The Land of Tropical Fruits Vol.3
Yes, There is Enough Fruit to Write a Tropical Fruits Vol.3 Post!
Ecuador’s rich soils and tropical weather allow for the widest variety of fruits to grow. Some are already known to travellers coming from the northern hemisphere, but others are so exotic that many travellers simply don’t know what to expect when they give them a try. When visiting Ecuador’s magical capital city that is Quito, be sure to stay at Casa Gangotena to get a true taste of its World Heritage colonial downtown, and take a trip to any of its nearby markets. Open your eyes to amazing colours and your taste buds to new flavours. If you’ve read Tropical Fruits Vol.1 and Vol.2, you might already be acquainted with some of Ecuador’s most common fruits. Read up on our brand new Tropical Fruits Vol.3 to learn about two more varieties that will surprise your palate!
Grosellas go by many names in English: Otaheite gooseberry, star gooseberry, starberry, West India gooseberry, Malay gooseberry, Tahitian gooseberry, Country gooseberry or Gooseberry tree. This fruits belongs to the Phyllanthaceae family and it’s mostly known for its high acidity, hence its species name: Phyllanthus acidus. The grosella tree can range anywhere from 2 to 9 meters in height, with a bushy top were the grosellas grow in dense clusters. The actual fruit is quite small – like the size of a raspberry – with the appearance of a tiny pumpkin with a white-greenish colour (both inside and out) and a crispy texture. In fact, the fruit is eaten whole and sometimes even directly from the tree. In Ecuador, it is common to see it being sold in fruit carts on sidewalks, usually pickled in salt. You will see that grosellas are usually sold alongside sliced green mango wedges (with lemon and salt) – an example of Ecuadorian’s love for strong and sour flavours. Even though the fruit grows in lower, more humid, warmer and tropical weathers, it’s also a favourite among the people of the highlands. This fruit is very rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and vitamins C, A and E. You will see it being sold in markets and street carts. Give it a try! And get ready to have your face twist itself up into a knot!
Breadfruit (or Breadnut)
Artocarpus communis, or fruta de pan in Spanish, is a tropical fruit that grows in the bread tree. Even though its name is misleading (because the bread fruit doesn’t really quite taste like bread), the white pulp that contains its seeds has a texture and appearance that is very similar to bread. It’s said to have come from the Pacific Islands and Southeast, eventually being planted on the neighbouring islands of the South American continent by travellers who transported the seed on their boats. The tree grows in humid and tropical climates and grow up to 26 metres high. It has dense foliage at its canopy, making for some beautiful shade. The fruit is quite large, measuring up to 30 cm in diameter and oval shape. Its shell is hard, light-green with a thick and rugged texture. The white pulp inside has a sweet flavour and strong aroma, and it contains as many as 60 seeds that are the size of chestnuts. Much like chestnuts, the seeds have a hard brown shell along with a tough and brittle interior with a creamy flavour. The seeds are usually boiled to make the food soft, and they have to be peeled before consumption. The peeling process can be a little tricky but as soon as you get the hang of it, it becomes easier and faster. This fruit is more common on the Ecuadorian coastal region, while people from the highlands tend to be unaware of its existence. So if you want to try this rare fruit, you might have to travel to the beautiful coast and ask for it at a local market. Because the core of the seeds has such a mild flavour, people are known to eat them with a little bit of honey, making for quite a tasty combination!
Nathalie Moeller is of Ecuadorian and German descent. As a child she spent her summers in the Galapagos Islands, where her mother grew up, and from a very young age learned to love the beauty and uniqueness of the archipelago. She studied Journalism and Humanities in Barcelona, after living in Madrid and Germany for a couple of years. This gave her a culturally broader view of the world, which is reflected in everything she does. Blogging gives her the opportunity to combine her passion for travelling and writing.