“What a cute little orange in that picture,” you may say.
Then you take a closer look.
“That is one odd orange.”
Welcome to another South American fruit you’ve probably never seen back home: lulo. It’s part of Colombia’s contribution to fruit confusion.
What is that?
It looks like…an orange.
But tastes like…a super tart citrusy mistake.
The fruit is orange-colored on the outside…but the juice you make from it is green.
It’s just more magical food realism from Colombia.
Inside a lulo
Cut a lulo open and you’ll see four distinct membranes filled with greenish pulp and seeds. Now taste it. Ick. Kind of tart, isn’t it?
So what is this orange-looking fruit that isn’t an orange?
Say hello to Solanum quitoense. In Colombia, it’s called lulo, which comes from the Quechua language (in other countries you’ll hear it called naranjilla). It’s actually part of the nightshade family and grows in central and northern Colombia, but you can buy it around the country.
It’s part of that lure of Colombia, those fruits that you might not be able to try elsewhere. Like many people’s egos, this fruit is easily damaged, which in the case of lulo makes it hard to ship far. It doesn’t grow in the United States (farmers have tried numerous times) since the plants are delicate and can’t withstand extreme temperatures or strong winds. So you’ll just have to try it in Colombia.
What to do with lulo
Buy them ripe (like many people’s egos, they should yield slightly to prodding) and consume them fast. Since it is so tart, lulo in Colombia is rarely good for eating straight from the shell. A more appetizing idea is to use lulo to make:
- Ice cream
Be careful with those little hairs on the outside of the fruit – they can sometimes irritate sensitive skin.
Have you tried lulo? Do you like it? Do you have any recipes you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you.