7 junio, 2024

The 30 Most Common Ecuadorian Sierra Fruits

The fruits of the Ecuadorian highlands The most common are sweet cucumber, tree tomato, grapefruit and apple, among many others. The diversity of ecosystems in the highlands of Ecuador, from areas of tropical humid forests to mountainous moors, is home to a wide variety of fruits typical of the area and sustainably produced.

Ecuadorian society has a cultural philosophy of connection with its environment, since it recognizes the value of the country’s ecosystems. It promotes the production of typical fruits in the Andean areas as an economic activity, thus avoiding damaging the environment by cutting down trees to make room for planting corn or grass for cattle.

For this reason, it is quite common to see communities protect endemic fruit species in crops, gardens and orchards, which play an important role in the colorful landscapes of the mountains.

Likewise, they promote the distribution and sale of their typical fruits in local markets and their use in the Ecuadorian diet and cuisine.

It is an effort to rescue its roots and traditional flavors considered lost in the life of modernity, educating the younger and urban generations about the natural heritage that surrounds them. You may also be interested in seeing 30 animals of the Ecuadorian highlands and their characteristics.

The most typical Ecuadorian sierra fruits

1- Sweet cucumber

Andean species of cucumber that has been domesticated since pre-Hispanic times but today it is only known as a cultivated species. Due to its sweet taste, it can be eaten ripe as a refreshing fruit to recover after physical exertion.

Its light yellow color, specks, longitudinal lines and purple color when ripe make the fruit attractive to the eye. Its nutritional value is low but it is recognized for its diuretic properties due to the high concentration of water (90%).

2- Tree tomato

Species native to the Andes whose domestication and established cultivation took place before the arrival of the discovery of America. Medicinal properties are attributed to the fruit to relieve respiratory ailments and combat anemia.

It can be eaten raw when ripe, preferably without the bitter-tasting shell. It can also be found cooked in various traditional dishes that contain sweet sauces or stews.

3- Mountain papaya

A related fruit of the papaya in more tropical areas that can grow at higher altitudes on thicker, more robust trees, meaning greater production and larger size. It is usually found decorating gardens of family homes due to the color of the plant and the consistency of the fruit.

4- Cherimoya

Native fruit of the inter-Andean valley of Ecuador that has been successfully distributed and cultivated in Anglo-Saxon countries since the 19th century. Its shape is conical or heart-shaped and the inner meat, which surrounds the seeds, is sweet and juicy. It grows quite fast in temperate and subtropical zones, but it can tolerate moderate cold.

5- Screwdriver

The toronche in Ecuador has some 22 different species in the south of the mountain range, but despite this it has not been cultivated on a large scale. It is yellow in color when ready for consumption. It is used to make juices and desserts.

6- Lulo

Also known as naranjilla, it grows well at elevations of 2,300 meters above sea level. It is quite common in juices, ice creams and jams but can be eaten raw as fresh fruit. It is usually planted under the shade of larger plants such as coffee or soursop.

7- Orange

Citrus fruit larger than lemon and sweeter. It is very common to make juices or combine its flavor in special dishes. With special care it can be grown throughout the year.

8- Grapefruit

Also called grapefruit, it is a nutrient-dense citrus fruit similar to an orange or lemon, but with fewer calories. Therefore, it is used as a supplement in diets to reduce weight, both in the form of pulp and juice.

9- Apple

Fruit that was introduced in the Americas after the time of the conquests. Ecuador has an apple production area in the center of the mountains, where 6 different varieties grow. It is commonly eaten fresh, but it is also used for sweets, salads, and liqueurs.

10- Capulí

Small dark colored fruit, very sweet and pleasant. It can be consumed directly or prepared in juices, jams, desserts and homemade preserves. The tree begins to produce its fruits after four years of growth and has a longevity of up to 80 years in the mountainous forests of the sierra.

11- Pineapple

Better known as pineapple, it is a fruit from tropical or subtropical environments that can tolerate short cold exposures above -2°C. Quite well known and demanded for its semi-sweet acid flavor and abundant meat rich in water concentration.

12- Tuna

It is a fruit-bearing species of cactus-like plants that sprouts between the spiny arms of the plant. It grows wild in the driest areas of the Sierra Valley. It is sweet and juicy and is believed to help with digestion problems.

13- Strawberries

Also commonly known as strawberry, it is produced permanently in the south of the country for its profitability and famous appeal. It is grown most efficiently in greenhouses, both in local home gardens and in large private farms.

14- Tangerine

Citrus fruit rich in vitamins and minerals quite produced and consumed within Ecuador. Originally from China, it now adorns patios and gardens both on the coast and in the mountains. Used for direct consumption as well as in jams and sweets.

15- Lemon

Fairly common citrus fruit with an acid flavor used to flavor foods. Despite having a warm climate, it is widely produced in Ecuador, especially in the lower areas of the inter-Andean valley.

16- Lime

Citrus fruit similar to lemon that is also cultivated in parallel to it and serves as a complement to dishes as a seasoning or in juices.

17- Starters

Better known as peach or peach, it is a sweet, juicy fruit with a very pleasant aroma. After its introduction in colonial times, this fruit adapted better to the areas closest to the Amazon.

You can also get your crops in the areas of the Andean valleys between 1600 and 3300 meters above sea level.

18- Tax

It is used in juices, many desserts and to accompany typical dishes. It emits a very pleasant aroma when ripe. Its yellowish or orange pulp is firm and fleshy filled with small black seeds.

19- Lucuma

Fruit native to the Andean areas that grows wild in the areas of the mountains. It is oblong green in color that tends to be conical at its apex. It turns darker when ripe, its pulp is between orange and yellow and it has a very sweet flavor. It is used mainly in the preparation of desserts and ice creams.

20- passion fruit

Also known as passion fruit or passion fruit, it is a subtropical species but it has adapted to colder climates above -5° Celsius without suffering damage. The plant is a climber and can become entangled at more than 4 meters.

21- Granadilla

Called by its common name of pomegranate, it is easily produced in Ecuador due to favorable climatic and soil conditions. It is famous for having many seeds inside each surrounded by juicy pulp.

22- Guaba

Long Andean fruit shaped like a machete and with a hard green rind. The pulp of the white specks inside is very sweet.

23- Babaco

Fruit of the same species as the papaya, it can grow in cold climates without the presence of ice frost, but always under sun. The babaco meat is very juicy, slightly acidic and low in sugar.

24- Claudia plum

They are plums with firm flesh, characteristic for their sweet or sour flavor with abundant juiciness. They ripen quite quickly, so it is recommended to keep them refrigerated.

25- Avocado

Commonly known as avocado, it is a creamy fruit well known for its nutritional values ​​and fatty properties that do not affect cholesterol in a negative way. It has many uses in dishes around the world, which makes it highly sought after.

26- Pitahaya

It is a very aromatic, showy and sweet fruit with many nutritional values ​​and medicinal properties. The leaves are used for infusions against headaches and insomnia. It is also known by the name of dragon fruit.

27- Gooseberry

Almost wild fruit that has been distributed throughout the sierra. Its production is very traditional, especially under a greenhouse. The Ecuadorian temperate climate offers the most favorable conditions for its planting and cultivation.

28- Kiwi

Species introduced to the American continent at the beginning of the century from China. The Ecuadorian variety has adapted to the temperate climate, although it needs a long season without too much cold to grow. Once mature, it tolerates low temperatures better.

29- Coconut Cumbi

Also known by the name of mountain coconut, it is a hard-covered fruit that is produced by a species of palm tree typical of the highlands.

30- Blackberry

Also known as blackberry, they are fruits whose berries adhere grouped in small clusters that darken as they mature, from green to red and purple.

It occurs easily between 1,500 and 3,100 meters above sea level, close to higher subtropical climates in the sierra.


Sanchez Vega. Andean Fruits. New Crop Resource Online Program. Purdue University – Center for new crops & plant products. Retrieved from hort.purdue.edu.
California Rare Fruit Growers Inc. Fruit Facts. Retrieved from crfg.org.
Nature and Culture International. Sustainable Production of Native Andean Fruits. natureandculture.org.
Definitions-from (2016) Flora and Fauna of the Andes. ALEGSA Dictionary – Argentina. definitions-of.com.
Hacienda Verde – Permaculture & Abdean dry Forest at Zero Latitude. List of Fruits in Equatorial Andes. zerolatitudetours.com.
Verón Lucy (2012). List of fruits of the Ecuadorian Andes. lucyveron.wordpress.com.
Newspaper El Comercio. Different entries on fruits from Ecuador. elcomercio.com.

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