Fabulous Fruits of Costa Rica
Posted by Jack Albritton on January 24, 2014
Although most come for the surf, the beaches, or the wonderful scenery, visitors soon find that one of their favorite things is all of the amazing fruits of Costa Rica. The lush climate in the country provides a plethora of tropical fruit year round. There is nothing like a huge plate of mixed fruit or a natural smoothie to start the day. In almost any spot you choose to visit you can be assured that you will not have any problem finding fresh fruit. From where I sit writing this I can find fruit within a five minute walk in at least five locations. There are plenty of fruits that you will be familiar with such as pineapple, mango and watermelon but be sure and try something new and exotic that you won’t find back home. Let’s take a look at the fruity goodness that can be found in Costa Rica.
Maracuya (Golden Passion Fruit)
This is a fruit that I hadn’t paid attention to until recently. It is good to eat but it is really incredible in drinks. It is added with other fruits to increase sugar levels and it is also juiced by itself. To me the taste is very sweet but has just a bit of tart to it. Adding another juice to cut the tart flavor a little is preferred by most. It is known to be good for people with high blood pressure. It has also been found to be effective as an alternative to ritalin with hyper children.
This large, strange looking fruit is known as soursop in many countries. It is most commonly used to make juices and ice cream. The flavor is sort of a combination of pineapple, coconut and banana. Studies have shown it to be very affective in curing cancer as the properties in leaves kill cancer cells while not harming healthy ones. My favorite use for this fruit is to freeze pieces of it and use in smoothies. This gives the smoothie a rich, creamy texture and keeps you from having to water it down with ice.
Mamon Chino (Rambutan)
This fruit is native to Malaysi and is known as rambutan there. As you can see, it is an odd looking fruit, almost alien somehow. When this strange looking skin is peeled off the inside looks much like a grape and has a sweet and sour taste. It is mostly eaten fresh but you can find some jellies and jams around the country. I love to put these in the freezer also. They taste greating eating them ice cold.
As you can see, this odd looking fruit looks somewhat like a bean and is actually a member of the legume family. The reddish brown flesh on the inside is a mixture of sweet and sour. It makes a nice refreshing drink which you can usually find in any typical Costa Rican restaurant. The seeds are put in hot water initially to get the sticky fruit off. Then you mix in water and sugar. The result is a beverage that tastes similar to apple juice.
Star Fruit (Carambola)
It’s not too hard to see how this fruit gets it’s name. Cut in thin slices it looks just like a star. Until recently I thought all this fruit was good for was decoration. I picked one recently and just tore it open and ate it and found it to be sweet and juicy with a bit of a citrus taste. There was just the hint of sour. It has a high vitamin C content and is an important antioxidant.
This is more than likely a fruit that you are familiar with, but I would be remiss in mentioning papaya because it is just so good here in Costa Rica. Some find it an acquired taste, myself included. I wasn’t particularly crazy about them for the longest time and then I had the right one. The papaya seems to have a smaller window when it is good than most fruits. It is one of the world’s healthiest foods and is particullarly good for the digestive system. If you don’t take to papaya right away, try squeezing a bit of lime over it.
Noni (morinda citrifolia) is the fruit of a plant originally from India. Strangely enough it is a tree in the coffee family. It has a strong odor when ripening and has been called cheese fruit due to the smell. It also has a bitter taste. It has been used by healers for thousands of years and is catching on with the mainstream due to it’s powerful healing properties. It has been known to stimulate the immune system, regulate blood pressure, inhibit the growth of cancer cells and more. It is a great addition to your diet as it is high in vitamin C, antioxidants and amino acids.
That is just the short list. I could go on for pages about the many fruits that we enjoy here in Costa Rica. People that don’t normally eat fruit will even find themselves enjoying it for breakfast, in smoothies and juices, and for snacks in between meals. In other words it is just to good to resist during your visit. I encourage you to try as many different types as you can and don’t be afraid to include the weird looking and others with which you might not be familiar. So come for the beaches but don’t be surprised if you leave talking about the fruits of Costa Rica that you enjoyed.