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Ecuador Fruit
Naranjilla fruits in Ecuador
Tree tomatoes, green maturing to red, egg-sized fruits
Granadilla fruit, Passiflora ligularis.
Lorry loaded with different fruits
Taxo, also known as banana passionfruit
Colourful fruits in an Ecuadorian market

Ecuador has many different fruits, some familiar,
others more unusual.
Tropical fruit treats include granadilla, taxo and mango.




Fruits of Ecuador

Ecuador has a wonderful variety of fruit from the warm tropical and subtropical lowlands and even the cooler sierra region produces several different fruits from the fertile volcanic soil.  Fruits and fruit juice will be an important source of vitamins during your travels in Ecuador.
Pineapples, mangoes, papaya, starfruit, passionfruit and of course bananas are familiar tropical treats.  Granadillas and naranjillas may be less familiar but are no less delicious.  In the highlands, tree tomatoes and taxos may be new to you, but you will soon be offered tree tomato juice or taxo icecream.  Both taxos and tree tomatoes thrive in gardens in Quito.  Apples and peaches also grow in the mountains, in a rather stunted fashion.
Avocado pears are grown in both the costa and the sierra, though avocadoes from the sierra are reputed to be the best.  
Some of the more unusual fruits of Ecuador:
Naranjillas are full of tangy, green juice with a citrussy taste (naranjilla means "little orange").  The bright orange shells are not eaten, just the pulp inside, which in Ecuador is usually used for juice.  The fruits are a little bigger than a golf ball and are covered in hairs until they are ripe, when the hairs can be brushed or rubbed off, which is usually done before they are sold.  The stalk falls off when the naranjilla is completely ripe.  The scientific name of the naranjilla is Solanum quitoense, which literally means "nightshade of Quito" and it is indeed a member of the nightshade family.
Tree tomatoes are actually a member of the potato family, despite growing on trees up to 5 metres high.  The fruits are a little larger than a hen's egg, starting off green and ripening to a deep red or yellow.  They are usually peeled and liquidized with sugar and water to make a tasty fruit juice.  They are also used as a base for spicy chilli sauce.  The tree tomato Solanum betaceum is known in Spanish as tomate de arbol (i.e. tree tomato) and the whole world uses this description except the New Zealanders, who invented the name tamarillo for the fruit.
Granadillas have a smooth, brittle orange shell, about the size of a tennis ball, which is lined with a cushion of white pith covered in soft spikes or fingers.  Break through the shell and pith carefully with your fingers, and you will find a mass of seeds each covered in translucent, jelly-like flesh, which you suck out from the shell whilst trying not to make too many slurping noises.  Although the contents of a granadilla look like frogspawn, they have a delicate, fragrant flavour.  If you can summon up the courage to try it, the granadilla may become your favourite fruit in Ecuador.  The granadilla, Passiflora ligularis, is a member of the passionfruit family and grows in damp, subtropical areas on a type of vine. 
Taxo are also member of the passionfruit family and taxos are sometimes known in English as the banana passionfruit due to their elongated shape, though they are shorter than bananas, less than a hand's length.  Cut them open and scoop out the flesh-covered seeds to eat or cook.  The tangy, perfumed flavour of taxo is too tart for most people's tastes, so is usually used sweetened for juice or ice cream.  Opinions vary about how many species of taxo, or banana passionfruit, there are, Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima and P. tarminiana being a couple of the suggestions. 
In Ecuador fruit and vegetables are important for nutrition, especially if you are on a vegetarian diet.  Some fruits, such as avocadoes, appear in the best of Ecuador's traditional dishes, others are simply served as refreshing juices.


Tropical Fruits of Ecuador
Fruit information.  Fruits available in Ecuador, what they are and how to eat them, fruit recipes and information on some of the more unusual tropical fruits and highland harvests of Ecuador.