Peru is a storehouse of some of the most delicous, exotic, and nourishing fruits. With over 3800 species of Potatoes, the land harvests thousands of varieties of plants whose flavors will knock your socks off if you know which ones to chose. Here is a list of my top five favorite.
I absolutely love the Chirimoya. This delicious fruit ranks close behind the Lucuma in my book, and is never to be passed up in visiting the market. The Dinosaur Pear – as I like to call it – can be found all over supermarkets, mercado centrals, and fruit carts along the side of the road. Not to be confused with its twin, the guanabana, this guy is packed full of nutrients and works wonders post work out, or hike through the Incan Trail.
Flavor Profile: Mango goodness meets ripe canned pear with a creamy custard like finish.
How to chose: The browner, the better. Like a banana, the fruit will taste sweeter the more brown the outside seems.
How to eat: Cut in slices from top to bottom as you would an apple, and eat each slice as you would that of a watermelon. Each seed is surrounded by the meat of the fruit, so you will find yourself biting off sections formed around the seed.
I had at least two or three Tuna each day. They are a delicious watery sweet and flowery fruit. It is great for hydration, and the morning after a night at the club.
How to chose: The darker purple the better. These babies carry the same pigment as our beloved beet. The darker the fruit, the more the pigment, the more nutritious it is and the better it tastes.
How to eat: I highly suggest asking the fruit stand tender to peel it for you. The Tuna is a Cactus, so it comes with a warning. If you’re feeling brave, using a dishtowel, hold the pear in the middle, and cut the top and bottom off. Slide the knife vertically down the fruit to cut the leathery peel and slowly pull apart the peel.
I cannot begin to explain my love for the Lucuma. I will save you the time and just get straight to it. The fruit is delicious and known as one of the finer fruits of Peru. If a Palta avocado were shaped into a perfect sphere, the two would be identical. While dark green on the outside, as you begin to peel, you will find you have struck gold. The fruit is neon yellow-orange on the inside with the consistency of creamy peanut butter.
Flavor Profile: Apricot with the finish of roasted hazelnuts and a possible hint of coffee.
How to chose: Go for soft, but not too soft. If the fruit is dry, it will soften, so when poking around, make sure the fruit is heavy and full of water. Stay away from the super brown, and those with holes, these oftentimes have worms.
How to eat: Simply peel back its thin peel and take a bite! While some of my Peruvian friends thought it odd I would eat the whole thing raw, I loved it. Usually you will find the fruit mixed with some sort of dairy whether its icing on a cake, or a cone of icecream.
They call this the Cotton Candy of Peruvian Fruit, and the description fits it precisely. The fruit is found more so along the side of the road in carts than in the mercados, so if you come across a wheelbarrow of these guys, I recommend you partake. They will offer to pop it open for you.
Flavor profile: Cotton Candy
How to chose: they really dont vary much, any fruit you pick will satisfy your sweet tooth.
How to eat: Pull apart the hard pod and stick your teeth in between to pull out a seed. The seeds like the Chirimoya are enveloped in their own section of fruit, make sure and spit out the seeds.
5. Pepino Melon
These are the perfect pick me up on a hot summer day at the beach. They usually come about the size of a softball and are pleasantly filling. Watch out for the center, though, apparently it causes infertility in women.
Flavor Profile: Honeydew melon meets plum
How to chose: You want one that is more firm, like a pear – not an apple. Its hard to go wrong in chosing, however. Never be afraid to ask the Fruit stand man his opinion, sometimes they will suggest letting it ripen for a day or two.
How to eat: Enjoy like you would an apple, but be warned, they are juicy.