Fruit in Peru guide
Blessed with extreme biodiversity and the three vastly different climate zones of the coast, highlands, and jungle, Peru is home to a myriad of fruits, some native, others exotic and rarely known in other regions of the world. A visit to any Peruvian market (perhaps during one of our wonderful culinary tours) is the perfect opportunity to see and try some of these special and unique fruits, and below is a guide to a few of our must-taste favorites.
Native to the Amazon regions of Peru, these palm fruits have a scaly, purplish and peelable skin that gives way to slightly acidic yellow pulp. We would highly suggest trying this fruit and other jungle fruits such as copoazu, cocona, guanabana and carambola as part of Chef Schiaffino’s innovative cocktails at the highly recommended Amaz restaurant.
A type of gooseberry, this sweet and tangy fruit has its roots in the Andes and is a powerful antioxidant. Perfect for sauces over fish or meat.
Also native to the Andes and grown in higher altitude locations throughout Peru, the chirimoya, or custard apple, has delicious, creamy sherbet-like flesh – so tasty that even Mark Twain penned it “the most delicious fruit known to man.” Try this one on its own and slightly chilled or as an ice cream.
Also known as “banana passionfruit” because of its exterior resemblance to a banana, open up this fruit to reveal a cluster of pulp sacs with black seeds. Found typically in the Andean valleys of Peru, tumbo is very sour and therefore, most enjoyed in juices perhaps mixed with a little sugar.
Definitely a favorite throughout Peru and found on many dessert menus paired with chocolate, this creamy subtropical fruit is native to the country and was even featured on Moche ceramics in famous burial sites.
This sweet passion fruit has a hard outer shell with a pouch filled with pulp and seeds much like tumbo. You can eat both the pulp and the seeds straight up or perhaps enjoy it in juice, ice cream, or jams.
In the same family as granadilla, the maracuya (my personal favorite fruit in Peru) is a tart version of the passion fruit. The refreshing sourness and its natural sweetness make for a perfect juice. For a lip-puckering and refreshing beverage, try a jugo surtido (mixed juice) of maracuya and pineapple.
Only found in Peru and Brazil, this superfruit is said to have extraordinarily high vitamin C content and tastes like a combination of sour cherry and lime. It is best enjoyed in juices, cocktails, and even used for some natural medicines.
Sometimes called a “tree melon” and another native fruit of the Andes, this unique fruit tastes like a blend of cucumber and honeydew and is certainly worth tasting.
Also not to be overlooked are some of the more familiar fruits like mango and avocado, whose intense flavor and textures are unmatchable by those found exported to the US and elsewhere. As in any case, many of these fruits are seasonal so depending on what time of year you are visiting, you may encounter slightly different flavor profiles or a varied selection.