One neat thing about traveling is getting to try new and different foods that you may not be familiar with back home. Grocery stores can be very limiting in what they offer, not all fruits and vegetables travel or store well. Because of this there is an enormous amount of produce that stays local in every country of the world and Costa Rica is no exception. This is the first of a new monthly post on the Tropical Fruits in Costa Rica. Today we are covering 2 of my favorites: Mamey Sapote & Jocotes
The first time I tried a Mamey Sapote (called Zapotes here and pronounced sah-poe-tay) I was at a roadside fruit stand on the way to the pacific coast. We stopped in Orotina where there are several fruit stands lined up on the road. I was looking at the rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables, many I was completely unfamiliar with, when I asked the vendor what he would suggest. I let him know that I was visiting and wanted to try something new, I wanted something sweet. The fruit peddler smiled, reached down and cut open a brown, oval, fuzzy fruit. He told me that this was the Zapote, one bite and I was hooked!
An oval fuzzy fruit with an orange interior and large black pit is what he gave me. He cut one open so I could try it and the taste was amazing. You get used to how an apple tastes in life, or an orange, but when you try something that is new, that does not really taste like anything you have had before, that is something special.
In trying to describe this fruit, this is as close as I can come. It has a texture similar to a ripe avocado. The taste is a combination of brown sugar, sweet potatoes, almonds, with a hint of apricots and fig. Altogether, it tastes like something completely new!
The fruits are not only tasty, they are also pretty healthy! They are high in Calcium, Vitamin C, Carotene, Iron, Potassium, and Vitamin A. Zapotes (Mamey Sapotes) can be found growing in southern Florida south down through Central America. If you are traveling to Costa Rica with us between the months of February and June, you can make the Zapote part of your adventure!
Next on the list of yummy tropical fruit goodness is the Jocote (pronounced hoe-coe-tay). This is another favorite that is hard to put into terms, to me nothing in the world tastes even remotely close to the Jocote. A member of the cashew family, Spondias purpurea is a flowering plant native to the tropical Americas.
The fruit is eaten either green with a little salt, when it turns to deep reds it is much sweeter. I prefer the sweet version to the tart green with salt, but Costa Ricans love them both ways.
August and September the Jocote is in season so you only have a small window to enjoy these little fruity gems. These can be found in other areas of the world under different names: purple mombin, red mombin, hog plum, and sinigwela are a few of the names you may know them by. This is a member of the cashew family, Spondias Purpurea is a flowering plant native to the tropical Americas. High in antioxidants and a natural source of Vitamin C, jocote are also thought to aid in digestion.
This is the first of several food related posts we will be doing over the next several months. Stay tuned for more yummy goodness! – Start planning your trip today with our experts, fill out our vacation builder form to get started!
C.R. Referrals Travel is located in Atenas, Costa Rica