What’s That Fruit: Curuba

The first time I scooped up a spoonful of curuba seeds and swished them around my mouth, I spit them out on the kitchen floor. I thought I’d just poured a packet of Sour Patch Kids down my throat.

Curuba is also known as banana passionfruit–for it’s shape rather than its flavor. The black seeds cling to the fruit itself: a slippery, sort-of sticky goo. And their flavor goes beyond the tanginess of other acidic fruits. This one will make your face scrunch up; its outright sour. That’s why most Colombians will blend it into batidos— fruit smoothies with milk.

En leche!!! insists my roommate as I whirl the rest of the gooey orange seeds in the blender, trying to dilute them in water. Milk takes away some of this overpowering tartness, whereas mixing it with water won’t cut down any of the acidity. Or you can add-in a sweeter fruit like mandarina or mango for a slightly more drinkable, sweet-and-sour juice like this one:

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Here’s what curuba wants to brag about: The seeds are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and iron. It’s been known to put digestive systems in a good mood, and it suggests you spoon-feed it to your anemic friends.

Curuba is green or yellow on the outside and always bright orange on the inside. In Medellin markets, it’s often sold in bargain packs of five or six. And their flexible peel is easy to slice. Cut two fruits in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and blend the seeds in liquid. If you’ve got access to a strainer, sift out any seed bits for a smoother, finer juice. And take the milk approach if your taste buds aren’t ready for a fairly rude awakening.

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