Saturday is my favorite day of the week because that is the day I stock up on fruit here in Costa Rica! I’m currently living up in the mountains about 20 minutes from Juan Santamaría International Airport so every Saturday morning you can count on seeing me at the farmer’s market in Alajuela. Now this particular market is huge, and I am quite fortunate with the variety of fresh fruit that is available there. But to tell the truth, fruit is everywhere in Costa Rica!
When you visit Costa Rica you will find a number of exotic fruits that you won’t find back home and may not have even seen before. Though I have found a lot of new fruits I like, especially since going vegan about 5 years ago, the bulk of my diet comes from 4 or 5 fruits. Bananas are my biggest staple, and I constantly have a good stash of them around the house.
My favorite fruit, I would have to say, is mango! I seriously can’t get enough of it! Seeing as how there are so many different microclimates in Costa Rica, I am fortunate to be able to find good, sweet mangoes year round. I eat them by themselves, mix them in fruit bowls, blend them in smoothies and use them in recipes. I have a couple of salad dressing and sauce recipes that I will share in an upcoming post.
Of course, I can’t forget the pineapples! I must admit that I don’t eat near as much pineapple as I do bananas and mangoes but I have recently been eating more and love it own it’s own or in one of my big morning fruit bowls. Here’s a little trick for you. Freeze some pineapple chunks and then blend them with fresh orange juice. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!
For many years, I was not a fan of papaya, and that was a shame as they are all over Costa Rica. I would always eat a bit mixed in with a fruit bowl because I knew it was good for you, especially when it comes to digestion, but I really didn’t like the taste. I eat them quite frequently now. What I have found in my experience is that there is a much smaller window of papaya being good than with other fruits. So I am much better at choosing them now. A little trick for papaya is to squeeze a little lime juice on them.
I saved one of my new favorites for last. I have heard a lot of people talk about mamey sapotes and have seen lots of photos on social media, but I hadn’t tried one myself until a couple of months ago. I have been buying them ever since! I’m not great at describing taste but the texture is creamy and sweet and the taste kind of reminds me of pumpkin or sweet potato pie. It also has a slight hint of almond and vanilla. I usually find myself freezing the flesh and mixing with banana and sugarcane juice for a sweet frozen treat!
This is just a small sampling of the variety of fruits in Costa Rica. There are a number of fruits I would like to get my hands on that aren’t available in my area. I’m not complaining, mind you. I can’t really complain when I have access to all this great tropical fruit. I think I’ll go fix myself a fruit bowl right now!