Guatemala: the land of eternal Spring, that’s what our country is called. We’re blessed with beautiful weather all year round, and even on rainy days when our “winter’ is at its worst, you will probably have a sunny morning or an afternoon with blue skies. With such wonderful weather, we can enjoy a wide variety of produce. Aside from bananas, mangoes, papaya, pineapples and such, there are a few fruits that are specific to our geographical area, and I am sure they will be new to a lot of our readers from abroad. You won’t find these at the supermarket, you need to go to the local markets to find most of them.
This fruit is comparable with its distant relative, the apple, in many aspects, with a high sugar, acid and pectin content. It is eaten as a fresh fruit and mixes well with other fruits in fresh fruit salads or fruit cups. Firm, slightly immature fruits are best for making pies or tarts. The fruits are also commonly used to make jam, jelly, and chutney, and are often served poached in light syrup. It has a sweet, yet slightly tangy taste.
This fruit has a rough, sandy peel that when cut open it reveals zapote’s terracota flesh. The texture is buttery (comparable to the texture of an avocado, but softer still) and the flavor is sweet and earthy. When these are in season, they are used as dessert after a meal, or used to make ice cream pops and smoothies.
Another variety, is Chico Zapote. Not at all comparable to Zapote Mamey. This fruit has a milder flavor, very sweet and malty. The chico zapote tree provides a natural chewing gum, chicle.
The mamey tree, resembling southern magnolia trees, provides this yellow-orange fruit. It’s firm pulp has a sweet-tangy taste and it is used to make ice cream pops, fruit punch and jams.
This purple fruit resembles a large plum, but when you cut it open you will find a white, somewhat translucent pulp with a milky texture. It’s flavor is sweet and subtle. It is best served chilled.
This little fruits pack a lot flavor! When ripe, they turn bright red and their pulp is bright yellow with a sweet, juicy and tangy flavor. Aside from eating it fresh as it is, it is used to make “jocotes en dulce” around Christmas time. This dessert is made by cooking jocotes with panela, cinnamon, water, allspice and other ingredients.
Jocote de Marañon
Most of you are probably familiar with the cashew nut. This is the fruit where the nut comes from. This fruit has a tangy and astringent flavor, so it is mostly used to make sweetened juice ( agua de marañon).
These are available in the southern coast of Guatemala and El Salvador. They resemble green beans and have a sweet cottony white interior.