The world is home to some truly unique fruits. One of those unique fruits is native to the tropical country of Colombia.
This fruit is called a chontaduro. Despite its limited availability, the fruit is hugely popular in countries where it’s easy to come by.
Chontaduro has a floury, nutty flavor similar to that of sweet potato or pumpkin. The fruit has slight notes of peach that linger on the tongue as an aftertaste.
What Is Chontaduro?
Chontaduros are small, heart-shaped fruits that grow on a variety of palm trees. They are grown in bunches containing between 80 and 100 fruits, and have skin tones ranging from green to yellow to orangey-red.
The skin of the chontaduro is smooth and thin. It’s usually a little bit wrinkled and has a greasy texture. When you open the chontaduro up, you’ll find the meat to be starchy and dense with a small brown seed.
Despite the uniqueness of this fruit, there are actually more than fifty varieties of the fruit. The fruits have hundreds of regional names, including pifa, acana, pejibaye, and pupunha.
Where Does Chontaduro Grow?
Chontaduros are grown in tropical climates year-round, but their peak seasons are in early summer and in the winter. They’re native to Colombia’s Pacific coast but can be found in various parts of both South and Central America.
Chontaduros come in both wild and domesticated dates, with many of the domesticated varieties being tamed some thousands of years ago. Today, however, these fruits are sold at local markets and by street vendors all throughout the tropics.
Colombian, Costa Rican, and Brazilian growers export chontaduros to many other regions including Asia and Europe. Local growers in Panama, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Costa Rica all distribute these fruits domestically as well.
What Does Chontaduro Taste Like?
If you want to try chontaduro for yourself, you might be surprised by the flavor of this unique fruit. Chontaduro has a decidedly nutty and starchy flavor, quite similar to that of squash or pumpkin.
The aftertaste of chontaduros is much sweeter – it provides peach notes, making for a unique eating experience.
For those who choose to eat the seeds of the fruit, you’ll find another unique aspect of this fruit. The seeds of chontaduros, when cracked open, have a white pip that tastes like coconut!
How to Eat Chontaduro
While you can technically eat raw chontaduro, most people don’t recommend it. The raw fruit is unpalatable and extremely bitter, making it an unpleasant snack. However, there are a few other ways that people enjoy eating this fruit.
No matter which method you choose, just make sure to eat them fast. Chontaduros only last for 3-5 days when fresh, so you’ll need to prepare them and eat them fairly quickly.
To prepare chontaduros, you’ll start by boiling the fruit in saltwater. Once the fruit has cooked and softened, you’ll remove it from the water.
Carefully rinse the fruit. Then, using a paring knife, peel the skin of the fruit and throw it away. Slice the chontaduro in half.
You can remove the seed or you can save it to eat with your fruit. It’s entirely edible and can make a great finishing touch to your snack!
Now that your chontaduro is ready, you can add your choice of toppings. Honey and salt, lime juice, condensed milk, and vinegar are all common flavors added to these treats. And, many vendors sell chontaduros alongside a cup of coffee.
If you don’t want to eat boiled chontaduro, you can also prepare them as sauces. After boiling and peeling the fruit, simply add them to a blender with a splash of water.
Blend the fruits until smooth to create a rich puree. The puree can be mixed with spices and other vegetables to create a delicious sauce.
Jellies and Jams
For individuals who want to preserve their chontaduros, there are plenty of options there, too. Many people prepare chontaduros as jellies or jams. These can be either sweet or savory and are used atop bread or rice.
Pickling and Canning
Pickles are another way people like to preserve chontaduro. The fruits are prepared in vinegar and pickling spices and can be stored for months at a time.
Others will can chontaduros or store them in jars with preservative liquid. These can later be used alongside meat dishes or eaten the same way you would if you ordered them fresh from a street vendor!
Other Uses for Chontaduro
The chontaduro fruit isn’t the only useful part of the plant. The plant’s leaves, seeds, and even trunk can all be used in cooking oil, food, and flour.
Outside of uses for human consumption, chontaduro is often used for timber, in medicine, and in animal feed. Since chontaduro has a lot of starch, it’s a great addition to feed for fish, chickens, pigs, sheep, cows, and goats.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve still got some questions about chontaduro, we’re not surprised. These fruits are as unique as the questions surrounding them. Here are the answers to help clear up your confusion!
What is a chontaduro in english?
Although the name Chontaduro cannot be translated from Spanish to English, native English speakers do have their own name for this fruit. Most non-Spanish speakers call chontaduros a peach palm.
What is chontaduro good for?
Chontaduros have numerous health benefits, but what they’re really good for is fun in the bedroom. Chontaduros are said to be a natural aphrodisiac and are often eaten as part of or before a romantic evening.
Where can I find chontaduro?
If you’re wanting to sink your teeth into a chontaduro, you’ll be hard pressed to find one out of South and Central America. In those regions, however, chontaduros are typically sold by street vendors who prepare them for you on the spot.