Life in Mexico wouldn’t be the same without fruit. Mexican fruit is so abundant, and so tasty it’s not surprising that it has embedded its way into the very culture of the country. A Cuponismo take on the wild world of fruit in Mexico.
Frutas de Mexico – Photos by Donna Day
The US has long been importing fruit from Mexico, Hawaii and Costa Rica and every other tropical spot, so the mangoes and papayas sold everywhere in Mexico are almost as familiar to us as apples and oranges. But mercados, fruit and vegetable trucks, and fruit stands are one thing. It’s another thing to have several huge old mango trees with hundreds of mangoes ripening on the branches in the vacant lot next door, reminding you with their very presence that you are living in the tropics, amigo. The birds will eat many before they ripen, and many will fall, attracting swarms of very busy bees as they ripen on the ground. Those that stay on the tree long enough, we harvest.
There are many types of mangoes here, so many that people eat them like popsicles! And we have papaya trees sprouting like tall skinny weeds all over town, practically falling over so weighted down are they with clusters of ripening yellow-green fruit, and coconut trees by the hundreds line the beaches and sprout in vacant lots and often rain down dangerous fruit in the high wind (a Canadian tourist was killed in Sayulita by a falling coconut a few years ago, surely earning himself a place in the pantheon of bizarre deaths).
Coconut fatalities aside, Mexico’s Pacific coast is a paradise for lovers of tropical fruit of all kinds, both familiar, less familiar, and just…weird. Check out the Carmen Miranda babe at the top of this post (model: Clara; photo by Donna Day) out for a sampler.
Along with mangoes, coconuts, pineapple, lemons, watermelons, cantaloupes, limes, grapefruits, oranges, assorted bananas, and papayas, less familiar local or regional fruits include guavas, guanabanas, jackfruits, mamey, and prickly pear cactus. They are all delicious, once you get used to them. For the most part, these fruits are, like the weird Asian passion for the stinky fruit called durian, something of an acquired taste. But definitely worth a try, if only to keep your taste buds, and your mind, open to the new.
Justin Henderson is the author of nine books on architecture and interior design, travel guides to Costa Rica, Los Angeles, and the Caribbean, and seven murder mysteries featuring amateur sleuth Lucy Ripken. His surfing style is much like his writing, playful, smooth and easy on the eyes.