Ecuador’s Exports – Fruit Galore
Ecuador is the place for anyone who loves fruit. Here are so many varieties you may never even have heard of – each delicious beyond words. The country has so many different altitudes that there are wide climatic variations from one part of the country to another. As a result this lovely country grows different fruit from tropical to temperate.
The world’s biggest exporter of bananas, the country has over 125, 000 hectares of land under banana cultivation. Plantains, very similar to bananas also grow here in abundance. The varieties of bananas that are exported to the United States of America, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the European Union are mainly Cavendish, Baby Banana and Red.
Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of passion fruit concentrate. Its unique, aromatic flavor has made the Ecuador passion fruit the most popular in the world market. The tropical climate allows the harvest of the fruit throughout the year. There are two varieties grown here –a purple one is sold in fresh fruit markets. The yellow variety is highly nutritious and used in juices, desserts and cocktails.
Other fruit grown for the export market include melons, pineapple, strawberries and mangoes. Pears, peaches, apples, grapes and plums are grown in the Sierra. Citrus fruit, avocados, mangoes and a wide variety of tropical fruit thrive in the Costa. The colorful local fruit markets are a feast for all the senses. They sell apples alongside pineapples, pears, grapes, papayas, lemons, and mangoes. The various forms of passion fruits, pomegranates, kiwis, kumquats, custard apples, guavas, and tamarinds are other not so common but equally delicious fruit.
Others like tree tomatoes, granadillas, naranjillas, and zapotes are rarely known or seen outside the tropics. The tree tomato is a berry-sized tomato known as tomate del árbol and makes a delicious fresh fruit drink. Hearts of palm are the tender core centers of the young palm trees, known in Ecuador as pejibaye. They are high in fiber and contain no cholesterol. Another unusual fruit is a vavaco, which looks like a papaya but tastes rather like a pineapple. Naranjilla, a greenish orange fruit, a cross between an orange and a tomato, also makes wonderful juice (jugo). Other fruit that make delicious juice are maracuyá, taxo, the white guanabana and mora (blackberries).