Huaje, sometimes spelled as guaje, is a very common tree in Oaxaca. Oaxaca's name is derived from huaje.

The first image is of huaje pods hanging from a huaje tree. Large image of huaje pods. Hueje pods are opened just like pea pods and the seeds are removed. The next image is of raw huaje seeds. Large image of huaje seeds. Raw huaje seeds taste like peas, roasted ones taste like pine nuts. Salted huaje seeds are eaten as a snack. Huaje seeds can also be ground and used in sauces such as moles. The seedless leftover pods are thrown away.

Huitlacoche

Huitlacoche

Huitlacoche or cuitlacoche and sometimes referred to as Mexican truffle. Huitlacoche is actually corn smut which is caused by a fungus that will kill the plant. In Mexico huitlacoche is considered a delicacy. For a larger image of huitlacoche click HERE.

Icaco

Icacos

Icaco also known as chrysobalanus icaco is native to North and South America. Icacos are slightly sweet with little flavor. Don't eat the seed. For a larger image of icacos click HERE.

Jamaica

Jamaica plant

Jamaica or Flor de jamaica is called hibiscus in English. The flowers of jamaica are made into a tea which is served cold and sweetened. Sometimes jamaica is made into a jam, which tastes like cranberries. Many believe that jamaica has medicinal powers which include treating urinary infections. In Mexico there are at least two varieties jamaica, a dark red variety and a red variety. For a larger image of jamaica plant click HERE. For a larger image of jamaica negra click HERE. For a larger image of jamaica roja click HERE.

Jícama

jicama

Jícama is known as jicama or Mexican turnip in English. Jícama originates from Mexico. Jícama can be eaten raw or cooked but the peel needs to be removed first. Usually they are cut up into the size of carrot sticks and eaten raw with hot sauce. They can also be fried like french fries, I tried this once and they were o.k. but I never bothered to make them again. For a larger image of jícama click HERE.

Jinicuil

Jinicuil

Jinicuil is also known as cajiniquil and cuajinicuil is native to Central and South America. The pods are about a foot long (30 cm). The white cotton like pulp surrounds the seed. The sweet tasting pulp is edible, the seed is not. For a larger image of jiniquil click HERE.

Footnotes and Notes

  1. Grilla1. Atlas de las Plantas de la Medicina Tradicional Mexicana. Higuerilla, Ricinus communis L.. UNAM (La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). Spanish. Retrieved Feb. 2018.

Photo Credits

Photos taken by Marc Wilkinson. I, the copyright holder, hereby publish these photos under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0).

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