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Discovering Chilean fruits at the local farmers markets in Chile was one of the highlights of our trip to the country.
This southernmost country in the world is home to diverse ecosystems with the Pacific ocean, Andes and the Atacama desert.
The unique geography and mico climates makes it a top agricultural producer of fruits, wine and more.
While exploring authentic food specialties in Chile, we were struck by the diversity of fruits and especially the exotic ones.
Here, we highlight 10 amazing Chilean fruits to know and enjoy.
Chilean Fruits And The Fruits From Chile
Chile is the largest producer of fruits in South America. About 60% of all fruit exports comes from the country.
Chilean cherries, Chilean apples, Chilean blueberries are just a few of the many fruits exported to more than 100 countries.
The country’s unique geography and climate play a big part in the production of local fruits. Chilean fruits are exported worldwide, all year around due country’s counter-seasonal harvest time.
In the US, for example, some of the popular Chilean fruits you’ll find are table grapes, blueberries, cherries and apples.
1. Nispero or Loquat Fruit
The Nispero fruit or Loquat in English, was one exotic fruit dominated the local markets on our visit to Santiago, Chile.
At the time, neither one of us had ever seen this type of staple fruit before. It is the size and color of an apricot. Although the skin gets darker as the fruit matures.
We learned that the best way to tell if the fruit is ready is to touch it and make sure it is soft, but not mushy.
How To Eat Nispero
You want to peel the yellow orange colored skin, and remove the seed on the inside. Simply bite into the soft flesh and enjoy this delicious fruit plain.
We found the Nispero surprisingly delicious. Very sweet and easy to eat.
While the nispero fruit is popular in Chile, it is said to have originated in China. Today, you’ll find loquat fruits cultivated in India, Southwest Asia, Oceania, parts of Africa and more.
It has different names in the various countries and there are many varieties. In Chile, this exotic fruit grows around Santiago and Viña del Mar.
Some of the most creative uses of this Chile fruit is with alcohol. You can find cocktails made with Nispero as well as homemade loquat wine.
This Chilean fruit has a short growing season and the fruits are only available for a few weeks in December.
Absolutely delicious, its worth seeking out this popular Chilean fruit on your travels to the country.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: If you love cocktails, try this simple recipe for Chile’s national spirit. Chilean Pisco Sour: How to Make It at Home
2. Chirimoya, Cherimoya Chile or Custard Apple
Chirimoya, Cherimoya or custard apple is one of the most popular Chilean fruits. It has a white pulp on the inside with large black seeds, surrounded by a thin layer of green skin.
An exotic fruit and with a creamy texture, these custard apples are a sweet delight.
Once you cut open into one, the taste is a blend between banana, strawberry, pineapple and a very creamy papaya.
The custard apple is widely cultivated around the Andes Mountains. In fact, it’s original name, chirimuya, is a Quechua word meaning “cold seeds” reflecting the high altitude where it grows.
How To Eat Chirimuya
Available from June to December, this fruit from Chile is best eaten raw. Though you’ll sometimes also find it mixed with yogurt for making smoothies.
Aside from its delicious taste, Chirimoya is also a big provider of Vitamin C and very good for balancing cholesterol.
The best time to consume is when the skin is green, with a gold yellow color, indicating that the fruit is ripe.
While native to Chile and the Andes region, Cherimoya is also widely grown in many countries around the world.
You’ll find it in parts of Africa, Central America, the Middle East and also in countries such as Spain, Portugal and Italy since the 1700s.
Mark Twain loved the fruit so much that he described the custard apple as “the most delicious fruit known to man.”
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you visit Santiago in Chile, it is worth exploring the local farmers markets. Consider this 3-hour bike tour around the city. Visit the iconic markets like La Vega Central, Santiago fish market and others for tastes of exotic fruits and more. In a small group and with a local guide, eat, bike and discover the city from the inside out.
3. Lucuma Chile, Lúcuma or Egg Fruit
Lúcuma pronounced lah-lu-ku-mah, is the fruit of an evergreen tree, native from Chile.
This exotic fruit is round in shape and brown in color. It has a similar shape to mango or avocado, but it is distinctively brown with flaky skin.
The inside of the egg fruit is light brown in color with a large seed. The texture is not smooth but sort of pasty or velvety texture.
In terms of the taste, we found it to be between caramel or almond paste flavors. Though it was described to us by the fruit vendor as having a chestnut taste.
Lucuma A Fruit Perfect For Dessert
This Chilean fruit is generally eaten in desserts. We first had it as ice cream and it is incredibly delicious. Lucuma is also used in pastries and cakes.
These popular fruits from Chile are low on the glycemic scale, which makes them perfect for cardiovascular health.
If you would like to try lucuma without traveling to Chile, you can find Lucuma powder on Amazon.
Add lucuma while making smoothies, to yogurt, homemade ice cream or desserts and enjoy delicious lucuma Chile flavors at home.
4. Tuna or Prickly Pear
Tuna or prickly pear is a tasty fruit native to the Americas. They are the fruits of the prickly pear Opuntia, which are part of the cactus family.
The prickly pear fruits are oval shaped and full of spikes. Though, when you buy them at a local makets in Chile, the spikes are typically removed.
Chile is one of the top producers of prickly pear fruits, though Mexico is the largest producer in the world.
We found the prickly pear fruit in Mexico and Italy on our authentic food quest travels.
Tuna Fruit Health Benefit
The inside of the fruit is quite watery and juicy with small hard seeds which are edible.
Prickly pears have a taste that is similar to a honeydew melon. The fruit can be eaten raw, strained to make juice, jam, salads and more.
Delicious fruits, prickly pear fruits are high in nutritional value. They are high in vitamins C and E and used in treating diabetes, high cholesterol, heart health and other benefits.
You can find tuna fruits in the exotic fruits section of some supermarkets in the US.
Don’t hesitate to try this exotic fruit if you come across it.
RELATED: 7 of the Best Markets in Mexico City For Authentic Food
5. Chilean Papaya or Mountain Papaya
Unlike typical papaya fruits that you can find in most grocery stores, Chilean papaya fruits are different.
They are yellow in color and much smaller than the traditional green color papaya. When we first saw this Chile fruit at the local market in Santiago, we asked the vendor if we could try a piece.
Unfortunately, we were told that they could not be eaten raw because they are too bitter and needed to be cooked first.
Papaya Eaten From The Jar
Now, even more intrigued about this exotic fruit that needed to be cooked, he recommended we buy a jar of the prepared fruit.
Once we tasted the preserved Chilean papaya fruit later,we were really surprised how good they tasted. It was almost like a natural candy. Rosemary decided to have it as a juice and it was delicious as well.
This Chile fruit is used mostly in juices, making smoothies, making jams, jellies and desserts.
Not widely known, this Chilean papaya is native to the Andean mountains and also found in other South America countries.
While it is strange or unusual buying fruit in a jar, it is worth seeking out this traditional fruit from Chile.
RELATED: 10 Strange Amazonian Fruits From Peru That Will Surprise You
6. Kiwi Fruits
Chile is one of the largest producers of the kiwi fruit with north America being one of the largest export markets.
While not native to the country, Chilean kiwi fruit have only been cultivated in the country since the in 1980s.
What surprised us the most about Chilean kiwi fruits is their size. They are humongous. At the farmers markets in Santiago, we found them to be size of about three kiwi fruits in one.
When talking to market vendors, we learned that the kiwi fruit grow on the trees. And, the ones shaped like a heart are the sweetest.
The kiwi fruit from the top of the tree are the most sweet as they get the most sun leading to a concentration of the natural sugars.
Heart Shaped Kiwi
Unfortunately, the heart-shaped kiwi fruit we enjoyed in Chile cannot be exported as their size is “not standard.” As a result, they are fairly inexpensive in the country and deliciously sweeter in taste.
The kiwi fruit in Chile are sweet and much more tasty than kiwi fruits outside the country.
These are also some of the most nutrient dense fruits providing health benefits against many diseases. They are rich in vitamin C, dietary fibers and potassium.
From originating in China and moving to New Zealand with missionaries, the kiwi fruit is now grown all over the world.
7. Chilean Guava or Strawberry Myrtle
Chilean Guava berry, also known as Murta or strawberry myrtle, is a fruit that grows in the Andes. It is a small shrub found in southern Chile and also in Argentina.
The edible berries found on the busy small shrub are red in color, small and bell-shaped.
The berries are slightly tart and have a taste that is a combination of blackberries and apples.
These delicious fruits can be eaten fresh and can also be used to make, jellies, ice cream, sauces and even meat dishes.
Recipes with Chilean Guava
Traditional specialties from southern Chile incorporate this Chilean fruit in their recipes. You can find a traditional Chilean liqueur called Murtado liqueur made with Chilean guava.
Or another typical dessert from South Chile called murta con membrillo, which combines quince and Chilean guava.
The Chilean guava plant is quite hardy and the bushy small shrubs are quite popular as an ornamental plant.
It is said that the Chilean guava was one of the favorite fruits of Queen Victoria, after its introduction in England in 1844.
8. Frutillas Fresas Blancas or Chilean White Strawberries
Also known as Frutilla Blanca or Chilean Strawberry, the white strawberries is easily considered one of the most unique fruits in the world.
This very rare berry grows only in in a small community of Purén in central southern Chile.
These exotic strawberries have been growing for centuries in the area. Chile’s indigenous people, Mapuche, were first to cultivate them and they used to call them kelleñ.
These endemic Chilean white strawberries have a short season from mid December to late January.
They are smaller in size than commonly available strawberries. And, are known for their pale color, white flesh and intensely sweet aromas.
These fruits are part of the Chilean local culture. They are celebrated in the towns of Contulmo and Purén in Chile at a White Strawberry festival.
Chilean white strawberries are much more expensive than regular strawberries, though not widely available.
While these Chilean fruits have been facing decline, there is a movement in Chile to preserve this endemic fruit.
9. Maqui Berry or Chilean Wineberry
The Maqui berry is one of the most unusual Chilean fruits we discovered in the country. We were introduced to it by top Chef, Rodolfo Guzman at his popular Borago restaurant in Santiago.
READ MORE: Borago with Chef Rodolfo Guzman – Top Restaurant in Santiago Chile
This endemic Maqui berry is originally from the Patagonia area. It is found in Chile and southern Argentina.
These delicious Chilean fruits were eaten by the Mapuche indigeneous population who harvested them by the Andes mountains.
Maqui Berry Super Food
This small, dark purple maqui berry which are sweet and juicy are known for their high antioxidant properties.
The Chilean maqui berry has been referred to as a super food or super fruit. This is due to its high antioxidant content and many health benefits.
It’s not easy to find fresh marqui berry outside of South America. If you’d like to add maqui berries to your diet, you can find Maqui Berry powder on Amazon.
Strenthen the immune system when you add it to juices, smoothies or sprinkle it on your yogurt or oatmeal. You can also add it to baked desserts.
10. Coquito Nuts or Chilean Mini-Coconuts
The coquito nut is one of the most unusual Chilean fruit. It is native to the Andean valleys and it comes from the Chilean palm tree.
In appearance, these palm tree nuts look like miniature coconuts about the size of marbles. You first crack the shell open and then can eat this exotic fruit in one bite.
The texture is cruncy and the sweet taste is nutty similar to almonds. This Chile fruit can be eaten raw or chopped up and added to desserts, drinks and even savory dishes.
Coquito nuts grow in the wild and can also be found easily at nut stores or supermarkets in Chile.
They are popular Chilean fruits and full of healthy benefits. They are low caloric, high in antioxidants and known to prevent cardiovascular diseases and some forms of cancer.
Coquito nuts go by several names. You can find them referred to coker nuts, pygmy coconuts or miniature coconuts.
Chilean fruits are quite diverse and grow year round in the country. The outstanding soil and climate, and the natural barriers of the Andes and Pacific help shield the fruits from pest and diseases.
The fruits from Chile are awakening of the senses. From the look, texture, smell and taste, you can’t miss savoring these popular fruits and all their natural goodness.
Explore fruits from Chile at the local markets either in the country or outside. And, taste the delicious good fruit that make Chile one of the largest fruit producers in Latin America.
Have you had any of these Chilean fruits before? Which of these Chile fruits intrigue you the most? Please let us know in the comments below.
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Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest
35 Comments on “10 Surprising Exotic Chilean Fruits You’ll Want To Taste”
I’m from Chile and I loved reading this post because it really reminded me of home. (I don’t live there) I live in a country with really low temperatures (-40c) so I normally don’t get many good fruits. You have now made me miss Chile and I hope you liked visiting!
Thank you so much Julieta, your feedback as a local means a lot to us. Yes, we loved visiting Chile and look forward to going back soon. Thank so much 🙂
many of them weren’t actually chilean fruit! but they’re still pretty common here 🙂 So nice to see you actually enjoyed more the Cherimoyas and Tunas! they’re from my region (La Serena) so they’re obviously amazing ;)) Also you’re supposed to cut the tuna on the top and the bottom and then slice through vertically slightly so you can remove the skin! its a peeling thechnique 🙂 So glad yall get to enjoyed all the best fruits but it was kind of sad seeing you guys had to eat the comercial less ‘organic’ type of jarred papayas ): and not the genuine artisanal jarred ones from La Serena those are like 183922919292 times better no joke! Greetings
Thanks so much Val for your feedback!! We actually did go through La Serena and wish we had more time to spend in the area. The Chilean fruits we ate were all seasonal and indeed found in other countries as well. The Cherimoya’s were among our favorites. Good to know about the technique for slicing through Tuna fruits. I wish we had known that before 🙂 We’ll be back and we’ll now look for the more organic jarred papayas. We were truly impressed with the fruit offering in Chile. A truly delicious country to visit.
Dear Claire and Rosemary, congrats for your fantastic blog. I would only precise that Lucuma is well known pre-columbian fruit of Peru, and documented by ceramics centuries before the arrival of Spaniards. All the best
Thanks so much Chris, so glad you enjoyed the article. We appreciate your feedback!!! Cheers.
I am now officially hungry. The fresh fruits and stuff looks great.
Wow! How cool are those markets! Always so disappointing when you find amazing food overseas but can’t bring it back.
Thanks so true Nadia…the only way around that is to enjoy the fruits or amazing dishes when you are traveling. It’s being fully present with the food. Thanks for your comments!
Chirimoya (Custard Apple) I have been seeing it all over the internet lately, I have never tasted, but really want too. Actually, I’d be pretty keen to try them all, except Kiwi, I have tried that before. 🙂 Your post has inspired me to empty the fruit bowl and make a delicious sweet treat for dessert.
You would love Chirimoya…they quickly became some of our favorite fruits. The kiwi is special. It is actually much sweeter than the typical ones you’d find in grocery stores. We learned from a vendor at the farmers market that kiwi’s grown on trees and the reason the big ones are not exported, is because their shape is considered “out of norm”. So, they are local secret! Glad you were inspired to make sweet treats 🙂 Cheers
What delicious looking fruit! I love custard apple 🙂
The prickly pear looks very interesting. I wouldn’t mind trying an ice cream in that flavour too!
You would not be disappointed with the tuna ice-cream and fruit! Absolutely delicious. Hope you can find some on your travels 🙂
What a vibrant and colourful market! Those custard apples have me intrigued in a good way… Does the tender insides actually resemble custard?
Thanks Lauren, the markets are amazing. Full of energy and as you noted, very vibrant! The inside of the custard apple is actually quite interesting. There are big black seeds and a white fleshy deliciousness. Once you remove the seeds, you bite into the white part…its’s not like custard, but velvety and super sweet – like a cross between a melon and pear! Yum! Favorite fruit so far!
I love discovering new fruit and I haven’t eaten any of the ones mentioned (well, maybe apart from the standard shaped kiwis). This means I need to go to Chile soon! 🙂
Yes, a trip to Chile would be in order!! Amazing fruits. The Chilean kiwi do taste different from the standard ones. Much sweeter and jucier. It’s too bad those don’t get exported (because they are outside the standard norm) so the only way to experience them is in Chile! Cheers!
what a feast! Do custard plants actually taste of custard then?
What an interesting question Fiona. Actually custard apples go by very many names. In Asia, they are apparently called Buddha’s head. In terms of the taste. It is different from a typical fruit. They are super sweet with a velvety texture. Once you remove the big black seeds, what’s left is the “white” part which is for me is a cross between a super sweet melon and pear!!! Hope that helps!
Is the tuna ice-cream more like a gelato, sorbet or ice-cream? And yes, sometimes fruit is best just as it is …
The tuna ice-cream is more like a sorbet….very refreshing and delicious 🙂
So colourful! We know people who live in Santiago and they have told us about the great fruit and vegetables.
Thanks Elissa…it’s true…everything you have heard about the fruits and veggies is true. Fresh and delicious. The farmers markets are an experience as well. Cheers!
What interesting and colourful fruit! Thank you for the introduction to the tuna ice-cream.
Hi Serina, glad you enjoyed reading about the fruits. The tuna ice cream is delicious, but I honestly think the fruit is better. On a hot day, it is a wonderful juicy solution. Thanks for your comments!
I know some of these fruits like to custard fruit, but others are totally new. Always love markets when traveling.
You are so right Paula, the market is a wonderful place to discover new and exotic fruits. Love the custard apple!! Thanks for your comments!
The fruits there are so similar to what Ive found since moving to Australia. I really like custard apples.
It’s interesting the different types of fruits in the different countries. Surprised that you have found similar in Australia. Like you, the custard apple is one of my favorites as well. Thanks for your comments!
Great blog…. Now I’m hungry.
Thanks. Glad you like the blog. We are having a great time discovering the local and authentic foods. Cheers
I remember my visit to Chile, many years ago, I went to one farmer market and bought many fruits (maybe also some vegetable, hard to differ some of them 😉 ), and then tried all of them. Some were delicious, but the others awful – or maybe I simply had no idea how to eat them 😀
Thanks for your comment. You are indeed correct. There are so many different fruits and vegetables. The key is asking the vendor how to prepare/eat them:) Delicous though!