Take a look at borojo without trying it, and you’ll describe it as brown and mushy.
Take a bite and it’ll suddenly become chocolate-brown and succulent.
The looks and texture aren’t everything. Taste matters too!
Borojo has a decidedly sweet and sticky flavor. However, the fruit also has a tangy taste and notes of tamarind and plum.
Welcome to the ultimate foodie’s guide to one of the most unique and incredible fruits in the world, native to Colombia and Brazil. In this guide, I’ll cover the 101 of borojo, its taste and health benefits, as well as a few tips on how to eat it.
First Things First. What Is Borojo?
Borojo is a small fruit that grows to between 7 and 12 centimeters and has a round shape. When it’s unripe, borojo is green and firm. However, as it ripens, the fruit becomes red-brown, soft, and malleable.
The fruit is often packaged in a small plastic bag since it has a very delicate shape and texture. Inside the fruit, you’ll find more than 600 small seeds encased in a sticky, creamy, and brown pulp.
Sounds complicated to eat, right? Bear with me and you’ll see that it’s not!
Borojo is grown year round and is a tropical fruit that belongs to the Rubiaceae family. The fruits are native to the Amazon rainforest, particularly in Choco, Colombia, and are gathered once they fall naturally from their trees.
Colombia is the largest commercial producer of borojo. The country exports the fruit and ships its pulp worldwide, although it’s most commonly found in Colombia, Panamá, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Costa Rica.
Health Benefits of Borojo
Borojo offers a lot of nutritional value thanks to the many B vitamins it contains. The fruit is particularly rich in niacin, a vitamin needed to keep the digestive and nervous systems functioning correctly.
In addition, borojo contains fiber, phosphorus, and calcium which are important for strong bones and teeth as well as good digestive health. Plus, the fruit contains vitamin C and iron.
Borojo contains a whopping 80% water, which makes it a great fruit for hydration. So theoretically, you can use it as a substitute for your daily dose of water.
Locals use it to perk up the immune system and energy, even to curb hunger. No wonder this fruit has gained an almost cult-like status in the wettest parts of Colombia. Across many centuries, people have used it to whip up skin masks and even to embalm their dead!
Aside from these health benefits, borojo is also said to be an aphrodisiac. (The locals have a telling name for borojo juice: the Love Juice.) In Colombia, the fruit is often gifted on International Borojo Day, February 14th, which also happens to be Valentine’s Day!
That’s a neat coincidence if I ever saw one.
So What Does Colombian Borojo Fruit Taste Like?
Borojo has a high moisture content as well as fairly high acidity and sugar levels. The result is a super-unique fruit that has a sweet-tart flavor.
You’d never guess the tart part just from looking at it, would you?
Because it does have a tart element to it, the fruit is considered fairly bitter. However, it also contains notes of rose hips, vanilla, plums, and tamarind making for a unique taste you won’t find anywhere else.
How to Eat Borojo
Now that you know what’s so unique about borojo, you’re probably wanting to eat it! There are tons of different ways to consume borojo, so let’s check out a few popular methods.
You can certainly eat borojo raw, although it can be a bit bitter. Many people top it with a sprinkling of sugar if they’re going to eat the fruit raw.
Now, if you’ve made it this far through the article, you’ll know that borojo is chock full of seeds. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to deal with them as you’re scooping out the pulp.
Another common use for borojo is to mix it into ice cream. It’s also sometimes frozen into popsicles and fruit bars, making for a tasty treat on a hot day.
Since the soft pulp isn’t the sweetest treat for snacking on, many people blend it into beverages. Chefs combine borojo with spices, water, and sweeteners to make a milkshake-like beverage.
Apart from fruit juice, borojo is sometimes fermented. The fermented beverage is alcoholic and is sold as a type of wine.
If you don’t want to drink your borojo, you can make it into delicious sauces. The acidic flavor makes a great complement to meats. It can also be simmered down into compotes and jellies to make for a sweet sauce.
Some people use borojo as a layering or filling in muffins, pastries, and cakes. Or, they dry it and turn it into a superfood powder that you can then bake into treats or blend it into smoothies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Borojo Fruit in English?
Since borojo is not found in English-speaking countries, there is no official translation for this fruit. However, the word comes from the indigenous Emberá word. In the Emberá language boro means head and jo means fruit, making the English translation Head fruit.
What Is Borojo Used For?
Borojo has a number of uses. In indigenous cultures it is used medicinally and as an aphrodisiac. (Scroll up for more details!) In western society borojo is most commonly blended into juices and smoothies.
Where Can I Find Borojo?
Despite the fact that borojo is sold internationally, the best place to find it is in South American countries. In the United States it’s quite hard to find borojo except in specialty food stores or, more likely, online.
What Is Jugo de Borojo?
If you come across borojo in a restaurant or shop, it’s likely that you’ll find it sold as “jugo de borojo”. This is simply borojo juice, and is one of the most popular ways to eat the fruit.
How Do You Cook Borojo?
Borojo itself is not cooked unless you’re making it into a jam, compote or other type of baked product. The fruit is eaten raw and does not need to be cooked in order to be edible. The most common way to prepare borojo is in fruit juice and smoothies.