Food & Drink
Dominican Fruits & Veggies Not to Miss This Season
Dominican mango fruits
The Nutritious Dominican Vegetables and Exotic Fruits
Opting for a meatless vacation and haven't got a clue what to eat in the DR? Then our custom list of nutritious and healthy Dominican fruits and vegetables will more than satisfy your curiosity and your tummy as well.
The Guanabana fruit, Soursop, was cultivated on the island of Hispaniola, or Quisqueya as the indigenous called it, before Europeans appeared. This fruit looks like a rock star with its spiky exterior and heart-shaped structure, but inside, you'll discover a soft, white, juicy interior with a sweet and sour taste and fibery texture.
This fruit is high in Vitamin C, Potassium, Dietary Fiber, and minerals. It also has immune system-boosting properties and alleviates aches and pains.
Among the most exotic-looking of all Dominican fruits, the Pitajaya or Pitahaya is a tropical fruit delicacy to try. Surprisingly, a cactus fruit, its bright pinkish-red outer layers contrast beautifully with its thorny plant cacti. Its inner texture is that of a kiwi, with a white or pink tone dotted by tiny black seeds.
Pitahayas improves bone and joint health, reduces inflammation, and even possesses age-regulating benefits.
The citrusy flavor-packed Chinola, or Passion Fruit, lives up to the latter as its taste captivates people of all ages. You can find Chinola popsicles, candy, cakes, and delicious and refreshing juices, or just cut one open, grab a spoon and eat it straight, which might be bitter for most.
Also, an excellent source of potassium, phosphorus, and tryptophan, which facilitates Melatonin production in your body, and may help you sleep better.
Lechósa papaya fruit
A definite have-to-try fruit on our list, the Lechosa, or Dominican Papaya, is a great choice for the summer heat. Besides being particularly sweet, it's full of thirst-quenching juice that eases your tongue and stomach.
This fruit has been known to alleviate the linings of your intestines, revive your skin with plenty of vitamin A, and help prevent cardiovascular disease.
This wonderful fruit tends to go unnoticed by the majority of travelers as they shop around and should be on the top of their grocery list. Zapote or Sapodilla begins as a plum-like fruit but takes the shape of an American football with rough brown skin. The red interior mass is typically sweet and fibery but very sticky, which is why it is best consumed as a delicious milkshake.
In the Dominican Republic, Zapotes are known to lower pressure in people suffering from hypertension, treat skin ailments like Scabies, and even be used as an antiseptic.
Photo: Franck Fontain
Limoncillo - separate from Lemongrass - is the surprising bite-size treat you'll only find exploring the rural areas and city streets. Limoncillos grow by the bunches, each about the size of a ping-pong ball. Its thin and rustic outer layer makes it easy to crack open with your fingers or teeth, and enjoy the lemony gumball taste you won't want to end.
Packed with stress-relieving antioxidants and vitamins A, B, and C, Limoncillos can help control your harmful cholesterol levels, reactivate your liver's function, and are rich in Calcium and Niacin.
7. Cajuil Fruta and Cajuil Soliman
Both Cajuil Fruta (cashew fruit) and Cajuil Soliman (water apple) come from the same Cashew tree family but with distinctive flavors and textures. Cajuil fruta is typically yellow with a thicker body and a sweeter taste, producing savory cashew nuts. The Cajuil Soliman, on the other hand, resembles the consistency of an apple but with the crunchiness of a bell pepper.
Cajuil Soliman has a much higher iron density and overall liquid, while the Cajuil Fruta is much more dynamic healthwise, with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B complex.
Manzana de oro
8. Manzana de oro
Although the Manzana de oro or Golden Apple tree is planted less than its peers, it is still a much sought-after Dominican fruit in local neighborhoods. These beauties can be seen shining in the middle of its bright green foliage, awaiting a curious hand to come and pick it off. Its taste has a ginger and champagne-like quality as you bite down to its peculiar thorny seed.
It is said that Golden Apples can cure severe coughing and digestive issues. Its peels are also used to alleviate burns, rashes, and psoriasis and are high in copper and zinc.
The sacred root of the indigenous, Yucca or Cassava, was essential to the diet and way of life of ancient Tainos. They used Yuca to make nutritious disks that we call Casabe today and remain an integral part of Dominican food chain. After boiling, it takes on a potato-like texture that is light on the stomach but very filling at the same time.
A great source of appetite-reducing fiber and proteins, the Yucca root has about 90% gluten-free starch, which helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Another lesser known but indispensable food in Dominican agriculture, especially in the Cibao region of DR. Like Yuca, Yautia is a versatile root with more of a yellow, purple, or deep orange pulp and is almost twice as dense and fibrous. It's one of the most sought-after tubers for the perfect Sancocho, the Dominican stew.
Full of dietary fiber and vitamin B6, consuming Yautia regularly will not only assist in burning off undesired fat but also build strong muscle tissue and strength.
11. Platano and Guineíto
The DR is one of the only countries in the world that idolizes the plantain and attributes all great players, musicians, and any historical success to its consumption. The Plantain's smaller cousin, el Guineíto (small banana), is similar but has almost no flavor, making it ideal to have with other dishes.
Plantains actually contain more potassium than bananas, which is great for maintaining energy throughout the day. They can also improve or enhance your brain function, and they are high in dietary fiber.
Batata (sweet potato)
Beloved by the Dominican people, La Batata, or Sweet Potato, is a countryside staple that sustains a full day's work on the farm. Dominican sweet potatoes are very sweet and filling as well. With just a few ounces, you'll feel like you had a main course.
Batata surprisingly controls blood sugar levels and cholesterol and may even help prevent colon cancer.
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