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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.

Mamey

mamey zapote

Mamey, also known as mamey zapote or mamey sapote, is native to Mexico but now is also grown throughout Central America, Florido, Hawaii and even Australia. The texture of mamey is similar to that of a cantaloupe on the outside and the texture of papaya on the inside. When mamey is ripe, it will feel like a ripe avocado, a bit soft in a few places. Mameys are sweet and taste somewhat like sweet potato and pumpkin. Mamey is eaten raw or made into milkshakes, smoothies or ice cream. Mamey can also be used to make marmalade and jelly. Mamey seeds are used in making tejate, a non-alcoholic drink made of maize, cacao, mamey seeds and flowers of cacao. The skin of the mamey fruit is not eaten. Click HERE for a larger image of mamey.

Mangoes

Mango display

Mangos or mangoes in English originate from south Asia. They are a very common fruit in Mexico and come in a variety of sizes. Mangoes are the gods gift to mankind and they are my favorite fruit.

Manzanilla, see Camomile

Manzanita, see Tejocote

Maracuyá

Maracuyá

Maracuyá or passion fruit in English. Maracuyá can be made into a popular seasonal drink, blend the fruit of 4 or 5 maracuyá, orange juice, water and perhaps some honey for agua de maracuyá. For a larger image of maracuyá click HERE.

Marañona

The cashew tree produces cashew seed (nut) and red or yellow fruit called cashew apple or marañona. Marañona has a mango flavor, bite off the bottom of the fruit and then suck out the juice. Don't eat the pulp or peel. The fruit cost about a peso each or U.S. 5 cents each.(Nov. 2017) For a larger image click of red marañona click HERE and for a larger image of yellow marañona click HERE.

Mexican Hawthorn, see Tejocote

Mexican truffle, see Huitlacoche

Míspero, see Níspero

Mint

Mint

Mint is called menta in Spanish. Mint is used as spice and is to have many medical properties. Click HERE.

Nanches

Nanche display

Nanche can be eaten raw, cooked as a dessert and can be used to flavor mezcal. The above picture has a bowl of fresh yellow nanche. Nanche tastes like butterscotch, inside the fruit there is a small seed about twice the size of lime seed, its not meant to be eaten.

In the jar and on the plate above are brownish nanches curados. Nanches curados are made from nanche that has been soaked in mezcal (a type of alcohol) and panela (a slightly refined sugar) for seven months to a year. The panela causes the fruit to change color and helps reduce the sour taste caused by the alcohol.

The first image below is of a nanche tree. Click HERE for a larger image of a nanche tree. The second image is of nanche, the fruit. Click HERE for a larger image of nanche.

Níspero

Nísperos

Níspero or míspero originates from Europe. Nísperos are about the size of grapes and taste like them too, just a bit stronger flavor. The fruit is mostly used as an ornamental decoration and is often placed on Day of the Dead alters. The seeds are not edible. For a larger image of níspero click HERE.

Nopal

Nopal display

Nopal or prickly pear is a common cactus with over three hundred native species in North and South America. They grow easily where there is not much water and require little care. Often the pads are sliced as the ones are above and then boiled to be used in different dishes such as and egg and nopal tacos or a side dish as above. Boiled nopales taste similar to green beans and are bit slimy like okra. The pads can also be roasted or grilled. Locals believe eating nopal purifies the blood, lowers cholesterol, helps treat type 2 diabetes and lowers blood pressure.

The first image below is of a nopal with the Pacific Ocean in the background. Click HERE for a large image of a nopal with the Pacific Ocean in the background. The second image is of lady removing the spines off of nopal. Click HERE for a large image of lady removing the spines off of nopal.

The fruit of prickly pear is called tuna in Spanish. The first image below is called chiconostle; it has a disagreeable taste and is used to aid in weight lose. Click HERE for a large image of chiconostle. The second image is of red and green tuna. The red tuna tastes a little like raspberries. To make a smoothie, scoop out the insides of five or six tuna and put them into a blender along with water and honey, then blend. Click HERE for a larger image of tuna.

Nopal de Cruz

Nopal de cruz has three points and can be cooked and made into a side dish. I have seen it in the country side being used as fences. For a larger image click HERE.

Estrella de nopal is similiar to Nopal de Cruz but instead of having three points, it has five.

Palo de Vibora

Palo de Vibora

Palo de Vibora. Used to clean kidneys. These wood chips are soaked in water for a few days. The chips are removed before drinking. It doesn't taste bad at all. For a larger image of palo de vibora click HERE.

Panela, see Sugarcane

Papaya

papaya

Papaya is the same word in Spanish and English. Papaya originates from Central and South America and is grown along the coast of Oaxaca. Eating the seeds (around nine) is believed to keep away parasites. For a larger image of papaya click HERE.

Passion fruit, see Maracuyá

Pepino Amarillo

Pepino Amarillo

Locally known as pepino amarillo or yellow cucumber in English. I am not sure what this fruit is commonly named, I suspect it is a variety of tree melon or pepino dulce. Pepino amarillo is the size of a nerf football to football size and taste like a cross between a pear and an apple. For a larger image of pepino amarillo click HERE.

Piloncillo, see Sugarcane

Pitahaya

Pitahaya

Pitahaya goes by many names including Dragon Fruit and Fruta del Dragón. Colorful Dragon Fruit tastes similar to cactus pear fruit (tuna). The skin of the fruit is meant to be thrown away. For a larger image click HERE.

Plantains, see Bananas

Pomegranate

pomegranate

Pomegranate is called Granada in Spanish. For a larger image click HERE.

Prickly Pear fruit, see Nopal

Rambutan

Rambutan

Rambután or Rambutan in English originates from Asia and now prospers throughout Central America. The outer shell and the seed inside of the fruit in not to be eaten.

Ricinus communis, see Grilla

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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