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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.

Sangre de cristo, see Hierba de Conejo

Sapote, see Zapote

Soursop, see Annona

Star cactus, see Nopal

Star fruit, see Carambola

Sugarcane

Sugarcane (or sugar cane) is called caña de azúcar in Spanish. It was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards as well as African slaves to harvest it. Sugarcane sometimes can be found in the market but it is almost always available at times of fiestas. The first image below is of sugarcane that still needs the fibrous outer covering removed. For a larger image click HERE. You can find the sugarcane with the outer shell removed, almost always in clear plastic bags to keep away the bees. You suck and chew on the stick until there is no more flavoring and then throw the fiberous remainder in the garbage. For a larger image click HERE.

Panela

Panela or piloncillo is the sugar of sugarcane that has been concentrated and crystalized. For a larger image of panela click HERE.

Tamarind

Tamarind

Tamarind is tamarindo in Spanish. Tamarindo is used as a spice and the fruit can also be eaten by breaking open the pod and eating the sticky sweet and sour flavored fruit, the seeds are not meant to be eaten. I am told that tamarind has many health benefits including lowering blood pressure and thinning blood; do not over eat tamarind if you are take blood pressure medicine or blood thinner. For a larger image of tamarindo click HERE.

Tejocote

Tejocote

Tejocote or manzanita and Mexican hawthorn in English, is native to Mexico and Guatemala. Tejocote can be eaten raw or cooked and is often used in a punch. Tejocote is frequently placed on Day of the Dead alters. For a larger image of tejocote click HERE.

Tomatillos

Tomatillos

Tomatillos are sometimes called "Mexican husk tomatoes." Tomatillos originate from Mexico and were eaten in the pre-Columbian era. Tomatillos are sometimes confused with tomatoes but they are not tomatoes and they come with papery husks unlike tomatoes. Tomatillos range in color from yellow to green to purple. I have read that they can be eaten raw but I have only seen or eaten them cooked and used in salsas and moles. For a larger image of tomatillos click HERE.

Tuna, see Nopal

Vaporub

Pepino Amarillo

Vaporub smells just like the medicine Vick VapoRub that almost all of us were treated to as kids. Soak the herb in water overnight and remove the herb in the morning. Use the vaporub solution on your aches and pains. For a larger image of vaporub click HERE.

Yuca, see Cassava

Zapote

Zapote or sapote is a Nahuatl word (tzapotl) for a soft, edible fruit. The word is "incorporated into the common names of several unrelated fruit-bearing plants native to Mexico, Central America and northern parts of South America."[zapote1]

zapote negro

Zapote negro are the size of an apple. When they are a bit mushy, they are ready to eat. It tastes like a baked apple. The skin and seed are not eaten. Click HERE for a larger image of zapote negro.

zapote naranja

Zapote naranja or orange zapote is a large zapote, almost as large as an American football, with a large seed. I have only seen it once but it does exist. The fruit was fibrous, dry and without much flavor. Perhaps it was not fresh or even more likely, that is the way the fruit is and that is why I have only seen it once in the market. Click HERE for a larger image of zapote naranja.

Footnotes and Notes

  1. zapote1. Sapote. Wikipedia.org. Retrieved Dec. 2017.

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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