Now that the hot season is upon us, there are more opportunities to enjoy something sweet, natural, delicious, and healthy! There is an abundant variety of seasonal fruits that grow in the Yucatán Península. Some are not only exotic to look at, but delicious to eat, worth trying, and, of course, eating more than once. You can find them in markets, at street corners (especially in Centro), and in every supermarket. Are your taste buds ready? Join us on this tropical taste tour.
The Pitahaya (dragon fruit), exotic and beautiful, is a pink fruit of cactaceous origin that normally grows along the walls of Yucatán. Fresh and delicious, you can eat it on its own, by scooping out its smooth white interior filled with tiny little black seeds. You can also prepare it as a fruit drink, popsicle, ice cream, gelatin, jam, or in a salad. It’s a summertime staple, and deliciously refreshing.
If you have seen a little yellow fruit with a strong aroma, you may have seen one of the stars of our regional desserts, the Nance. You can eat it raw during the summer months or as a preserve throughout the year. It is soft, juicy, and has a unique, sharp flavor. You can also find it in popsicles, cool slushies, ice cream, or with Xtabentún liqueur.
One of the most long-awaited delights during the summer season is a bowl of Huayas with Chile and lime. This fruit, related to the lychee, has a thin, rigid shell that can be easily broken with the teeth or with a knife, to reveal the light pink seed that has a unique, delicious flavor. You buy them in bunches, and if someone offers them on the street, don’t hesitate to buy them and prepare them sprinkled with ground Chile powder and some fresh lime juice. Beware, don’t eat and speak at the same time, because the seed can easily slide into your throat.
A tasty treasure that you can only find in Yucatán starting in April is the Grosella (starberry or star gooseberry), with a sour flavor similar to lime and with a texture similar to apple. When it is mature, it gives sweet notes to your palate. It can also be found in preserves. The Ciruela Yucateca (Yucatecan plum or red mombin) is distinguished by its acidity and its usual preparation, with Chile and salt. Ciruelas are easy to find throughout the month of May.
Don’t miss the Saramuyo (sugar apple) and the Guanábana (soursop), both fruits from the Annona family, with green and scaly skin, but with a soft, sweet pulp that is used for fruit drinks, ice creams or eaten all by itself. The “mamey” (mammee) is an oval-shaped fruit, orange in color, with a very sweet flavor. Its hard, wood-like skin can only be removed when the fruit is ripe enough to eat. You can eat it by itself, or in smoothies and ice creams. A Yucatecan favorite!
One of the fruits that will bring out your explorer side in order to find it, is the Zapote Negro or Taúch (black sapote). With a dark green shell, and sweet, black flesh, it can be combined with milk or orange juice, offering a different texture and color from any fruit that you have ever seen.
So many summer fruits, of all flavors and colors! Be sure to try as many of them as you can find on your next visit to the local mercado.
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
Born in Mérida, Violeta is a communicologist dedicated to writing and creating content on tourism, fashion, and entrepreneurship. She has recently started working as an English-Spanish translator.
Photography by Yucatán Today for use in Yucatán Today
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