19 Unique Brazilian Fruits You’ll Want to Travel For
There are 300 native Brazilian fruits, which makes it reason alone to visit this incredible country.
Although I’ve traveled through most of the countries in the Americas, there is something grand and iconic about Brazil.
It is a massive country in the middle of Latin America. But don’t make the mistake I did and think you can speak Spanish there – they speak Portuguese in Brazil.
But the people are friendly, the food is incredible and there are fruits in Brazil like none you’ve seen anywhere.
I always travel with a food list when I go to a new country because I don’t want to miss anything.
I had so many great conversations with locals when I whipped out my list of Brazilian fruits.
They helped me understand the geography and season of the country and shared how they prefer to eat them.
I know it seems strange but having a list of food you want to try is an easy way to make friends.
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The cashew fruit absolutely blew my mind! I first discovered it visiting the Sao Paulo market with my friend, Angela Goldstein, who runs a food blog in Brazil.
I had no idea the cashew nut was attached to a fruit!
Native to northeastern Brazil, the cashew nut has been exported by Portuguese colonists starting in the 1550s.
It continues to be one of the country’s most abundant produce.
In fact, the largest cashew tree in the world called “Cajueiro de Pirangi” is found in this part of Brazil.
It covers 7,300 square meters of land or equivalent to 70 normal-sized cashew trees.
This is ONE tree!
This Brazilian fruit looks like a yellow apple or pear with a protruding green nut at the bottom.
But here’s the thing: the cashew nut is actually not a nut but a seed from the cashew fruit.
This cashew pulp is often processed as a liquor or fruit drink. The nut is usually harvested, roasted and enjoyed as a snack.
Castanha de caju glaceada or glazed cashew nuts is a popular snack in Brazil.
It is also used in a lot of local recipes like sautéed okra with cashews, Brazilian cashew nut patties and Brazilian vegan stew with cashews and coconut milk.
Cagaita or cagaiteira is a citrus-like fruit that’s native in Cerrado on Brazil’s central savannah region.
You’ll also find cagaita trees grown in the states of Sao Paulo, Goias, Mato Grosso do Sul and Bahia. These regions have ideal temperatures and altitudes.
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The cagaita fruit looks like an orange from the outside. But it resembles a peach with a white pulp once you slice it.
Cagaita ripens between September and December. They start falling from the tree when fully ripe just as the rainy season begins.
Cagaita is used in jams, sherbets, sweets and beverages. Cagaita can also be eaten raw, although you need to be mindful because too much consumption can have laxative effects.
This explains the name eugenia dysenterica, seriously go easy on it!
Some call it the tree of life because of its many health benefits. Buriti is one of the most popular Brazil fruit trees.
The palm tree is abundant in South American countries like Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.
Buriti can easily be mistaken for chestnut because of its color and shiny scales.
The fruit grows from December to June can be eaten raw. It is also used to make jam, ice cream, juice, fermented wine and a wide variety of desserts and snacks.
Buriti oil is also a very popular ingredient in skincare and cosmetic products.
It has been proven to restore the skin’s elasticity, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, lighten dark spots from sun exposure.
It can even relieve skin conditions like rashes, roughness and irritation.
You will find buriti oil in a lot of facial moisturizers, facial cleansers, lip care and hair care products in Brazil.
Cupuacu is known as the national fruit of Brazil.
Cupuacu is most abundant in the Amazon basin. Although it is also cultivated in the northern Brazilian towns of Amazonas, Amapa and Para.
It is related to the cacao tree. Cupacu pulp is widely consumed in Brazil and other parts of South America. It is used for snack bars, ice creams, sweets and other products.
Once fully ripe, cupuacu falls from the tree and opening it. You’ll see a white pulp that smells like pineapple and chocolate.
It has a distinct sweet and tangy flavor profile that resembles that of a melon, pear or passion fruit.
Brazilians love to eat cupuacu raw, although it is now used in different applications including jams, sweets and snacks.
Cupuacu butter is also very popular in Brazil because of its low melting point. Its soft texture resembles white chocolate.
Locals also use cupuacu for recipes like “crème de cupuacu” and “mousse de cupuacu.”
The Brazilian fruit is also now being used in skincare and cosmetic products for its many health benefits.
In the Atlantic forest of southeastern Brazil, you will find the Campomanesia phaea plant that bears the cambuci fruit.
It is also grown locally in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Parana.
Cambuci looks like a green alien spaceship with its ovoid-rhomboidal shape divided in the middle by a horizontal ridge.
The name cambuci was derived from the native Tupi word that means “clay pot” or “funerary urn.”
This fruit used to be very abundant in Sao Paulo and one of the city’s old neighborhoods was renamed cambuci.
Cambuci ripens from January to April where you’ll see a tiny hint of yellow on it skin.
The fruit tastes like a lemon with its sweet yet acidic flavor. It is why it’s not usually eaten raw.
Cambuci is most popularly known for being added to cachaca liquor. But it’s also used in several Brazilian recipes like jams, sauces and Brazilian drinks.
Up close, the guarana fruit looks like a cluster of coffee berries with eyes on them.
The fruit got its name from the Brazilian indigenous people’s term guarana, which means “fruit like the eyes of the people.”
This Brazilian fruit really looks like eyeballs from afar.
This plant is native to the Amazon basin and it is highly coveted for its fruit. It has many health benefits like improving focus and memory, reducing fatigue and even promoting weight loss.
The guarana seeds is also believed to contain up to six times more caffeine than your regular coffee beans.
Maybe now this fruit sounds a bit familiar, because it’s a popular ingredient in many energy drinks.
Brazilians also prefer herbal teas with guarana than coffee for their caffeine fix.
As Brazil is the third largest consumer of soft drinks in the world, many soft drinks are made from crushed guarana seeds.
In fact, it’s common to hear guarana as a synonym for soft drinks in Brazil.
Graviola is one of the tropical fruits of an evergreen tree that’s commonly propagated in tropical countries like Brazil.
These Brazilian fruits are highly regarded for its medicinal benefits. You can find graviola in many countries in Latin America, widely known as guyabano or soursop.
No matter where you go, locals will share stories of how it is a popular alternative treatment to cancer and other medical conditions.
However, there are still no medical evidences to prove these theories.
Graviola smells like a pineapple but tastes like a soft apple or strawberry with some sour citrus notes at times.
It also has the same creamy texture as banana. This is why it’s used in a lot of shakes, smoothies and even tea.
Some Brazilians also use the pulp for ice cream and other frozen desserts.
Although guava is originally from Mexico and Central America, it flourishes in Brazil.
It has become a popular fruit know as goiaba.
Like many Brazilian fruits, it is considered a super food. And for good reason as it’s high in vitamin A, C and lycopene.
It tastes a bit like combining strawberry and pear. It is very refreshing and is common to have in Brazilian drinks and ice cream.
In Brazil they also make a guava paste or jam, similar to what is used in Cuban desserts. It is used in Brazilian pastels and other desserts.
It’s so popular that you can also find commercial versions if you don’t want to process your own.
Native to Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Goias in Brazil, jabuticaba or the Brazilian grapetree is a purplish-black fruit that’s almost similar to mangosteen.
The tree itself can grow as high as 15 meters. The fruit is unique in that it grows directly from the trunk and not its branches.
The jabuticaba fruit is common in a lot of markets in Brazil. It is either eaten raw or made into tarts, jams, wines and liqueurs.
Jabuticaba is also rarely exported due to its extremely short shelf life.
This means that you won’t find it in any other country except for where it’s locally grown.
So this Brazilian fruit alone is worth a trip to the country.
One of the fruits in Brazil that you may have eaten in another tropical climate. It’s either a vibrant pink colour, or bright yellow with white exterior.
And it’s exterior kind of looks like dragon skin, although in many non-English countries it is called pitaya. And in Asia it is called strawberry pear.
The look of the fruit is much more exotic than the flavour.
But it is a refreshing snack. You can usually find it cut up and served in snack cups on the street in Brazil.
Dragonfruit is high in antioxidants but also prebiotics, which helps with gut health – something you need when you’re planning to try lots of different flavours while traveling.
Native to the Amazon forests, jenipapos are small, strange Brazilian fruits.
Jenipapo is actually a type of berry that grows from the size of a tennis ball to a melon.
You could easily be mistaken as rotten because of its brown color and somewhat dry texture.
Because of its odd smell and taste, jenipapo is used mostly for syrups, liqueurs and compotes.
Although recently, there has been a growing curiosity for the unripe and bitter version of one of the exotic fruits that produces an edible blue pigment.
Today, you’ll see a lot of Brazilian chefs use this pigment to color different dishes including pastas, breads and tortillas.
Some even use it to add that distinct blue color to desserts like crème anglaise and flans.
Mandacaru (Cereus jamacaru)
Native to the northeastern parts of Brazil, mandacaru is a cactus plant that can grow as high as 20 feet.
Its flowers usually begin to appear in the middle of spring. Its fruit is quite similar to dragonfruit with its pinkish red skin and white pulp with black seeds.
The mandacaru fruit can grow as big as an apple. Its flesh is generally sweet and starchy. It is also rich in sodium, water, magnesium and phosphorus.
Mandacaru is one of the fruits in Brazil that can be tough to find. They are usually eaten by birds once they’re ripe.
But ask around as some locals also like to enjoy it because of its distinct sweetness.
Brazilian Cherry (Pitanga)
You’ll find pitanga fruit in Brazil in a lot of homes because it’s used as a screen or hedge in gardens.
The tree is native to the east coast of South America, particularly southern Brazil, Suriname, Argentina and Paraguay.
It was once introduced to other countries, although it’s now listed as invasive species in some areas.
The fruit of the pitanga tree is a botanical berry that resembles a small tomato or chili.
In fact, it is called cayenne cherry or Surinam cherry in some parts of the world.
The darker red and black varieties of pitanga are quite sweet. The green to orange ones are tart and sometimes sour.
This is due to the cultivar of the plant and its ripeness. Pitanga is one of the fruits of Brazil that’s usually added as a flavoring for jams and jellies because it is rich in vitamins A and C.
Brazilian cherries are also used in desserts like marmalades and mousses.
But they aren’t just for eating!
Some locals also spread the pitanga leaves on their house floors since they emit a scent that repels flies.
The pitomba is a small, yellow fruit that looks similarly to small potatoes or oranges.
Its tree is native to the Amazon basin and it’s widely grown in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Colombia.
The pitomba tree can grow as high as 20 meters. It produces small, white flowers in a panicle of that can grow as long as 15 centimeters.
The fruit itself is small and ellipsoid with a yellow outer peel and a white, almost translucent pulp and two elongated seeds.
Brazilians usually eat pitomba fresh and raw because it is distinctively sweet.
It is also made into juices and different desserts due to its sweetness and slightly acidic note.
The sap of the pitomba fruit is used as a fish poison. And its roasted seeds are used by locals as an alternative treatment for diarrhea.
Finally, there’s the siriguela, one of the most loved fruits in Brazil.
The siriguela is a small Brazil fruit with a yellow-orange skin, a yellowish flesh and a seed that consumes almost its entire interior.
Native to the northeastern part of the country, siriguela has several names including seriguela, ciruela, hog plum and jocote.
They are also a very popular Costa Rican fruit.
Siriguela season runs from December to February or during mid-summer. You’ll find this Brazilian fruit sold in local markets in northeast Brazil.
As one of the Brazil unique fruits, siriguela is best eaten raw with a hint of salt to balance its sweetness. Similar to a green mango.
The fruit is also very aromatic and they are usually perfect as snacks during the summer.
Some Brazilians use siriguela for fresh juice and as flavoring for popsicles and ice cream.
You can’t talk about Brazilian fruits without one of its biggest resources, pineapple.
Originating from the Parana-Paraguay River between southern Brazil and Paraguay, this wild plant has been cultivated in the country for centuries.
The pineapple fruit grows from a small shrub. It emerges looking like a spiny flower until it becomes a full-blown fruit with many eyes.
Although this sweet and tangy fruit can be eaten raw with just some salt or sugar, Brazilians love to grill and top them with cinnamon and brown sugar.
There’s also a famous Brazilian dessert called pave de abacaxi e coco or pineapple and coconut pave.
It uses pineapple chunks, rum, ladyfinger cookies, heavy cream, condensed milk, vanilla extract and crushed cashews.
These Brazilian fruits probably put the country in the spotlight for being home to so many incredible foods with health benefits.
It grows in the Amazon on palm trees. Acai looks similar to a blueberry but is more tart and has a bit of a chocolate flavour.
It became popular in the mid-1990s and is now mainstream. The berries are flown around the world for smoothie bowls, juices and turned into powders.
It is high in antioxidants and flavonoids so many companies offer acai products with promises ranging from beautiful skin to healing chronic illnesses.
However, it is also one of the biggest scam ingredients in healthcare, another reason to visit Brazil so you can eat the fruit directly.
Pin it: Brazil Fruits to Try
Market shot (c) Marcio Ramalho, Cambuci (c) Mannewar, Cagaita (c) Jean Marconi, Brazilian Cherry Tree (c) Bioversity International, Siriguela (c) Carla Arena, Pitomba (c) Favio Pinheiro, Jenipapo (c) Alexey Yakovlev, Jabuticaba (c) Mauro Halpern, Guarana (c), Geoff Gallice from Gainesville, FL, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
19 Unique Brazilian Fruits You’ll Want to Travel For is a post from: Bacon is Magic