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It’s Pejivalles season and all over Costa Rica the air is scented with them as people boil these palm fruits. Whether you know them as Pejivalles or Pejibayes or Peach Palm Fruit, these fruits can be found all over Central and South America and the palm is also famous for the popular heart of palm (delicious in salads).

Pejibayes or Pejivalles or Peach Palm Fruit. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Pejibayes with skin after harvesting

The fruit hangs in large clusters around the top of a particular palm tree. Read more about it here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bactris_gasipaes

Pejibayes or Pejivalles or Peach Palm Fruit Clusters on Palm tree. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Pejibayes hanging from a palm

Pejibayes or Pejivalles or Peach Palm Fruit Tree. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

The tall spiny palms mean that harvesting requires some skill!

Pejibaye skin ranges from yellow through to red and the fruit needs considerable boiling before eating. People usually boil them in their skins for a few hours, peel them, remove the stone and then eat them with mayonnaise or salt and lemon.

Pejibayes or Pejivalles or Peach Palm Fruit with mayonnaise. Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Cooked Pejibayes are often eaten with mayonnaise or sour cream

So what do they taste like? Well, imagine a cross between a chestnut, a cashew nut and a buttery potato and you’re coming close. You can find them on market stalls, supermarkets and the local farmers market and per kilo they cost about 2 US$.

Even though they’re not the most attractive fruit in the world they have their fans and in Costa Rica they even have their own festival, near Cartago. And if you become a fan of pejibaye / pejivalle / peach palm fruits, there are plenty of recipes to experiment with: how about a pejibaye cake, biscuits, tacos, stew, salad, soup or even liqueur for starters?

Pejibaye cake

Pejibaye cake

 

Pejibaye Soup

Pejibaye Soup

People are not the only fans of pejibayes… a highly nutritious source of food for many rainforest animals, Agnes the Agouti at Geckoes Lodge seriously enjoys Palm fruit season and can be seen nibbling on pejibayes all around the garden.

Agnes the Agouti eating Pejibayes or Pejivalles or Peach Palm Fruit at Geckoes Lodge.

Agnes the Agouti eating Pejibayes or Pejivalles or Peach Palm Fruit at Geckoes Lodge.

So give your taste buds a sensation in Pejibaye season and taste these buttery, nutty numbers, although remember you need to cook them well, unlike Agnes the Agouti.

 

 

 

If you love fruit, this is the country for you! Fruit in Costa Rica is everywhere… walk down a street and there will be someone selling piles of sweet smelling pineapples, bananas hanging from trees and mangoes dripping from a branch.

Just a few of the fruits available in Costa Rica

Just a few of the fruits available in Costa Rica

Fruit in Costa Rica is not an addition to the everyday diet but an integral part of it. People grow it in their gardens, pick it from trees on the roadsides, knock coconuts from palms on the beach and eat fruit on a daily basis.

Banana stall on the way to Puerto Viejo

Banana stall on the way to Puerto Viejo

The differing climates of Costa Rica are perfect for growing a huge variety of fruit. The more temperate regions are bursting with apples, strawberries, oranges, plums and peaches. The tropical regions are full of mangoes, guavas, water-apples, water melon, limes, pineapples, star fruit, lychees, papayas, mangosteens and of course the famous banana.

Fruit stall

Fruit stall

Since there are more than 200 varieties of Banana they constitute some of the most common fruit in Costa Rica and along with pineapples are extensively farmed and exported.

Bananas being transported for washing and sorting

Bananas being transported for washing and sorting

Here on the Caribbean coast bananas are not only eaten raw but certain varieties are fried and eaten as plantains alongside rice and beans or added to fish or meat casseroles. But let’s not forget the banana crisps (chips) that are sold everywhere, sometimes seasoned with lime and salt but always a super accompaniment to a cold beer — or a fruity batido.

Fried plantains or 'Patacones'

Fried plantains or ‘Patacones’

Plantain crisps

Plantain crisps

Yes, let’s talk about Batidos, which are fruit shakes made of fresh fruit liquidised with either milk or water. One of my absolute favourites is a lime and ginger batido: fantastically fragrant and refreshing. The variety of batidos available is impressive and can be made from any fruit you can name. And there is so much fruit in Costa Rica that the fruits named here are just the tip of a big fruit-berg!

Fresh lime and ginger batido at the beach

Fresh lime and ginger batido at the beach

With such profusion it is no wonder that fruit in Costa Rica is such an important element in the country’s economy and indeed in the national diet.

Papaya Batido -- delicious with a squeeze of lime

Papaya Batido — delicious with a squeeze of lime

So take a look at the next pineapple or bunch of bananas you buy — it’s pretty likely you’ll be holding fruit from Costa Rica. But to taste it at its absolute best you’ll just have to come here, pick some yourself and sample the cornucopia of fruit in Costa Rica. Pura Vida indeed!

Fruit at the Saturday market in Puerto Viejo

Fruit at the Saturday market in Puerto Viejo