fruits in costa rica

Did you know that Costa Rica is filled with unique fruits you’ve probably never seen before? It’s true! One of our favorite things to do when we have guests is to introduce them to crazy fruits in Costa Rica. It’s fun to see their responses to different tastes and textures. We highly suggest at least trying one fruit you’ve never seen before while in Costa Rica.

Fruits in Costa Rica – Maracuya

fruit in costa rica

If you haven’t eaten maracuya at least some point in your life you’ve maybe heard of it before. It is a great source of antioxidants and vitamin C.

English Name

Passion Fruit

How to Eat it

We like to make juice out of passion fruit. In fact, we almost always have a pitcher of it in our fridge. To make this juice we scrape the insides of the fruit into our blender. We then blend it on high until completely blended. The next step is to strain out the juice from the seed bits.

We have a metal strainer with really small holes that we use. Usually, we just put a large bowl underneath the strainer to capture all the juice. When most of the juice is through I use a wooden spoon to scrape along the bottom of the inside of the strainer to get all the juice out.

We then pour this juice in a pitcher, add some sugar, and add some water. We don’t have an exact measurement but just add each in small increments until it tastes great!

Pro Tip: You can make great cocktails like passionfruit margaritas with this. 😉

I have also heard of people putting passion fruit seeds in salads to add a fruity taste with a bit of crunch

Fruits in Costa Rica – Cas

fruit in costa rica

English Name

Sour Guava

How to Eat it

This is most commonly used in juice here in Costa Rica. The juice is made the same way we talked about making passion fruit above. Often if you go to a restaurant for breakfast they will give you a fresh juice to go with your meal. I’d say at least 50% of the time this juice is sour guava juice.

I have also heard that this is tasty to eat as just a fruit with salt on it, but we have not tried that out yet.

Fruits in Costa Rica – Granadilla

fruit in costa rica

English Name

Google is insisting that the translation would be passion fruit. It may be a strand of passion fruit, but this is completely different than the passion fruit we wrote about above.

How to Eat it

This is by far my favorite food to make people try when visiting! They look on their faces is always priceless. It is also going to be really fun to describe how to eat this to you without it sounding really weird.

Anyway, what you need to do is peel a little more than half the shell off. The fruit inside looks like a sack of brains (told you this would be fun to describe). Bite into the sack and it’s very juicy with little seeds. You can suck on them a bit and then swallow it all. Don’t chew the seeds because they are a bit bitter.

If you try this, definitely report back! It’s a tasty fruit, just really weird to eat at first. 🙂

Fruits in Costa Rica – Pejibaye

pejibaye

Pejibaye is a red or orange fruit grown in clusters on a really tall palm tree. I saw a documentary of the harvest process recently and it was an interesting scene. Basically, a really long poll with a large blade on the end is used to cut off the clusters. You, of course, have to be extremely careful because large clusters of fruit are falling directly at you from high above.

English Name

I can’t find a different word for this so we are going to just stick with pejibaye.

How to Eat it

If you buy pejibaye it will almost always come already boiled in a light brine. If not, you need to boil it for a couple of hours before it will be ready to be eaten.

You then need to peel the skin off on the outside. It’s not easy to peel so you’ll definitely need a good peeler. Next cut up the fruit into large slices. You can then add mayonnaise or Natilla (basically a Costa Rican version of sour cream) on them and enjoy.

I love pejibaye! It has a texture of a baked sweet potato but with a bit more nutty taste. I could eat these all day if they weren’t so much work to peel! Usually, I try to make Thomas do it for me.

Fruits in Costa Rica – Manzana de Agua

farmers market

English Name

Malay Apple

How to Eat it

Just bite on in and enjoy! There is a pit in the middle like an apple. This is one of my favorite fruits in Costa Rica and I now eat these in place of apples. They are just really easy to eat and don’t fill me up too much like apples tend to do. They taste like a cross between an apple and a pear but can be a bit more bitter.

Fruits in Costa Rica – Guanabana

fruit in costa rica

Want a fun Spanish word to say? How about “guanabana”? It’s definitely one of my favorites! This fruit can be a bit sour, but with some sugar it is amazing!

English Name

Soursop

How to Eat it

This fruit is most commonly used for smoothies or juices. You can eat the fruit as is, but it’s a bit stringy. I think having it blende with milk is definitely my favorite. It’s super tasty and the creamy texture makes the perfect milkshake.

Fruits in Costa Rica – Rambután

fruit in costa rica

How weird do these look? The first time I saw them all I could think of was those Koosh balls. Do you guys remember those from back in the day? Anyway, these are actually a member of the leechee family. They are super tasty and definitely worth picking up if you see them while in Costa Rica.

English Name

Rambutan

How to Eat it

I like to just eat them as is. Just use your fingernail to peel off the skin and you can pop the white interior right in your mouth. Yum! Buy a bag of them and you’ll be snacking for hours.

Fruits in Costa Rica – Guaba 

guaba costa rica
Photo credit: David Janvrin https://goo.gl/Zvw8da

“What is that weird dried bean?” is what I thought when I first saw guaba. We had to buy it and try it out.

English Name

Ice-cream bean (is that not the best fruit name you’ve ever heard?)

How to Eat it

I’ll be honest, this is worth trying, but I suggest only buying one. It’s not a fruit you get much out of. What I mean is, in order to consume this fruit you have to break the outer shell open which will reveal white little fruits inside. Each of these fruits is mostly just a giant seed with some furry (furry is not a word that makes it sound appetizing at all haha, but I don’t know how else to describe it) white fruit on the outside. What you do is pop a fruit in your mouth and suck as much juice out of the furry fruit before spitting it out.

It’s just a lot of work for very little return.

Fruits in Costa Rica – Mangostán

fruit in costa rica

We love this fruit because not only do they look call and taste great, but we have also had good experience with them lasting for a week or two. We love to buy crazy fruits in Costa Rica but we can be bad about eating them quickly. Also, this fruit is sweet and unique.

English Name

Mangosteen

How to Eat it

The shell of the mangosteen us really hard. The best way to eat it is to use a knife to cut the fruit in half and then peel off the top half of the fruit. You will then be left with something similar to the picture above. Peel off the bottom half and then you have just the edible fruit left. Peel the fruit apart and eat each piece separately. The larger pieces will have a seed in them (which you should spit out), but the smaller pieces are just pure goodness.

Fruits in Costa Rica – Pitahaya

dragonfruit

The hipster of fruits! These are not only beautiful, tasty, but also expensive and rare as far as Costa Rican fruits go. By rare I mean they can only be harvested in late summer/ early autumn. If you are active on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen some perfect pictures of people eating these.

English Name

Dragon Fruit

How to Eat it

You can use dragon fruit in many different ways, but our favorite way to eat it is by keeping things simple. Just cut the fruit in half, grab a spoon and eat the inside of the fruit. It’s soft and oh so tasty!

Fruits in Costa Rica – Cacao

cacao pods

I’m pretty sure all of you have had this in another form in your life. Any chocolate lovers here? We saw cocoa at our local farmers market and had to buy some. I mean, how cool is to hold the bean where tasty chocolate comes from? After buying these we realized we had no idea what to do with them.

English Name

Cocoa

How to Eat it

You can cut the fruit lengthwise and remove the pulp. You can either dry, grind, or roast the seeds and use them as cocoa powder in various recipes. If you try this out let us know how it went for you.

If you want to try cocoa in an almost pure form, we suggest going on a chocolate tour. We personally love the tour at Rainforest Chocolate Tour in La Fortuna. It’s super informative and includes all the chocolate you can eat. I mean, what’s not to love about that?!?

Fruits in Costa Rica – Where to buy these fruits?

farmers market

Our favorite place to get crazy fruits in Costa Rica is at our local farmers market. The farmers market near our house in San Jose is open every Saturday morning. We love going because it is such a fun atmosphere. After living here for two years we know exactly which vendors to go to to get all of our weekly essentials. However, we also always try to buy one “weird fruit of the week” as we call it.

Usually, we buy things which we have no idea how to eat. We always send pictures to one of Thomas’s colleagues from Costa Rica to get all the info on that particular fruit. It’s always interesting to hear her responses of what needs to be done to consume things.

famers market

If you would like to visit a farmers market while you are visiting (which we highly recommend) you should ask at your hotel where and when the local market is. Almost every town has a market at least once during the week.

Another option is to stop at the fruit stands you might see along the highway. These are sometimes a bit more expensive than the farmer’s markets and we have found they tend to not have such a wide variety of fruits, but sometimes you’ve got to take what you can.

We also like to stop at the individual fruit sellers you will see along your drives throughout the country. It’s not unusual to see someone with a small table set up on the side of the road selling some fruit. Just pull your car over and buy some!

You can of course always buy fruits at any supermarket throughout the country but they tend to be much more expensive and don’t have the varieties that the farmer’s markets tend to have.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, another common place to try these fruits is in restaurants for breakfast. Usually, you will have the option of getting your fruit juice in water (en agua) or in milk (en leche). I usually opt for the water (it’s more like blended ice), but in milk is really tasty as well.

Have you tried any of these crazy fruits in Costa Rica? Tell us your favorites! If you have any questions about any of these fruits just leave them in the comment section below and we will help you out!

 

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Have you tried these fruits before? There are so many unique fruits in Costa Rica which you've got to try. Find out our favorites! #CostaRica Have you tried these fruits before? There are so many unique fruits in Costa Rica which you've got to try. Find out our favorites! #CostaRica

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