One of the highlights of living and traveling in Mexico is all of the mouthwatering, fresh fruit in Mexico that you can try. There are countless varieties of fruit available here and during your time in the country, you are very likely to stumble across things that you never previously even knew existed!
For instance, have you ever heard of a Cherimoya or a Sapote? Didn’t think so.
Different states across the country bear different fruits. They are often used to create smoothies, cocktails, and other Mexican drinks, or even in regional dishes and salsas. Mexican fruits are just one more thing to love about the food and drink culture in this wonderful Latin American country.
19 Types of Delicious Fresh Fruit in Mexico You Have to Try
Mexico is a vast country (the 13th largest country in the world, in fact!) So, it may come as no surprise that the geography and climate vary significantly from one part of the country to another.
There are 32 different states in Mexico and no two states share the same climates. This is actually great from a fruit-growing and agriculture perspective.
For instance, the Yucatan peninsula is extremely hot, humid, and tropical all year round. Meanwhile, Mexico City sees a milder, subtropical highland climate and Chihuahua sees hot summers and cold, dry winters.
In the Yucatan, you will find fruits such as sugar apples, cherimoyas, and coconuts. In Chihuahua and in the Sierra Norte of Puebla, colder-climate fruits such as apples and pears, are grown.
If you head to any local Mercado or supermarket in the country, you will find that the fruit and vegetable aisles are filled with brightly colored fruit in virtually every color of the rainbow.
Papaya is beloved in Mexico and although there is not really any such thing as a national fruit of Mexico, if there were, papayas would be a strong contender. People will often eat plates of it in the mornings – either by itself or served with Greek-style yogurt.
Similarly, when you go out for breakfast and order a fruit platter here, papaya is almost always part of the medley. The fruit, with its yellowy, mango-colored exterior, boasts soft, red fruit inside.
It is soft in texture and has a subtle taste. They are often sold in halves at mercados and supermarkets.
To prepare the fruit, you just need to scoop out the black seeds and then chop the red interior into chunks. As is the case with many fruits, there are many health benefits to eating papayas.
They are filled with antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and E. These are said to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
Guavas are small, round green fruits that grow throughout the states of Mexico that have a tropical climate. Their appearance is like a slightly more rounded lime.
These little fruits grow so abundantly in various places in the Yucatan and in Quintana Roo. You will often note guava trees in peoples front yards, and little guava fruits falling and rolling into the street.
The inside of the guava is bright pink, and its taste is very sweet and pleasant. Think of it as having a taste that is somewhere between a pear and a strawberry, with a little bit of the zesty, tanginess of a grapefruit. You can eat the skin of guavas just like you would an apple, or you can also peel them and only eat the insides if you prefer.
Coconut trees frame many beaches in the Yucatan, along the Mexican Caribbean Coast, in Los Cabos, and in Puerto Vallarta. They provide the quintessential postcard shot of an island paradise.
You will find coconuts sold in all local mercados and in supermarkets. In some tropical beach towns, like San Crisanto in the Yucatan, they are so abundant that you will find piles of recently fallen coconuts all over the floor, ready for the taking.
Street vendors on many beaches in Mexico sell fresh coconut. You will be given a straw (a ¨popote¨) so that you can drink the delicious water within.
When you’re done, the vendor will come back over and chop the coconut into little pieces with a machete so you can eat the flesh inside. This is often then coated with chili powder or chamoy (a somewhat bitter, tangy fruit salsa) for extra flavor.
Star Apple (Caimito)
Star apples, known in Spanish as ¨Caimitos” are a tropical fruit native to the Americas and found throughout the Yucatan peninsula. This fruit is actually quite rare, on a global scale, but you may be lucky enough to see it growing in parts of Mexico.
You can only eat the inside of the fruit, as the skin contains a latex-like substance that irritates your mouth and throat. To prepare star apples, cut the fruit in half, scoop out the seeds within, and eat the soft flesh with a spoon.
If you head to fine dining restaurants in the Yucatan (e.g. Kuuk in the city of Merida), you will find that star apple is often used in recipes. For instance, it is added to fresh summer salads or gourmet desserts, in restaurants that pride themselves in serving traditional dishes with a unique, contemporary twist.
Mamey fruits, known in full as mamey sapotes, are native to Mexico and Central America and are found throughout the Yucatan and the Mexican Caribbean. The fruit has a brown outer layer, and the flesh on the inside is a similar color and consistency to the papaya.
You will find that many drinks and desserts are prepared with mamey in certain parts of Mexico. For instance, in beach towns such as Sisal and Celestun, you will find small independent stores selling mamey ice creams and ice lollies (paletas).
The fruit has a creamy texture that is similar to avocado (which by the way, is also technically a fruit!) The taste is somewhere between that of an apricot, a persimmon, and a sweet potato.
Plantains are grown in abundance throughout Mexico and are as well loved here as they are in other parts of Central and South America. They come from the same family of fruits as bananas but no, they are not bananas.
The taste is somewhere between that of a potato and that of a banana. The fruit basically has the same texture, consistency, and appearance as a banana but without the banana flavor.
They are slightly starchier in texture and it is perhaps for that reason that they are often served in savory breakfast dishes. For instance, when you order egg dishes such as huevos motulenos, or huevos rancheros for breakfast, a few pieces of chopped, fried plantain are often served on the side.
Throughout Central and South America, there are other countries where breakfast dishes focus on plantains as the main ingredients. The fruit can be eaten raw, although it is much tastier when fried and this is the preferred way of preparing it.
Pitaya (Dragon Fruit)
Mexican pitayas, or dragon fruits, are as healthy as they are beautiful and unique looking! There are actually several varieties of the fruit grown on cacti throughout the country and wider Central America.
However, the most common one that you will find is the pink-colored pitaya, with white seeded flesh inside. The obscure appearance and shape of the fruit – pink with pointed green ridges are what led to its name. The fruit is thought to resemble dragon scales.
Pitayas are available throughout the year but the peak harvesting season is in the late summer and early autumn months. At this time, mountains of pitaya adorn the shelves of every mercado and street stall.
The fruits cost around 50-60 pesos a piece in Mexico. However, because they are only grown in this part of the world, they can fetch as much as $35 USD in Europe! Woah!
The fruits have a subtle, sweet flavor and are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium. A rare few people have found themselves to be allergic to the fruit, and this allergy materalizes in the form of a hive-like rash. Still, this is far from the norm, and pitaya season in Mexico is not to be missed out on!
Chocolate Fruit (Sapote Negro)
The Black Sapote (Diospyros nigra) is a tropical fruit found in Mexico, Central, and South America. It is a member of the persimmon family – something that you will immediately note when you first see the fruit.
It almost looks like a persimmon that has gone slightly off! The difference between the sapote negro and a regular persimmon is that the inside is brown, with a rich, dark chocolate color. Meanwhile, the outer skin of the fruit is a pale shade of green.
The fruit takes its nickname ¨the chocolate fruit¨ for its flavor which some say tastes just like chocolate. Its texture is rich, dense, and creamy, almost resembling that of chocolate mousse.
If you have ever eaten prunes or dates, you may find the flavor of sapote negro somewhat similar. The fruit is high in vitamins A and C and due to Mexican traditions and beliefs in some parts of the country, some people who believe in traditional medicine and homeopathy use the fruit to soothe sore throats and aid insomnia.
The soursop is a green, spiky-looking avocado-shaped fruit that grows on flowering evergreen trees in certain parts of Mexico. It is referred to by various different names throughout Latin America. Commonly, graviola, guyabano, and guanabana.
The flesh of the fruit is somewhat sweet and somewhat tart and sour. They are somewhat reminiscent of pineapples but slightly zestier.
You cannot eat the seeds inside soursops. Aside from that, just cut the fruit in half, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon and you are good to go.
When you mention ¨tuna¨ to someone in Mexico, it doesn’t refer to the saltwater fish, it refers to a prickly pear fruit. (By the way, confusingly ¨tuna¨ is a fruit, ¨atun¨ is tuna, and ¨aceituna¨ are olives in Spanish).
These fruits, much like dragon fruits, and other tropical fruit in Mexico, grow on the sides of cacti. They are roughly similar in size and shape to avocados, yet slightly prickly to the touch.
There are actually two variations of tuna fruits: green ones (tunas verdes) and red ones (tunas rojos). You prepare them in a similar way to most fresh tropical fruits: by slicing them in half and preparing the seeded inside into chunks.
The green tuna fruits are the most commonly found and the harvest season runs between July and October. Honestly, tuna fruits have an acquired taste that is perhaps not for everyone.
They are somewhat similar to watermelon, yet a lot meatier and denser in texture. The tuna fruit is considered as being the ancestral fruit of the Nopal indigenous people. The skin of the red tuna rojos was often used to create food coloring or cosmetics.
Meanwhile, the Aztecs would use the fruit to make medicines to heal wounds or lower fever. The fruit contains a lot of antioxidants, and its seeds are great for aiding digestive problems such as constipation, gastritis, etc.
Bananas need no introduction and they are probably one of the most common fruits that you enjoy and encounter regularly. In Mexico, too, bananas make up a big part of the food culture and are regularly included in breakfast fruit platters or used to prepare smoothies.
Mexican bananas are cultivated in 16 different states. Chiapas, Tabasco, and Veracruz are the main growing regions and makeup 60% of the growth.
The small, spiky rambutan is as fun to say as it is to eat. These colorful little red fruits are not native to Mexico – they originate from Southeast Asia. However, they are now commonly found throughout Southern Mexican states.
Despite the small size, rambutans are packed with all sorts of vitamins and nutrients.
The antioxidants contained within them help fight off free radicals and prevent aging.
They are also rich in vitamin C and potassium. Rambutans are ripe and ready to eat when they are red in color.
They start out green when they are growing on the trees and then turn red as they ripen. To eat them, you simply need to cut a slit around the circumference of the fruit and then ¨pop¨ out the circular white fruit within.
Remove the seeds and enjoy! The fruit has a texture similar to that of a grape, and the flavour is somewhere between a grape and a pear.
Some fruits that are grown in the Yucatan, and in other southern Mexican states are referred to by several different names – in English, in Spanish, and in Mayan. The Cherimoya is one such fruit.
It is known as ¨Annona¨ in Spanish and ¨Op¨ in Mayan. This green textured fruit looks somewhat similar to an artichoke.
In fact, if you found yourself shopping for artichokes at a Mexican supermarket or mercado, it would be easy to mistake a cherimoya for one! Few people have heard of Cherimoyas internationally.
However, author Mark Twain apparently once referred to them as being “the most delicious fruit known to man”! The fruit tastes like an interesting tropical mix between a coconut, a strawberry, and a mango.
It can be eaten raw and it is easy to prepare. Simply chop the cherimoya in half, take out the seeds, and cut the flesh inside into chunks.
You will not see these fruits sold all year round. Cherimoya season is usually between September and November.
Pineapples are grown in abundance in Mexico and alongside papaya, watermelon, and fresh melon, they make a popular appearance at breakfast tables. They are also often blended to make fresh juice and smoothies at beach resort towns all over the country, and in Yucatan beaches such as El Cuyo.
Mexico is actually the seventh largest producer of pineapples in the world! 540,000 tonnes of the fruit are produced annually.
A whopping 70% is consumed locally. 5% of the remaining 30% is exported to Canada and the United States.
Mangos, like pineapples, are a contender for being the most popular fruit in Mexico. It is estimated that on average, each Mexican person consumes 11kg of mangos in any given year!
However, mangos are not native to the country. They arrived in Mexico during the Spanish conquest and originate from India and Myanmar.
Fascinatingly, mangos have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. Today, they can be found in most tropical regions of the world.
In Mexico, they grow in the states of Sinaloa, Jalisco, Veracruz, Nayarit, Michoacan, and Chiapas. Today, Mexico is the largest exporter of mangos in the world!
People in Mexico often chop up mangos as part of a tropical fruit platter to enjoy at breakfast time. The fruit can be slippery so the best way to prepare them is to cut them in half.
Then, score along them in a grid-like cross pattern with a knife. Using your fingers, pop out the individual chunks of the mango.
Pomegranates, known locally as granadas, grow in Central Mexico. They are available throughout the year but come into season in the late summer and Autumn months.
Pomegranates can be enjoyed alone as a healthy snack, but they are also often used to cook various national dishes. For instance, chile en nogada is a delicious traditional Mexican dish that is enjoyed around Mexican independence day.
To make it, poblano chilis are stuffed with picadillo and then topped with a walnut-based cream sauce (nogada), parsley, and pomegranate seeds. The green of the parsley and the chili, the red of the pomegranate, and the white of the salsa is intentional to make the dish look like the Mexican flag.
To prepare a pomegranate, cut the fruit into quarters. Then, bite into the juicy, sweet, and delicious seeds inside.
It is better to prepare the fruit in this way, in large quarts, rather than slicing it up further. That way you don’t cut into the yummy seeds.
Sapote (Chico Fruit)
Sapotes or ¨chico fruits¨ are known as Chicozapote or Sapotes in Spanish and Cuyches in Maya. The original name of the fruit was Tzapotlis, in the Nahuatl language.
The fruit is brown and somewhat textured. It grows in abundance in the mangrove regions of the Yucatan. For instance, close to Celestun and Rio Lagartos.
The pulp inside is creamy and tan-colored, with a consistency similar to that found inside avocadoes. It has a unique flavor that exudes notes of cocoa, caramel, and persimmon. The trees that the sapote fruit grows on are also favored by Mayans for the excellent hardwood that they produce.
The Geiger tree is native to Mexico. Its flowers bloom between March and May each year and the fruits grow in the summer. In Spanish, the fruit is known as Ciritote, and in Mayan, K’oopte’.
The fruit tastes somewhat similar to figs and can be eaten raw or cooked. It is often used to prepare jams and marmalades. So, if you opt to stay at any Yucatan haciendas during your time in Mexico, you may find Ciritote marmalade served alongside hot cakes, toast or pan dulces.
Passion fruit is known as Maracuyá in Mexico. It grows in various tropical regions around the country including Oaxaca and the Yucatan.
Various passion fruit varieties exist and the fruit is believed to have originated in Brazil. In Mexico, you will mostly find the yellow and purple varieties.
Both can be eaten in the same way – simply cut or rip open the rind. You can eat everything inside, including the sweet, juicy flesh and the seeds.
Even the white, sticky layer that separates the skin from the flesh is edible. However, it is slightly bitter and tangy to taste so arguably it isn’t for everyone.
FAQs About Eating Fruit in Mexico
Possibly one of the biggest concerns when it comes to fruit in Mexico, is the question of whether it is safe to eat or not. The answer is yes, but with a caveat.
Before you eat any fruit in Mexico, you need to wash it using an anti-bacterial, anti-germ solution. You will find small bottles on sale in Mexican supermarkets such as Walmart and Super Aki, as well as convenience stores like Oxxo.
¨Microdyn¨ and ¨BacDyn¨ are well-known brands. Unfortunately, Mexican fruits, as purchased, may contain bugs and other harmful bacteria. Pesticides may have been used on or around the fruit and this is definitely not something that you want to ingest.
You definitely don’t want to simply rinse the fruit with tap water. The tap water in Mexico is not safe to drink and may be contaminated, or make you sick from ingesting it in itself. (Even locals do not drink it.)
Unfortunately, even bottled water is not enough to rinse off any harmful bacteria or pesticides which may be on the fruits which is why you need to purchase the aforementioned anti-bacterial solutions.
They are fine to consume. However, if you are concerned and prefer to use something natural to wash your fruit, you can always prepare your own white wine vinegar solution.
Keep in mind that this only really applies to fruit and vegetables where you eat the skin. If you are cutting into tropical fruits such as papayas and coconuts, you do not have to rinse them in this solution.
Is it safe to eat fruit in Mexico in restaurants?
If you stay in self-catered accommodation and prepare fruit in Mexico yourself, you know that you are being safe and washing it thoroughly. However, what about when you eat fruit outside?
Obviously, if you eat out in Mexico (or anywhere), you are at the mercy of someone else’s preparation and sanitation methods and you just have to hope that they have washed the fruit for you. For the most part, these people are preparing dishes using locally-sourced fruit and veg every day so it is an automatic thing for them to make sure that they wash it thoroughly.
Many eateries across the country – from restaurants in Merida to quirky cafes in Tulum, often serve fruit dishes. For instance, fruit platters are a popular accompaniment to breakfasts in Mexico and many trendy cafes across the country serve things such as acai bowls and smoothies.
If you are overly concerned, opt to consume only tropical fruits so that you are not eating the skin of anything. Another good practice to follow if you are anxious about getting sick is to check the recent reviews of restaurants on Google and Tripadvisor before you visit.
Have you tried any of the fruit in Mexico mentioned in this article? Which ones were your favorites and which on the list sound the most appealing to you?
Have a wonderful time exploring Mexico! Safe travels! Buen Viaje! Xo