5 Guatemalan Fruits I’m Excited to Try

To prepare for my next fruit adventure, I’ve been doing some research on the fruits of Guatemala.  And I’m happy to report that I think this is going to be a very fruitful trip! In fact, there are so many fruits on offer in Guatemala that I could never cover them all here on my little ol’ blog.

Some Guatemalan fruit will be fairly familiar to most people. I’m talking about mangos, papayas, bananas, and avocados, just to name a few. In my experience all of these fruits taste much, much better when eaten close to their original home, so I’m looking forward to eating them all in Guatemala.

But what I’m especially pumped for are those rare and exotic fruits that can only be found by traveling to the tropics.  In particular, here are the 5 Guatemalan fruits that I’m most excited to try:

Mangosteen

Mangosteens are one of my absolute, all time favourite fruits. Sadly, you just can’t find any good mangosteens in Canada, so I only get to eat them when I travel. But joy of joys, it turns out that mangosteens are abundant in Guatemala! I will be gorging on them for sure to get my fill.

Nispero

The nispero, known as the loquat in English, is something I’ve never had before. According to the California Rare Fruit Growers, the nispero has a succulent, tangy flesh. I hope it’s in season!

Ice Cream Bean

The ice cream bean, known as paternas in Guatemala, has been on my fruit adventure bucket list for many years now. The paternas looks like a huge green bean, with a fluffy, white fruit inside that resembles cotton candy. Now that I know they are available in Guatemala, I will definitely be keeping my eye out. I really want to know if they actually taste like ice cream!

Mamey Sapote

The mamey sapote is a round, brown fruit that looks plain and boring on the outside. But don’t judge a book by its cover! The inside of this fruit is a bright orange or salmon colour, with a creamy flesh similar in texture to an avocado. The mamey sapote has a sweet taste, which Slow Food USA describes as a flavour combination of sweet potato and pumpkin with notes of almond, chocolate, honey and vanilla. Sounds awesome, and I can’t wait to try the mamey sapote in Guatemala.

Jocote

I read about these little green and red fruits in Que pasa Magazine, which calls the jocote Guatemala’s national fruit. If that’s the case, I don’t want to miss the jocote. When in Rome indeed.

There are many other Guatemalan fruits I could write about, but I also want to have some fruit adventures in the markets, picking up fruits I’ve never seen before and giving them a whirl. So I’ll save the rest until I’ve actually landed.

Are there any other fruits I’ve just got to try while I’m in Guatemala? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Fruit Adventure Countdown

Well, the big Guatemalan fruit adventure starts in 10 days guys. I’m so excited to be escaping the Canadian winter, and I can’t wait to try the new and exciting fruits of Guatemala.  

But, I am a bit nervous because this is the first time The Fruit Adventurer will be traveling with a baby. The momma bear part of me wants to just cuddle up with baby and hunker down until she turns 25. But the backpacker, wanderer and adventurer in me knows I need to get back out there, or I will go craaaaazy.

So this week I’m going to focus on getting excited about this upcoming fruit adventure, and to pump me up I’ll be posting a few articles related to the wonderful journey The Fruit Adventurer family is about to go on.

The first post I’m working on is a rundown of all the fruits I may encounter in Guatemala. Until then I leave you with a quote that motivated me to quit my job and travel a few years ago when I was still just a travel dreamer:

I hope this inspires you to go on your own adventures, fruit or otherwise.

Love,

The Fruit Adventurer

A Pear Comparison

First off, I have a confession to make. Pears are not my favourite fruit. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate pears, it’s just that I’ve always found pears to be a bit on the boring side.

Nevertheless, I often buy pears in the winter (because they are affordable) but admittedly they usually end up languishing in my crisper until I shamefully end up throwing them in a smoothie. Let’s just say that pears don’t get me very excited.

However, it’s not everyday that The Fruit Adventurer encounters a new type of pear, so when I came across a package of something called Cold Snap pears yesterday in the grocery store, I was intrigued.

For the first time ever, I found myself excited about a pear!

According to coldsnappear.ca, these pears are a new variety that are exclusively grown and distributed in Canada. They apparently have a long storage life and high resistance to disease, making them an attractive option during Canada’s long winter.

A huge selling point for me is that these fruits are from my home province of Ontario, and they are about as local as fresh fruit is going to get for me in the middle of winter. So I picked up a 6-pack and they have been ripening on my kitchen counter ever since.

This morning, as I walked into the kitchen, I noticed a lovely, floral scent emanating from my basket of Cold Snaps and I knew it was time. The pears were ready.

For compearison purposes I decided to purchase a Bartlett pear as well to truly taste and test the differences between the two. Fortunately, both ripened right around the same time so I could perform this great pear comparison!

First, I took a bite out of the Bartlett pear.

No surprises there, it tasted like your standard pear, with very soft floral flavours and a blandness that has contributed to my pear indifference over the years.

Next up, the Cold Snap pear.

I bit into the snapper, and immediately my mouth was flooded with an intense pear flavour. The Cold Snap was noticeably more acidic than the Bartlett, creating a pleasant tangy sweetness that is absent from any pear I’ve ever tried before. I also noticed a bit of bitterness in its peel that added an interesting finish to the overall flavour experience.

Compared to the Bartlett, the Cold Snap pear also has a much denser flesh and a thicker skin, which I imagine makes it a hardy fruit that can handle difficult Canadian winters.

In my opinion, the Cold Snap pear’s flavour knocks the Bartlett out of the park, and I love that it’s a local fruit that I can enjoy in the middle of winter. Now that I’ve had my first encounter with the Cold Snap, I’ll be making it my pear of choice until summer returns, and I suggest you give it a try if you get the opportunity!

Solving a Fruit Mystery

Over the Christmas holidays, my sister and her husband came to visit The Fruit Adventurer family in Ottawa. While in town, my sister and I decided to make pho (Vietnamese soup), and so off we went on a trip to Chinatown to purchase some ingredients.

As my sister and I headed to Kowloon Market, The Fruit Adventurer in me was secretly buzzing with excitement at the prospect of spotting some interesting fruit to try. And I am happy to report I did not come home empty handed! While shopping for bean sprouts, thai basil and cilantro in the produce section, I came across a package of green fruit, descriptively labelled as “fruit.”

The Fruit Adventurer never shies away from fruits unknown, and so I took them home to solve a fruit mystery. However, when I took the fruit out of the package and got a closer look at them, my heart sank at the sudden feeling that I had a couple of dinged up pears on my hands.

Not to be deterred, I cut lengthwise into one to reveal this:

Yes! Not a pear at all. With this seed pattern, I immediately suspected that I had found me some guavas. I’ve only ever seen the small, round, pink-fleshed guavas of South America, but the seeds on these babies were still a dead giveaway.  And since I bought these fruits at an Asian market, I reasoned that they were probably Asian guavas.  A quick google search of “asian guava” confirmed my suspicions, as the images popping up matched exactly with my mystery fruit.

Now being 100% sure that these green, pear-like fruits were guavas, I excitedly cut a chunk away from the seeds and bit down onto a very hard piece of fruit. Rookie move… I should have known it wasn’t ripe since the guava was not giving off its signature perfume.

I waited a couple of days to eat the next guava, until I could smell that heavenly guava scent wafting off the fruit, and I now sit here eating a tasty Asian guava.  The fun part is I’m eating it whole, kind of like I would an apple or pear.  Be careful though!  If you want to eat a guava this way, be very cautious of the seeds as they are HARD and you don’t want to break any teeth!

To me, the Asian guava has a mild guava-ey taste, with notes of apple, as well as an interesting hint of pine needles. Overall I was happy with this fruit adventure, although I’ve had guavas right off the tree in South America, and so I can’t help but feel that these particular Asian guavas did not live up to their true potential.  I suspect it has something to do with the guavas sitting on boats and trucks for a few weeks before they made it to Kowloon Market in Ottawa.

Still, I’m glad I solved this fruit mystery, and that I now know Asian guavas exist.  On my next trip to Asia, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the Asian guava in the hopes of having a proper guava experience.