With spring finally at our doorstep, it is time to start thinking about gardening! There is nothing better than cooking with fresh produce.
Some of these vegetables you will be able to grow right in your back yard (depending on where you live!), while for others you may need to swing by the grocery store. The following Mexican fruits and vegetables make up some delicious Mexican dishes such as tortillas, salsas, and some excellent desserts. While corn, squash, and potatoes typically serve as the bulk of a meal, and are distinctly traditional, others such as tomatoes, mangos, and peppers make great flavor enhancers and add a bit of flare to any dish.
Corn: A basic starch in Mexico, corn forms the base of all sorts of traditional dishes. Corn can be eaten fresh, but can also be dried and used for dough. The most popular way to eat corn in Mexico is in the form of a tortilla.
Tomatillo: These fruits can be fried, boiled, or steamed. They grow inside of the paper-like husk that surrounds them called a calyx. When the fruit is ready to be eaten, the calyx can be split open and the whole fruit is edible. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in Mexican green sauces. They are tart in flavor with a bright green color.
Squash: First grown around 8,000 BCE, squash have been a staple of the Mexican diet for a very long time. A distinctly Mexican gourd called a Chayote is cooked similarly to summer squash and is an excellent source of vitamin C. While it is rarely eaten raw because of its tough texture, it can be marinated with lemon or lime and added to salsas and salads.
Potatoes: Potatoes in Mexico are prepared very similarly to the way one would prepare them here in the states. They can be sliced, baked, and deep fried. Used in a variety of different ways and in different dishes, they are a common vegetable in Mexican cuisine.
Mango: The Ataulfo mango, also known as the Champagne mango, is a kind of mango that is distinctly Mexican. Smaller than the mangos you typically find in U.S. stores, the fruit has a smooth, non-fibrous texture and is very sweet. Mangos are great in salsas, desserts, and make a great snack!
Papaya: Native to Mexico and Central America, papayas grow from trees and are ripe when their skin turns from an amber to an orange hue. They are great in salads, quesadillas, and desserts.
Peppers: A popular Mexican pepper is the poblano pepper. It is one of the most commonly grown peppers in Mexico and has a variety of uses. It can be dried, stuffed, fried, or served in mole sauce.
This list only covers some of the many classic Mexican fruits and veggies. If you are interested in experiencing more Mexican cuisine and culture, be sure to contact or visit Mexicali Fresh Mex Grill in Holden, Spencer, Webster, or Ware MA. Or, come to our CT locations in Stonington and South Windsor.