Mercado Monday: Jocote (Red or Purple Mombin)
Elisha’s & Gordon’s Note: Mercado Monday is officially back! In today’s article guest blogger Kevin Keegan tells us all about jocote (pronounced \hōˈkō(ˌ)tā\ or in Canadian \hoe – coat – eh\). Jocote, also known as Red or Purple Mombin, is a thirst quenching fruit found in many parts of Central America, including beautiful Nicaragua.
As well imagined, the climate in Nicaragua can cause one to become pretty thirsty. Three ways to quench that thirst come to mind.
The best of course, is with plenty of cool fresh water. And while we know a couple of ice cold Toña (local beer) may be the choice of many, today’s Mercado Monday feature fruit jocote — when fresh and ripe — will also do the trick!
MERCADO BUYING GUIDE
Found fresh on a tree, in local mercado or at a street vendor stand, this small green, oval shaped fruit is typically sold in small plastic bags for 20 cordobas (71 cents) or so. Green jocote with a slight give when squeezed will allow for ripening before eating. Dark red or yellow jocote are ready to enjoy.
HOW TO EAT IT
Jocote can be enjoyed whether still green or fully ripe. When green, locals eat jocote with a bit of salt or chili. As the fruit ripens to a darkened red, you can toss one in your mouth, bite down and enjoy the sweet, thirst quenching juice that will bounce off your taste buds. The rind of jocote is edible; however some may choose to chew the rind for the juice inside. Jocote is also used as an ingredient in some drinks.
When green, the rind and the flesh of jocote is bitter. The juicy acidic taste and the tingle of the green fruit inside, along with a bit of salt serves well to dampen a dry throat. As the fruit ripens, the rind remains a little bitter, but just enough to enhance the sweetness inside.
Although there appears to be about fifty different varieties of this fruit within Nicaragua, the two well-known species are the yellow jocote which is harvested primarily during the rainy season from July to September. The other is the red jocote which is harvested during the dry season.
Jocote is very high in dietary fibre and antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A and C. It is also rich in calcium and iron.
For those that suffer from heartburn, jocote fruit is said to help prevent acid reflux. It is also believed to aid in the digestive process.
After enjoying many years of cold Canadian winters in a small community in Southern Alberta working cattle then owning and operating two small businesses, Kevin along with his wife Loretta, now call San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua home for several months of the year.
Figuring they would need to fund their life in a new country, Kevin took several writing courses and obtained certification to teach English as a foreign language, specifically business English. Finding the enjoyment in researching and writing on a variety of topics, Kevin now writes blogs and articles for various clients. Check out Kevin’s full bio here.