New country means new fruit. Right on the ecuator, this meant some strange new fruits were ours to discover.
These little mandarins were the smallest oranges I’ve ever seen in my life. That’s an American dime next to it for scale (they use American money here). They were super-sweet, like all the sweetness of a regular mandarin had been squeezed into this tiny little package. There were pips inside. The slices were smaller than my thumb.
Next up, the uvilla (or uchuva, as it’s called in Colombia). Some research on the Internet brought up the name cape gooseberries. They kind of tasted like a mix between a tomato and a cherry. Like a savoury cherry, I guess. I loved these a lot – we bought a bag and I ended up eating most of them.
Speaking of gooseberries, we found these other ones on the street – bought them on the street, that is. I found out a name for them after some intense research by a friend, though I forget it now. I’ll try and find it soon. They turned out to be the tartest fruits ever in a land of tart fruits. I ended up eating most of these as well – Chris is not a tart fruit person.
As soon as we entered the country, we picked up a couple we had been waiting for – the zapote and the narajilla. The zapote was a mealy fruit that is almost tuber-like in its consistency – really, it’s like an extra-sweet sweet potato. No juice. Not bad.
The other, smaller fruit was one I had been anticipating for some time since reading about it. The narajilla looks kind of strange – a bright orange skin (inedible) surrounding a tart (again!) green flesh. Not the best eating fruit, but it makes great juices. Christine also believes that this tasted like vomit and avoided it like…well, vomit. I had it almost every day with breakfast or lunch.
Plums raised their ugly head again. While we were in Mindo, the wee cloud forest town, a woman in a doorway sold us a bag of a crunchy green tart fruit that she called plums. While ‘crunchy’ and ‘plum’ do not go together in my vocabulary, she didn’t have another name and we couldn’t find one, so Ecuador plum it is. They had salt to go with them if you desired. I didn’t.
Last up is another type of passionfruit – apparently there are quite a few types of these things – locally called taxo. The tartest passionfruit we tried (maybe the equator makes things extra tart, I don’t know), the seeds were also the biggest and crunchiest. Again, this fruit is not commonly eaten; instead, it is used in ice cream and juices. I like the bright orange colour.
Oh, and who can forget bananas? Not here you can’t!