Most people agree that Mexico is home to some of the most amazing foods in the world but not too many realize that not all of these foods are cooked. One of the best things about Mexico (especially for vegetarians) is the large quantities of fruits and vegetables that you will find there. While you will find normal things you could easily get in the United States, such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, watermelon and pineapple, these generally taste better in Mexico. Even better is the wide variety of fruits and vegetables that are almost impossible to find in the US. Some are native to Mexico while others are imported and now thrive, but all of them are truly delicious and worth a try.
Tunas (Prickly Pear)
If you are looking for a juicy treat during the summer months, then tunas (prickly pears) are the way to go. These are the small fruits that grow on cacti and they are either green or purple with small spikes on the skin. Simply peel of the skin and enjoy the sweet, juicy fruit inside. Just so you know here are small seeds inside and those are eaten as well.
Xoconostle (Sour Prickly Pear)
This fruit tastes sour and is commonly used for adding flavor to meat stews. Its appearance is like that of the prickly pear but it is usually lighter in color.
These fruits are generally small, a bit bigger than a golf ball although some are much larger. They generally range in color on the outside from yellow to green and the inside is either yellow, green or maroon. They have small round seeds inside that you eat so the only thing you have to remove is the remnants of the stem.
Guanabanas (soursop) are green and prickly on the outside and white with seeds on the inside. This fruit is most commonly found as a flavor for ice cream, popsicle or “aguas de sabor” (flavored water made by mixing fruit and water in a blender, sometimes with added sugar).
Chirimoya (Custard Apple/Anona)
This fruit is very similar to soursop in appearance but the white inside is sweet and similar to custard. It is also commonly used in ice cream and popsicles.
Saramuyo (Sweetsop/Sugar Apple)
This is another related fruit to the soursop and is most common in Valladolid, Yucatán. The outside is green and scaly while the inside is soft and white.
Mamey (Mamey Sapote)
This fruit is brown to beige on the outside and a bright orange to red on the inside. The fruit is very juicy and like guanabanas (soursops), it is a very popular option for ice cream and popsicles.
Ciruelas de Huesito (Spondias purpurea)
These are plums that are small enough to fit in your mouth whole but contain a pit that should not be eaten. You will find them eaten raw or candied and they are delicious both ways.
Granada China (Golden Passion Fruit)
Although “granada china” translates to “Chinese pomegranate” it is generally referred to as golden passion fruit in English. It has a hard yellow to orange skin but inside it is a gray pulp. Although this fruit looks odd on the inside, it is incredibly delicious and can be easily eaten with a spoon once you open it up.
Lychees are originally from Asia but are now common in Mexico as well. Their outside skin is dark red with bumps while the inside is white, almost clear.
This is another fruit from Asia related to the lychee, but it can vary from yellow to red and is covered in long furs. The inside looks very similar to the inside of a lychee.
This is another fruit that is originally from Asia but thrives in Mexico. It is small and yellow with a pulp that is slightly acidic and can vary between yellow-orange and white. It is commonly made into jellies.
Maracuyá (Passion Fruit)
This fruit is hard and yellow on the outside but inside they have a soft pulp. This fruit is most commonly found in “aguas de sabor”, ice creams and popsicles.
This is a small yellow fruit that is about the size of an olive. It is white on the inside and has a sweet taste. It can be eaten raw or sweetened and will occasionally be used for flavoring. It is more likely you will find this fruit in a market than in a grocery store.
Pitahaya (Dragon Fruit)
These fruits are red with green tips on the outside and a white inside mixed with tiny black seeds. It is much easier to find in the Yucatán Peninsula than in Mexico City. The inside is eaten raw or made into “agua de sabor.”
Piña Anona (Mexican breadfruit/fruit salad plant)
This fruit looks like a narrow cucumber about a foot in length. Although the green skin has scales, they fall off when the fruit becomes ripe. Inside you will find a white flesh with the consistency of custard.
This fruit is mostly found in the southern part of the country as well as the Yucatán peninsula. It is small and oval or round with a brown skin and sweet dark fruit. It is commonly used in mousse and as a spread.
There are two main types of sapote: white and black. The white version has green skin and the inside is white to yellow in color. This one is eaten fresh or made into drinks. The “black” version is actually dark green on the outside and black on the inside. It is best when very soft and is popular in desserts.
This fruit is normally green on the outside and hard and white on the inside. The skin is not eaten, but the seed is edible. This fruit can be eaten raw but is usually cooked as a side dish. There is also a white variety but it is a bit harder to find.
This is one of the most popular vegetables in Mexico. It is the flat, oval shaped “leaves” of the cactus and once the spikes are removed and it is cooked, it can be eaten. It is most commonly mixed with other vegetables and oil and served as a side dish although it can also be cut into strips or cubes and mixed into other food items.