29 August 2012

Have a healthy journey around Colombia while eating your five-a-day

Posted in Blog

One of the interesting advantages of travelling to Colombia is the variety of alternatives you will find to replace the traditional sweet and probably unhealthy snacks with exotic fruits that, apart from being delicious, are also good for your health.

Thanks to the tropical location of Colombia and the variety of microclimates available all year around, you can easily find a large selection of fruits everywhere you go in the country, turning your journey into an interesting exploration of flavours.

Of course you will easily find familiar tropical fruits like bananas, mangos, pineapples, papayas, guavas and coconuts, but next to these well-known fruits you will also find other less familiar fruits depending on the region of the country you are travelling to.

Fruits at street market - Bogota, Colombia
Fruits at street market - Bogota, Colombia

We could try to present an extensive list of the exotic fruits you can find in Colombia but this article would be way too long and you will probably get bored half way through. So we decided to talk only about our favourite fruits instead, so you can memorise how they look and then easily recognise them when you are roaming around street market stalls. As for the rest of exotic produce, they are also delicious and you will have the pleasure of discovering them by yourself.

So, these are Uncover Colombia’s top four favourite exotic Colombian fruits:

Guanábana:You will recognise it for its green spiky skin. This fruit is typically from humid and warm regions but you can find it pretty much everywhere in the country. Inside, it is white with medium-sized black seeds. The taste is sweet and you can eat it raw or in juice / smoothie.

Pitaya: This sweet fruit has also a spiky skin like the Guanábana but it is smaller and yellow coloured. Inside it is grey and has tiny black seeds. It is a very refreshing fruit and also very good for your digestive transit.

Clockwise from top left: pitaya, guanabana, uchuva, granadilla (Images from public domain)Clockwise from top left: pitaya, guanabana, uchuva, granadilla (Images from public domain)

Granadilla: This is a close cousin of the passion fruit but it is sweet. It looks similar inside but it is grey and contains small black seeds. The juice is not very common, it is better eaten raw.

Uchuva: It is the size of a cherry tomato but yellow coloured. Its flavour is difficult to explain: a mix of sweet and savoury. It is quite common in the colder Andean regions of the country.

Other interesting exotic Colombian fruits include:

Curuba: It is also a close cousin of the passion fruit but sweeter. It is elongated, similar to a small English cucumber, but with a fuzzy textured yellow or green skin. It’s endemic of colder climates.

Curuba (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Curuba (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lulo: With a hairy, spiky brown exterior and a greenish interior, lulo is not the most visually appealing of fruits. You can eat it raw but you’ll get a mouth full of slimy seeds. It has a very strong citrus flavour, but in juice and with some sugar it is delicious. Its flavour has been described by some as a combination of rhubarb and lime.

Lulo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lulo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chirimoya: This fruit is a cousin of the guanábana but smaller. It has the same custardy, white interior dotted with thick black seeds, but it is a bit sweeter. It is better to eat it raw than in juice.

Water melons - Bogota, Colombia
Water melons - Bogota, Colombia

Finally, if you are already transformed into a fruitarian, another interesting option to sample is "Salpicon”. Instead of having your fruit salad served in a plate or a bowl, you will recognise Salpicon as a fruit juice (usually orange or mandarin) in a glass served with different pieces of fruits inside. It is definitely a good refreshment to have in the morning or mid-afternoon.

As we said earlier, there are plenty more fruits to try during your travels around Colombia. Our recommendation is to try all the fruits you find wherever you go and then decide which ones you like the most.

Now it is over to you, dear reader.

-       What is your favourite Colombian fruit?

-       Which fruit is not of your liking?

-       Is salpicon a step too far?

As usual, we look forward to reading your insightful comments.

Until next time,

The Uncover Colombia team