With the arrival of summer, 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, on the corners of 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. With an exquisite flavor, you can eat it fresh, 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 basic of summertime and deliciously refreshing.
If you have seen a little yellow fruit with a strong aroma, you have seen one of the stars of our regional desserts, the “nance.” You can eat it raw during the summer months or in a dessert prepared with syrup 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 rigid, thin 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 can buy them in clusters, 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” (red currant), 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 eaten in syrup. The “ciruela yucateca” (plum) is distinguished by its acidity and its usual preparation, with chile and salt. It’s eaten with the skin, and easy to find in the summer months.
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 shell 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 “tauch” (black sapote). With a dark green shell, and sweet black fruit inside, 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.
By Violeta H. Cantarell
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