(Above: My Abuela’s [grandmother’s] Papaya Tree)
Being raised by a Cuban mom and spending all my summers with my Cuban grandparents, I was exposed to a lot of tropical fruit. I’m happy that I had a chance to be exposed to different types of fruit that became the norm in my home. Here are a few of my favorite ones and their benefits.
Guava – this fruit has a combination of perfect properties to help with maintaining weight. It contains more vitamin C than oranges and its high in fiber. An entire Guava is only 35 calories, 1/3 the calories of what you would consume with an apple. Along with being low in calories, Guava is one of the very few fruits that contains protein!
The Papaya has a high content of essential nutrients, fiber and water but yet its low in calories. The Papaya is packed with health benefits. This fruit like the Guava has more Vitamin C than oranges and is packed with vitamin A & E. It’s also high in potassium and calcium! A small Papaya has only about 68 calories but because of its fiber content is fills you up easily and helps release toxins from your body!
The Coconut is a fruit that will provide you with endless energy whether you eat its meat or drink its water. Coconut water is the perfect beverage to drink before, during and after exercising. Its rich in electrolytes and it contains less calories than your typical sports drinks.
As other tropical fruit, the Pineapple has a combination of properties that assist in maintaining a healthy weight. It’s very healthy and contains a lot of fiber but low calories. The Pineapple assists in digestion and increases your metabolism. This fruit also helps eliminate your body of toxins.
The mango is not only an amazingly delicious fruit that though high in calories it contains lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals. A slice of mango can actually stay off hunger for longer periods of time than any other fruit!
Now with all of this awesome info I have to give a recipe along with it! Batidos are Cuban shakes, similar to American Style shakes, but with several unusual flavors. Our family makes batidos whole milk, and crushed ice. The tropical fruit flavors are very popular: batido de mango, batido de piña (pineapple), batido de mamey (a unique fruit with a pale pink flesh) and batido de fruta bomba (papaya) to name a few. One we particularly like is the batido de trigo or wheat shake. You might ask: “Wheat in an ice cream drink?” But think of the tasty puffed wheat cereal from your not too distant childhood and you’ll get an idea of what the batido de trigo tastes like. It’s a unique flavor you just won’t find anywhere else.
Below is a recipe for Papaya Batido (milkshake) that my Abuela (grandmother) makes from her own fresh Papaya’s (you can insert any tropical fruit you would like into this recipe!):
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
1/2 cup crushed ice 1 cup fresh ripe papaya cubed
(Above: Frozen, then thawed Papaya)
Put everything in the blender except the ice and process until frothy. Add the crushed ice and process until the ice is ground fine and the batido is thick and rich.
TIP: If you have time, you can freeze your fruit and omit the crushed ice, for a thicker, richer shake. Just cube the fruit or cut it in smaller chunks and freeze. You may also find frozen fruit chunks (not pulp) at your local market. If using frozen pulp — because your local grocer does not carry exotic fruits, but the local Latin market sells pulp — allow the pulp to thaw slightly. Break the pulp into smaller chunks to accommodate your blender.
***The sweetened condensed milk is a very Cuban addition. You may omit this ingredient by substituting an equal amount of sugar or to your own taste.
Till next time, Hooah!
****Tropical Fruit info was found at Mamalatinas.com