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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Some of the foods we eat in Costa Rica.

It's amazing how quickly two weeks can go by without posting a new entry. A friend of ours had a great idea and put together a compilation of photos of many different types of fruits and vegetables that are commonly found at the farmers market we go to each Saturday. She's allowed me to borrow the pics and we hope you enjoy "seeing" a little bit more of what we are eating down here!!



In some latin countries they call this one pomarosa, but the ticos (the name for the native Costa Ricans) call it manzana which means apple. It tastes kind of like an apple, but is the texture of a ripe pear....it tastes pretty good, especially when it's very red in color and eaten cold. 
This is guanabana. This is another one of our favorites. Our neighbors, the Whittakers, introduced us to this one. It is a very large fruit and is commonly sold in pieces. We bought a blender a few weeks ago and the first thing I made in it was some guanabana juice.
Oh the glory of the mango!  Jim and I eat mangoes almost every day. The mangoes in Costa Rica are large, juicy, and delicious! There are many ways to prepare mangoes (I even made some mango cobbler the other day!) , but we mostly eat them fresh...they are just that good! 
Here's an interesting one. This is called zapote. The ticos love it but, the texture was a little too soft for me. They say it is related to the avocado, but it tastes and looks like a sweet potato.
This is a guava (guayaba in Spanish). And it has been a favorite of my neighbor's since she was a little girl. The guava juice is very good and healthy.
These are quenepas (the ticos call it mamon). Jim actually tried these in the States once as a friend of ours from Puerto Rico had some sent to her. They're nice and sweet and fun to snack on.
The ticos call this one mamon chino. We bought a bag of these at the market last week. They look similar to lychee, but taste very similar to a grape. 
This is cas. It looks like a guava. It smells like a guava. But it is not a guava. The ticos make a juice out of it and add a ton of sugar to it.
This fruit is called tamarindo and if you like Thai food (like me) this is one of their secret, but not so secret, ingredient. I've only ever bought pre-packaged and have yet to buy the real deal...maybe this next week?!
Another amazing-juice-making-fruit. Passion fruit is the favorite among many latinos (says my puerto rican neighbor). 
I was recently re-introduced to this fruit. Many latin countries call it granadilla, but in Ecuador I am pretty sure they call in tomate del arbol. It is very common to see juice made from this fruit in Ecuador...I have to admit, though, it's not my favorite...
I know you can guess the name of this one. This is the star fruit and it is very tangy and used in salads here in Costa Rica.
Everyone knows what this is called. Though you may not realize it, I'm sure you're called it by it's spanish name before if you've ever asked for a piña colada! The piñas here are sweet and juice and they grow very big.
The farmers market sells fresh coconut drinks for about $0.45 each. I bought my first one 2 weeks ago...however, rather than drinking the water I took it home and (with the help of my neighbor) got the husk off and made homemade coconut milk. Admittedly, it wasn't quite as creamy as the canned stuff, but it was fun to try!
Costa Rica also has papayas. They grow huge and many say they are delicious. We know someone with a good recipe for a papaya sauce to go with baked chicken...I'll have to try it sometime soon and let you know what we think.
This is calabaza squash. It is related to the pumpkin but not as sweet. I used it for the first time last night in a puerto rican rice and beans dish that my neighbor taught me to make and it was delicious! I will definitely be purchasing this again.
Green or yellow, plantains are starting to become a staple in our home. Which is good, since plantains and bananas are one of the top produce grown in Ecuador. You can eat them in so many ways. When they are green, they are more like potatoes and when they're super ripe you can fry them up for a sweet accompaniment to many latin dishes.
I was introduced to these a couple weeks ago. They are called hearts of palm. They are great in salads. 
These are called chayote. They are a type of squash. You can boil them, fry them, or make them into a stew. They are kind of bland, but they are very common around here.
Chile dulce or sweet pepper. They are used in practically every recipe here and also in salads. It is similar to the green pepper in the states but sweeter.
These are caribbean scotch bonnet peppers. I know, they have a very long name.  They are a little hot and are used to add flavor to everything that it touches. Just don’t eat the seeds. Last Sunday I made the mistake of adding the entire pepper (seeds included) into a typical costa rican dish called Pocadillo and Jim and I had to get creative to find ways of eating it...way too spicy!
Here in Costa Rica they call this culantro largo. It is similar to cilantro and is a great addition to almost any dish. So GOOD! 
Of course, we can’t forget the one ingredient in every latin dish, cilantro. Also called culantro. It is found everywhere, sold in huge bunches, and very affordable.
And this what a typical Costa Rican lunch looks like. They call this dish a casado. It consists of rice, beans, stew chayote (called picadillo), salad, and some meat or fish. It is sold in most restaurants and small lunch cafes (also called sodas) and it costs about $3.00 for the whole thing. If you don’t mind eating the same thing every day then this makes a very inexpensive way to surviving in Costa Rica.

We hope you enjoyed these pics and that you have a great week!

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