5 delicious, rare Dominican fruits you never heard about
One of the best things about being on a holiday is trying the local produce. Like we explained in our article on organic in the Dominican Republic. Of course, it depends on where you’re from, but chances are that some of the local delicacies you find in the Dominican Republic are totally new to you! So let’s talk about one of our biggest export product aside from cacao and coffee beans and spices: fruit. Dominican fruits come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and might have a different taste and smell then what you’re used to. But believe us: they definitely add to your Caribbean diet!
The Anonna, also called Annon in Taíno, is a part of the sugar apple (or custard apple) family. You can recognize them by their green, leathery and thick leaves (although some of them have soft and hairy leaves that are lighter in color). The inside is pale and the heart consists of seeds in a star-like shape. They are beautiful, but also very tasty and nutritious! The taste can be best described as a light creamy custard, and the flesh has a soft, oily texture. The Anon goes very well as the heavier, fruity base of a smoothie. Mix it with some mint and coconut to get a fresh combination!
Health benefits: The Anon is rich in vitamin B1, B6 and C. It is also a good source of potassium, which lowers blood pressure and helps strengthen your bones! Yes, Dominican fruits are actually good for your health.
The tamarindo, or tamarind, looks a bit like a gigantic bean or a nut, as it grows in a brown, hard pod on a tree. But unlike a nut, the inside of this fruit is more like a mashed pulp. Although that sounds a bit weird, it’s definitely edible and very nutritious! Do make sure you get a ripe one, which has a much sweeter, softer taste than a young tamarind fruit. In the Dominican Republic, tamarind juice is a very popular, refreshing drink that you can recognize by its light brown/reddish color. Tamarind is also used to make a local dessert: Bolitas de Tamarindo, also known as tamarind balls!
Health benefits: Tamarind is a good source of vitamin B1, iron and magnesium. It’s also been used as a folk-medicine for ages, to relieve constipation and help the digestive tract.
Not to be confused with the Italian lemon liqueur Limoncello! No, this fruit has nothing to do with lemons at all. When it comes to its looks, it has the size of a large grape, but its skin is hard and green. What you find inside may come as a bit of a surprise: its flesh is soft and a beautiful orange pink. Don’t judge a book by its cover! And yes, it sounds a bit like a lychee, and that is exactly how you eat them: bite off the flesh around the stone. You will taste a mixture of tarty and sweet, which gives it a refreshing taste. The limoncillo also know as quenepa is an easy snack, often sold at beaches in Punta Cana. So be on the lookout if you want a healthy after-swimming bite. Good you’re not wearing anything on the beach, because (warning!) they leave nasty stains on clothes!
Health benefits: Limoncillos are rich in phosphorus, and help build strong bones and teeth, filter out waste in kidneys and reduce muscle pain after exercise!
The mamey sapote is an oval-shaped, brown fruit that grows on an evergreen tree. It’s rough skin feels a bit like sandpaper, but the flesh is soft and is an orangey pink. Much is said about the flavor, but most people describe the taste as a mixture of sweet potato, pumpkin, honey and even cherry and almond! The texture is deliciously soft and creamy, which makes it an excellent base for a filling, but fresh fruitshake or smoothie. But you can also eat it raw, for example in a nice fruit salad!
Health benefits: This wondrous fruit is a good source of vitamin B6, C, and E, but also rich in potassium, riboflavin and dietary fiber.
The Carambola, a.k.a starfruit, strongly resembles a star when cut. But just by hanging from a tree they look magnificent too! With their distinctive ridges on the sides and their yellow to light green gradient color, they’re almost too pretty to eat. Still, we think you should, and amazing thing about this fruit is that you can eat the whole, entire thing! The skin is soft and waxy, and the flesh crunchy and juicy. And because their taste is not too sweet (sometimes even a bit tarty), this fruit makes for a refreshing and filling treat. They’re often compared to a mix of apple, pear, and grape with a hint of lemon, but that description doesn’t quite cut it. You’ll have to taste it yourself! They’re often used eaten out of hand, but Dominicans also make juice, relishes and homemade desserts out of them.
Health benefits: Carambola is rich in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C and low in sugar and sodium.
Where to get these Dominican fruits in Punta Cana
After all of this, we understand that you want to taste some of this fruity goodness! There are plenty of options to find them. Of course, you can do your own fruit picking, but there are fruit stands everywhere in Punta Cana! You’ll bump into them on the side of the road, and they are often sold on beaches. You can also visit the Punta Cana farmers market every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, located in Punta Cana village. Here you can not only buy the fruits but also taste some of the fresh juices they make for you on the spot. And now that you know about these exotic Dominican fruits, you can mix and match your own drink! Find out more about the Punta Cana Farmers’ Market here.
Are you going to try one of these Dominican fruits? Which one is your favorite? Let us know @bestofpuntacanaofficial!
Photo: Women Fitness.net