Due to the year-round warm weather, higher humidity and less developed interior, Puerto Rico is an ideal growing region for various fruits that are seldom found elsewhere. For most of these fruits, their rarity on the mainland is due to their short shelf-life, necessitating that they are eaten soon after being picked. With frequent farmer’s markets throughout the island, you are sure to find some delicious, mouth-watering fruits that you cannot buy anywhere else.
Found throughout Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Mamey Sapote is the fruit of the slow-growing Mamey Sapote tree, according to Specialty Produce. Mamey Sapote is a round, medium-sized fruit with a hard brown skin and soft orange-red flesh. The fruit has a unique flavor, with notes of melon, sweet potato and vanilla.
Ice Cream Bean
According to Specialty Produce, Ice Cream Bean, also known as Guama in Puerto Rico, is a strange-looking fruit originally from South America, resembling a large green bean pod when picked. Underneath the hard pod is a soft, white, pulpy fruit wrapped around a black seed. As the name suggests, the fruit itself tastes like vanilla ice cream and melts in your mouth due to its cotton candy-like texture. Ice Cream Bean has a short shelf-life, only lasting a few days at room temperature and only about a week when refrigerated, and therefore is best when consumed fresh.
This short, plump banana is often referred to as an “apple banana” in English (“manzana” being Spanish for “apple”) due to its apple-strawberry-like flavor. Unlike other bananas, Manzano Banana is best consumed when completely black (according to Melissa’s Produce), which may be off-putting for those more familiar with the common, yellow Cavendish banana. Unlike the Mamey and Ice Cream Bean, Manzano Banana (and all bananas) is not indigenous to the Americas, instead being originally domesticated in Southeast Asia.
Pomarrosa, also known as rose apple, is a small, apple or pear-like fruit that originally comes from Southeast Asia, according to Trade Winds Fruit. As indicated by the name, Pomarrosa has a delicate rose-like taste and smell. Like other fruits on this list, Pomarrosa spoils quickly after being harvested and must be eaten or otherwise preserved quickly.
Can’t Wait for a Taste of Puerto Rico?
While Puerto Rico is a growing region of a variety of fruits that are rare in northern climates due to their short shelf lives or difficult cultivation, the island also grows many fruits that are easily procured at your local grocery store. Check out one of our favorite recipes for tropical fruit salad.
Maria’s Tropical Fruit Medley
- 2 bananas (cut into circles)
- 2 cups pineapple (cut into bite-sized chunks)
- 2 cups mango (cut into bite-sized chunks)
- 1 cup star fruit (cut into star-shaped pieces)
- 1 cup strawberries (cut into halves or thirds)
- ¼ cup agave nectar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Place cut fruit in a bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together agave nectar and citrus juices.
- Pour agave/citrus mixture over fruit and stir well. Serve immediately.
If you want to explore all of the cuisine and specialty crops of the Caribbean, look no further than Rincon, Puerto Rico. For beautiful, ocean-side accommodations, book your stay at Maria’s. When you’re ready to stay with us, booking is done through Twin Palms, Maria’s rental, and onsite management. Please visit our booking page on this website to view the availability of Maria’s and fill out our convenient contact form. If you have any additional questions regarding Maria’s, you may call Elizabeth at 787-685-6648 (español: Cristina at 787-449-3673).