Spring is in full swing, the afternoons are sunny, the trees are full of flowers and the seasonal ingredients are juicier, tastier, and brighter than ever.
This month brings so many flavors that invite you to spend the day looking for the ideal ingredients to prepare amazing dishes. Be adventurous in the kitchen take a leap and surprise your palate with the wonders that the month of April and Spring bring. Enjoy!
Nopales: The prickly pear cactus, is a common ingredient in Mexican cooking. The flat paddles have their thorns removed and are then cut into slices. They taste sort of like green beans, but with an okra kind of texture. Yummm! The bean soup with nopales is only compared to the traditional cactus salad, which with some hot tortillas and a good sauce is perfect.
Nance: It grows in clusters on large shrubs approximately 10 meters tall. The small fruits are round and only 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter. Nance fruit matures from green to a yellow-orange color. The fruit has a thin skin that can be easily peeled. Nance fruit has an oily white pulp that surrounds 1 to 3 small inedible white seeds. The aroma of the pulp has been described as “soap-like” due to its high oil content. Nance fruits have a starchy texture and are somewhat acidic but have a subtle sweetness when fully ripe. You can make a nance lomonade or maybe have them in a pickle.
Cherimoya: The cherimoya, sometimes called a sugar apple, has a sweet, juicy, white flesh with pulp that contains seeds. Like soursop, its seeds are toxic. It has a creamy and soft texture that makes it great in ice cream, smoothies, mousse and pie filling. Cherimoya is good for the heart, hair, and skin. Try it in a custard.
Papaya: Deliciously sweet with musky undertones and a soft, butter-like consistency, it is no wonder the papaya was reputably called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus. You can try this fruit with a grilled steak and papaya recipe.
Mamey: A unique, tropical tree fruit with an interior texture that is both creamy and sweet, the vibrant salmon-colored flesh of the ‘Pantin’ mamey sapote is unlike anything most people have ever tasted. The flavor is a combination of sweet potato and pumpkin with undertones of almond, chocolate, honey, and vanilla. This fruit has incredible properties, go ahead and cook a fruit soup so you can make the most of it.
Mango: The tapioca dessert with mango is super pampered and for the heat preparing a lassi is the option. We recommend you to savor the juiciest mangoes in a fruit soup that goes by the standards and to feel good a mango smoothie with Greek yogurt falls from the sky.
Cantaloupe: How about a shaved cantaloupe salad with Serrano ham? It’s time to go for the ingredients and savor it with excellent company. This fruit is very good for a healthy breakfast.
Pineapple: Not only is it very juicy and healthy, it also allows us to create many delicious dishes, how about pineapple skewers with shrimp or sweet and sour pork ribs? Do not miss the opportunity to prepare the pineapple roll, the pineapple cream with coconut and melon or panna cotta with pineapple.
Pitaya: Dragon fuit is a fruit that grows on several species of cactus that are native to Mexico, Central, and South America. There are several varieties of different colors.
The fruits are unusual in appearance, but the colors are quite attractive. With a delicate, sweet taste and a creamy textured pulp, they are sometimes called “strawberry pear.”This fruit is delicious when it is cold, you can eat it even by spoonfuls. A pitaya gelee is incredible, you can also eat it in cream, in fresh water in jelly and even in tamalitos.
Banana: Do not think twice, a vegan bread made with banana is the answer to what you are looking for. A little less healthy but just as tasty, we recommend the banana pancake that has a perfect flavor, and these chocolate-covered bananas will surely restore your soul.
Guanabana (Soursop): Sometimes called custard apple, guanabana or Brazilian pawpaw, the soursop is a prickly, pear-shaped tropical fruit with a soft and juicy inside. It has a tangy, citrus and sweet taste. Don’t eat the seeds though—they’re toxic. Soursop has many medicinal uses such as promoting sleep, controlling diabetes and relieving back pain. Try it in a guanabana sorbet with mango coulis.
Prickly Pear (Tuna): This fruit of the nopal cactus is known as tuna in Mexico—not to be confused with the fish, which is called atún. In English, it’s called prickly pear. It’s used in drinks, candies, and jellies and can also be used as an apple substitute. Health benefits include decreased inflammation, cancer prevention, and lowered cholesterol and is very refreshing in a lemonade.
Loquat: This fruit, known as loquat in English or nispero in Spanish, has a soft, orange flesh and usually three to five almond-sized seeds. It is native to Asia, but it grows in Mexico and the Southern United States as well as Central and South America. This fruit can be enjoyed in a chicken salad.
Guava (Guayaba): Guavas are a sweet fruit most often consumed as juice. They can also be used in jellies, candies, and sauces and as a tomato substitute. Try seasoning them with soy sauce, salt, pepper, vinegar or sugar. Health benefits include helping with weight loss and relieving colds and coughs. These guava glazed ribs will make your mouth water.
Tamarind: Fruit that has bean-like shaped pods with a cinnamon brown to clay colored external appearance. Inside the pods, the fruit’s flesh is tender, succulent and green with a highly acidic flavor when young. Its underdeveloped seeds are soft and white. As the fruit matures, the pod becomes brittle. The flesh begins to dehydrate to paste form and takes on the cinnamon appearance of the pod while also losing its acidic punch and becoming sweeter. It is at this stage of maturity that it is most often used for culinary purposes. You will love this spicy tamarind glazed steak.