Things you get to eat when you live in Costa Rica

We are often asked what kinds of food do we eat in other countries so I thought it would be pretty cool if I just showed you. Here are some things that we get to see and eat here in Costa Rica.

In Puerto Rico, we call this one pomarosa, but the ticos (the name for the native Costa Ricans) call it manzana which means apple. This is one of the favorite fruits in our home. It tastes great, especially when is very red in color and eaten cold. Jake seems to really love this one.

This is guanabana. This is another one of our favorites. Isabela loves the guanabana. The guanabana juice is probably one of our favorite fruit juices. This might not be the prettiest fruit in the garden, but it certainly is delicious!

Of course, we have an abundance of mangoes here. The mangoes in Costa Rica are HUGE!  And they are juicy and delicious too. I am finding so many ways to have mangoes and my newest discovery is pancakes with mangoes and bananas and whip cream on top for breakfast.

This is called zapote. The ticos love it but, we weren’t too crazy about it. They say it is related to the avocado, but it tastes and looks like a sweet potato.

YUM! This is a guava (guayaba in Spanish). And it has been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. The guava juice is very good and healthy.

These are quenepas (the ticos call it mamon). They are sweet and juicy and make a great snack. They are also a great alternative to popcorn when you are watching a movie. 🙂

The ticos call this one mamon chino. I’ve never seen them before. They are similar to the quenepas but scary looking and sweeter. I personally like the quenepas better.

This is cas. It looks like a guava. It smells like a guava. But it fooled me. It is not a guava. In fact, it is very acidic and I didn’t like it. The ticos make a juice out of it and add a ton of sugar to it.

This ugly looking fruit makes the most delicious juice and the most tasty dressings and the most amazing dips in the world world. It is called tamarindo and if you like Thai food this is one of their secret but, not so secret ingredient. I grew up with tamarindo and whenever I have the choice, tamarindo juice is my pick.

Another amazing-juice-making-fruit. Passion fruit is the favorite among many latinos. We all love it in our home. Even my gringo husband loves it.

We just recently learned about this fruit. It is called granadilla. When I first saw it I thought it was a mango, but it is related to the passion fruit. It is sweeter than a passion fruit and looks just like it on the inside.

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. Well, I will tell you the Spanish name for it is, piña. The piñas here are sweet and juice and they grow very big.

We have a coconut almost every week. Well, at least the water. They sell it at the market for about $0.45 each. I am planning on starting Jake on it to see if he likes the water. Yes, it is called water not milk. Milk is what you make out of the pulp. 🙂

Costa Rica has the sweetest papayas I’ve ever tasted. They grow huge and they are delicious. I love to make them into dips for chicken tenders and also into baby food for Jake. He loves the papayas.

This is calabaza squash. It is related to the pumpkin but not as sweet. I use it in my beans and stews to add thickness and sweet flavor. They are also Jake’s favorite when I puree them.

Green or yellow, plantains are staple in our home. I make some good pastelon or pionono which is an incredible Puerto Rican dish with these babies. We love plantains.

I was introduced to these by the wife of a student at the institute. They are called hearts of palm. They are great in salads. So far, I have added these to practically every salad that I’ve made here in CR.

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.

I call this recao but, in Costa Rica they call it culantro largo. It is similar to the cilantro and my secret ingredient in my Puerto Rican beans and stews.

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. Buen provecho amigos!–Maria

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