Fresh fruit in Ecuador is ridiculous! The variety and abundance defies anything you might find in any other country. This could be the "fruit basket" found in the middle of the world! It's not just bananas, although Ecuador is one of the largest exporters of "organic" bananas. Oranges, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, papayas, and fruits you are familiar with grow in some areas with abandon.
To get a better idea of the diversity, devour the following tidbits about some of the lesser known fruits that could become your most favorite!
At present this fruit is perhaps best known for the juice which has traditionally been used to treat inflammation, dysentery, and skin disorders.
About the size of a tangerine the Mangosteen is also known for it's high content of anti-oxidants which can fight infection, fungus, bacteria, histamines and possibly cancer. This is due to anti-oxidant Xanthone, of which it is reported more than 40 individual types can be found in the mangosteen.
The Dragon Fruit is known by many different names as in Ecuador it is also known as Pitahaya. Perhaps more impressive is the list of health benefits it offers.
It helps to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes, prevent formation of cancer causing free radicals, helps moisturize and smooth the skin and decrease bad cholesterol levels, helps improve appetite, can enhance the body metabolism because of its protein content, helps improve digestion and reduce fat, helps maintain the health of the eyes, strengthens bones and teeth, aids in tissue development, promotes healing of cuts and bruises, and helps improve your memory. Do you think you can remember all this?
Since it is a fruit, it is also used in jams, jellies, many varieties of drinks, even salads and ice cream. What a great way to get healthy!
Borojo is another one of those little known fruits that grows splendidly in Ecuador. As we have discovered with so many fruits it too, offers many health benefits in it's shell.
Native to the Amazon, Borojo has been used as an excellent source for enhanced immunity, the nervous system, counteracts stress, depression and heart disease. It is very high in protein, and vitamin B which is good for the metabolism, healthy skin and muscles.
The high phosphorous content is great to maintain strong teeth and bones. This fruit is so high in amino acids it's like eating three pounds of meat! Pretty impressive for a fruit.
The pulp of the Guanabana can be used for juices, sherbets, and smoothies, even though it has a rather tangy and sweet taste. It can also be peeled and eaten, but some just can't get past the sour taste.
As a fruit, Guanabana may not be exceptional, but it certainly has an extended history of use in ancient and now modern herbal remedies. In early times, the leaves of the Guanabana were used for tea to reduce swelling of the mucus membranes or to treat liver disease. The black seeds were often crushed and used as a vermifuge, or as a purge for intestinal worms. Yeah, it may not the most attractive description for a fruit but there you have it.
Any part of the tree might be ground and used as a sedative or as an anti-convulsant. Native Ecuadorians have used the fruit to reduce joint pain, treat heart conditions, as a sedative, to induce labor, or to reduce coughing and flu-like symptoms.
Perhaps the most unlikely and hidden benefit of this fruit, which has been the subject of much study, is it's ability to target only malignant cancer cells, thereby protecting the healthy cells in a cancer patients body.
However, since the primary parts of the fruit that were isolated in studies by major drug companies could not be duplicated, thereby prohibiting a patent, all the research and information were shelved and never released to the public.
Nature's cure for cancer? Maybe, yet this information is still basically unknown up to now. How's that for a Super Fruit!?
The Rambutan is perhaps one of the more unusual fruits found in Ecuador.
Rich in sugar, mostly fructose and sucrose, but less in calories. The Rambutan has an abundance of vitamin C, with potassium, iron, beta carotene or vitamin A, and a little calcium, magnesium zinc, sodium, niacin, fiber and protein.
It has been used as a treatment for diabetes (even with the high content of natural sugars which are not stored by the body), hypertension and various ailments because of the high content of anti-oxidants. Eating this fruit has been claimed to help kill intestinal parasites, while helping to relieve symptoms of diarrhea.
Again, while that may not sound pretty, these are some of the huge health benefits attributed to this amazing fruit!
These are just a few of the fruits of Ecuador. There are many more. To name just a few there is the Taxo, Tree Tomato, Pacay, Heliconia and Guama. It's one thing to see and know, and quite another to "taste!"
In the American culture fruits such as these have been consumed for their fruity value, and not so much for their health benefits. Some of the healthy properties were completely unknown except where indigenous people had used them for medicinal purposes hundreds of years ago.
With the advent of "modern medicine" and drug companies, much of the "natural" remedies have been hidden from public knowledge in favor of profits, as the ability to duplicate certain elements of these fruits could be done and patents created to protect those potential profits.
So, what is the value to you of healthy, "exotic" fruits in Ecuador? Guess that's up to you to discover as you explore the fruits and "Wonders of Ecuador!"
Just in case you missed all the links above, here they are again.
Still one of the most popular exports of Ecuador. Shipments of Organic Bananas are one of the highest in Latin America.
Heliconia Fruit from the Amazon region of Ecuador.
Noni fruit is found in many exotic climates in the world, including Ecuador!
Although native to Peru, the Lucuma is also found in Ecuador's highlands.This fruit has a taste some believe to be close to pumpkin, while others savor notes of caramel.
The Tree-tomato has always been an interesting fruit. Even though it has a resemblance in taste to a vine grown tomato, it grows on a tree.
The Pacay fruit is confused many times with the Guava, as they look similar.
Guava and Pacay look similar but are none the less different!
Papaya is a well known fruit in the U.S. and is abundant in Ecuador.
Is it passionate or just sweet. Find out more about the Sweet Passion Fruit or Granadilla!