Guide to Spanish Fruit

Once the summer fades in Spain, Autumn begins with a bumper crop of Spanish fruit. When you have fruit trees it seems that the whole crop comes at once. In late september and throughout October we are inundated with quince avocadoes and pomegranates.

In Granada province I have learnt what to do with the surplus fruit and collated some good recipes too.

In this quick guide I outline Seasonal Spanish Fruit, how to prepare it and what nutritional properties each one has.

 

Chirimoya Spanish Fruit

 

What´s a Chirimoya?

  • Spanish name: Chirimoya or Cherimoya
  • English name: Custard Apple (Annona cherimola)
  • Appearance: It´s a  large green tropical fruit. Inside it has white flesh and lots of shiny black seeds. It´s delicate and bruises easily and is in season in Autumn & Winter. Chirimoya is grown locally on the Costa Tropical and in Granada. They produce 50 million kilos every year.
  • How to eat it: Slice in half and eat with a spoon, avoiding the large black seeds.  When overripe they are not very good. Great for smoothies. Locally there is a craft beer made with Chirimoya as an ingredient, brewed by Cervezas Nazari.
  • Good for: Chirimoya have 75% water content and contain vitamin A & C. They also have potassium and antioxidants too. They are recommended for constipation, to reduce stress and are said to be good for skin, teeth and bones too.

Seasonal Spanish Fruit

How to eat a Pomegranate

  • Spanish name: Granada
  • English name:  Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
  • Appearance: This is a large orange or red fruit with a thick skin. Full of bright red seeds inside it´s in season from October to February. Pomegranates are grown locally, in and around Granada province. This spanish fruit is very typical in Autumn especially
  • How to eat: Slice off the top and bottom then break it into 2 halves. Scoop out the seeds and eat them. (See video below) Careful with the red juice, as the stains are really difficult to get out. Eat the seeds alone or make juice from them. Also you can add them into yoghurt or top a salad with them.
  • Recipe: Here a great salad idea with pomegranate: Chickpea and Orange Salad recipe
  • Good for: They could avoid plaque build up on teeth and may even help to reduce blood pressure. Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants and high in fibre too.

The name of the city of Granada means pomegranate. You will see this symbol all around the city.

 

Caqui fruit

  • Spanish name: Sharoni and caqui (Diospyros kaki)
  • English name: Persimmon or Sharon Fruit  (Varieties: Hachiyas and Fuyus)
  • Appearance: Caquis can be pale yellowey orange to deep red color. They look like tomatoes. In Spain they are in season in Autumn.
  • How to eat: With a very ripe Caqui fruit (Hachiya) just lift skin and eat with a spoon. The pulp is almost liquid, like jam and has a very sweet taste. Unriped sharon fruit (Fuyu) can be ripened by storing in a container with alchol, such as aniseed liquor. When ripened they can be eaten sliced. (Do not eat on an empty stomach due to possible reaction with gastric juices.)  The astrigent nature of unripe Sharon fruit is quite unpleasant so it best to try these fruits when ripe.
  • Good for: High in fibre and rich in vitamin C. Caquis may improve metabolism and the body to cope with fat storage. Personally I recommend eating the deep red caqui fruits, They have a wonderful colour and flavour. Be careful not to stain your clothing as it´s very difficult to remove.
  • RecipeSorbet made of ripe persimmons

Caquis fruit in Spain

 

Quince

  • Name in Spanish: Membrillo
  • Known in English as: Quince
  • Appearance: Looks like an Apple but slightly larger. They are in season in Autumn
  • How to eat: Great to make jams and jellies as they are high in pectin. They can be used with apples in crumbles and baked godos to enchance the flavour. They can be roasted in the oven or boiled with cinnamon for a winter dessert. They also have a pleasant perfume that fragrances your home. They are grown locally in Granada province and other areas of  Andalusia.
  • Good for: High in fibre and  antioxidants, supposed to help weight loss too
  • Recipe: Quince Jelly with Cheese

Quince Membrillo Spanish Fruit

How to eat a Prickly Pear

  • Spanish: Higo Chumbo
  • Known in English as: Prickly Pear
  • Appearance: Green, orange or yellow fruits with small seeds. In season in summertime
  • How to eat: See how to prepare them in the video below. Once peeled eat cold from the fridge or use in smoothies. The cactus plant that bears these fruits has lots of fine needles. The fruit also has them too. You must wear thick gloves to pick them and use metal tongs to pull them off the plant to avoid getting these painful cactus spikes in your hands. Once they are peeled the fruit inside of course is spike free.

Higos Chumbos Spanish Fruit

  • You may see street sellers with Chumbo stalls in Septemebr and October. They have done all the hard work removing the spikes.
  • Good for: They contain magnesium and potassium. The fruit has lots of fibre and antioxidants. Prickly pears may help to lower cholesterol

What is a medlar fruit?

  • Spanish: Nispero de invierno
  • Known in English as: Common Medlar
  • Appearance: Small Brown fruit with long sepals, soft pulp inside, similar taste to apple puree.
  • How to eat: Chop off the top and eat the rest. These remind me of crab apples and are in season in wintertime. Once picked from the small tree if must be eaten within one or two days. It doesnt last long.
  • Good for: Rich in Pectin and Vitamin B & C, years ago it was a home remedy to help combat diarrhoea  in children.

Nispero de Invierno Spanish Fruit

What is a Jujube?

  • Spanish: Azoifaifa
  • Known in English as: Jujube or Chinese date
  • Appearance: This reddish Brown Berry looks like an acorn. It tastes similar to an apple and is in season in Autumn
  • How to eat: Eat alone but be careful with the stone in the centre. Although only a short shelf life, once picked only last 4-5 days.
  • Good for:  They are small but have lots of Vitamin C. Supposedly they can ease the stomach and help to suppress appetite

 

Jujube berries Azofaifa

Jujube berries Azofaifa

Avocadoes

  • Spanish: Aguacate
  • Known in English as: Avocado
  • Appearance: An oval shaped fruit with green shiny skin. The flesh on the inside is pale green and has a butter like consistency when ripe. In season from November to January. In Granada province on the Costa Tropical 20 million kilos of avocados are produced each year.
  • How to eat: Apart from making guacamole avocadoes are also lovely in salads. Spreading avocado on toast is also a great way to liven up breakfast.
  • Good for: They have more potassium (per gram) than bananas and are rich in Vitamins B, E & K. They could help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood
  • Recipe: Choose a ripe avocado and slice it in half. The stone should come out easily. Fill the hole with balsamic vinegar and salt. Eat with spoon.

Avocado in Spain Spanish Fruit

Oranges and Lemons

  • Oranges and lemons are plentiful around the South of Spain. Probably the Spanish fruit most associated with Spain, these citrus fruits have a very long shelf life and store well.
  • When they are in season (Winter and Spring) I use them for eating and for a daily juice every morning. If you have surplus oranges you can also make marmalade.
  • Recipe: I also make a herbal infusion from the flowers on the orange tree see the method here: A calming natural tea
  • Street oranges: In Seville Granada and other Andalusian cities you will see Orange trees lining city streets. These oranges are eyecatching but they cannot be eaten. The variety makes a pretty decorative plant but the fruits are not for eating, just for show. The varieties grown for table oranges, for juice or even mandarin oranges are different plants. So dont be tempted to eat one of these street oranges as the taste is quite bitter.

Orange tree in Spain

Seasonal Spanish Fruit

Of all of the fruits I get straight from the campo I don´t seem to have a favourite. Each one of them goes with that time of year. There´s nothing better than a cold chumbo on a hot august day. The sheer joy is having a different fruit each season and revel in the variety of them all. 

Do you have lots of surplus fruit from your garden or trees?

Let me know your Spanish Fruit tricks and seasonal recipes too.