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9 Must-Try Ecuador Fruits: Naranjilla, Ice Cream Bean, Tuna…

Posted in: Ecuador Food, Ecuador Travel

Are you planning a trip to Ecuador? Then you need to know these 9 awesome Ecuador fruits. While there are more – these are the must-try fruits (and not surprisingly, my favorites). Enjoy!

Ecuador fruits

Ecuador has all kinds of unique food, from soups and meat dishes to amazing fruits and desserts. Here, you’ll learn about some of the many awesome fruits you’ve got to try on your Ecuador trip.

9 Must Try Ecuador Fruits

In this post, you’ll learn about my 9 favorite Ecuador fruits:

  1. Tamarillo (Tomate de Arbol)
  2. Granadilla
  3. Tuna (Prickly Pear)
  4. Naranjilla (Little Orange)
  5. Platano (Plantain)
  6. Babaco
  7. Guaba
  8. Uvilla (Golden Berry)
  9. Achotillo (Rambutan)

1) Tamarillo (Tomate de Arbol)

In English, this super cool fruit is called “tree tomato”. It’s also known as “tamamoro,” but it is most commonly called “tomate de arbol” which literally means “tomato of the tree”.

As the name suggests, it is much like a tomato with slightly bigger seeds. The egg-shaped fruit has a deep red-orange color and sometimes has darker red vertical stripes. The flesh is red and firmer that your typical tomato.

#MercadodeOtavalo #fruits #tomatedearbol #Tamarillo Solanum betaceum

A post shared by Olga Rodríguez (@olrodriguez_) on


How do you eat a tamarillo? It can be eaten like a kiwi – cut down the middle and scooped out with a spoon – or it can be made into aji, a common (and amazingly delicious) hot sauce. It is also made into juice or spread on toast. My favorite way to eat it is to cut a cooled one in half and sprinkle panela (pure cane sugar) all over it and eat it with a spoon.

What does a tamarillo taste like? It tastes much like a tomato, thus the name. However, it is on the sour side and is slightly denser.


2) Granadilla

This funny fruit is related to the passionfruit, it’s English name is debated. It has been called sweet granadilla, grenadia, passionfruit and sweet passionfruit.

Granadilla fruit Ecuador

The granadilla’s hard shell is orange with tiny light yellow spots. This shell can be cracked, almost like an egg, to reveal the thick white padding that protects the frog-egg-like fruit.  It is much more delicious, though (I’m assuming – I’ve never actually eaten frog eggs).

How do you eat a granadilla? This crazy fruit tastes awesome and can be eaten by

  1. roughly punching it and then sucking the goop off your hands and licking up the juice that has run down and begun dripping off your elbows, or
  2. by cutting it open and eating it from a bowl with a spoon.

It’s your choice – I’m not one to judge. It is also used to make jelly, ice cream, pie, or frosting.

Granadilla fruit inside Ecuador

What does a granadilla taste like? I can say from personal experience that the shell and padding taste rather rubbish. The sweet and sour gelatinous mass which covers each crunchy black seed is translusent with a very slight yellowish tint.


3) Tuna (Prickly Pear)

Tuna is also known as a cactus fruit or “barbary fig.” As you would expect, tuna grows on a cactus and has tiny hair-like thorns, so it has to be picked with tongs, or while wearing thick gloves.

Prickly pear fruit Ecuador

How do you eat a tuna? First, you have to get rid of all those thorns/spines. One way is to use a rag and rub them under water until smooth, or you could use a strong sticky tape to remove the thorns.

After you get all the spiky stuff off, you can cut it open and eat it with a spoon. However, some find this difficult because of the many hard seeds. So another option is to put the peeled fruit in a strainer and mash it up over a glass to make some yummy juice. You do not eat the skin.

Tuna prickly pear cactus fruit juice

What does a tuna taste like? Tuna has a very mild flavor. It tastes like a delicious mix of strawberry, watermelon, and papaya.


4) Naranjilla (Little Orange)

Naranjillas look a lot like little oranges, thus the name. However, the outside is much deeper orange – and the flesh is green.


How do you eat a naranjilla? It is mostly used to make smoothies and juice, as well as to flavor ice cream, my favorite way of having it! Naranjilla juice is a super cool green color, like the flesh.

What does a narnajilla taste like? Sour! I love the flavor, it’s like a mix between rhubarb and lime.


5) Platano (Plantain)

Platanitos / Plantain chipsYou’ve probably heard of this one before. Plantains look a lot like bananas, but they have a distinct flavor.

How do you eat a platano? There are so many ways to eat a plantain! They can be eaten green or nearly black and they can be baked or fried. Here are some of the main ways to eat plantains in Ecuador:

  • Maduros. These are made by frying ripe plantains. Done like this, plantains have a sticky consistency and a sweet flavor. Top with salt, panela, and/or soft white cheese.
  • Chifles. These are made with green plantains and are crunchy and more like potato chips than a banana. I loved to buy them like this covered in lime and salt.
  • Patacones.  These are made using green plantains and are fried in oil and squished until they look like little plantain pancakes.

What does a platano taste like? When ripe, a plantain is sweet and much like a banana. When green, it tastes more like a potato. Because of these different flavors, it is extremely versatile.


6) Babaco

Babaco is a very awesome fruit. It is related to the papaya, but it is yellow-green and star shaped.

A post shared by nbochler (@nbochler) on


How do you eat a babaco? It can be peeled and eaten fresh with some brown sugar (my favorite way). Or it can be stewed and used to flavor juice.

What does a babaco taste like? It has an amazing flavor! It both looks, grows, and tastes very similar to a papaya. However, it’s also said to taste like a mix of strawberry, kiwi, and pineapple.


7) Guaba (Inga)

I love these! In English, they are also known as “ice cream bean,” a very fitting name.

guaba fruit Ecuador

How do you eat a guaba? As you can see from the pictures, the guaba looks quite a bit like a big bean. Split the “bean” open and eat the yummy white fluff that surrounds the black seeds. The green hide and black seeds are not edible.

guaba seeds Ecuador

What does a guaba taste like? As the nickname “ice cream bean” would suggest, the guaba has a very pleasant vanilla ice cream flavor; very refreshing.


8) Uvilla (Golden Berry)

Also known as ground cherry, cape gooseberry, tomatillo, and uchuva. The Spanish word “uvilla,” means “little grape.” These little berries are bright orange and covered in a brown papery shell.

uvilla fruit Ecuador

How do you eat a uvilla? All you have to do is peel off the paper and eat the bright orange berry.

What does a uvilla taste like? The uvilla is related to the Chinese lantern and to tomatoes. It has a similar flavor to tomato, but sweeter.


9) Achotillo (Rambutan)

These things are awesome! Achotillo’s have a really cool red, spiky shell. The fruit inside is translucent with a white tint.

(Nephelium lappaceum) (del malayo rambut, “cabello”) también conocido como #Achotillo O #Rambután.

A post shared by Jaqui Silva Espinel (@jaquisilvae) on

How do you eat an achotillo? Peel off the red skin and suck the jello from the pit. As with a plum or peach, the pit is not edible.

What does an achotillo taste like? They have a really cool flavor, almost the same as a grape but slightly more acidic.

Amazing Ecuador Fruits

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 9 awesome Ecuador fruits. Have you tried any of these? Did I miss your favorite? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Meet the Author

Drew is the daughter of Bryan and Dena Haines. She moved to Ecuador when she was just 8 years old. She now blogs about amazing animals on her site: EverywhereWild.com

1 comment… add one
  • Robbie Jul 17, 2017, 2:43 pm

    My husband and friend are going to Ecuador on a “lookcation” and need to know what immunizations we really need.
    We are leaving the end of Sept. for 14 days.
    Your help is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

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