June 10, 2008

Word(s) of the Week: Fruits

And now for something completely different (I'm sick of this elections stuff).

I wrote a post earlier about bananas on the island (and how they're called guineos rather than plátanos amarillos or bananos or what-have-you from other countries). I've been meaning to follow that up with some more (emphasis on "meaning to"; I'm a bit forgetful I suppose). Anyways... fruit!

  • Bananas are guineos. Like I mentioned before.
  • Mango is mangó. For some reason Puerto Rico is (I'm pretty sure) the only Spanish-speaking country to throw an accent on that o. Something to do with confusing it with "mango" (handle) I'd assume. I... don't know.
  • Naranja (orange) is china. From "naranja china". You can get around with using naranja, of course, but you'll stick out. Naranja does show up on occasions. But even things like Fanta are marketed as china-flavored.
  • Passionfruit is parcha. For some reason I have it stuck in my head that the name is different from the regular Spanish name (which is a literal translation I think).
  • Strawberry is ejtroberi. No joke. You hear a Spanish-version of the English word much more than you hear the real Spanish word (fresa). Other berries tend to follow the same pattern (rajberi, for example), as well as cherry (which is often a sexual euphemism too). If you want an example, here's a video of Wisin y Yandel's song "Hey Mami", which starts using those words (and a couple others) in the chorus, conveniently transcribed in the comments.
  • Watermelon is just melón. The real name for it in Spanish is sandía, of course, but most of the island will look at you a little funny if you say it.
  • Quenepas are awesome! So is guayaba (guava). Acerola too. Other delicious fruits available on the island include piña (pineapple), papaya, coco (coconut), toronja (grapefruit), and more. Some of these, like acerola* and quenepas, are nearly impossible to sample in the States or Europe. Be sure to get some while you're there, or you'll be missing out!
There are even more vegetables to get to, so look out for that.

*I just wanted to add that nutritionally acerola cherries are fascinating. A single cherry has only 2 Calories, no sugar, and yet has 133% of your daily need for Vitamin C. 20 of them only ends up being 32 Calories, 7 grams of sugar, and about 2800% of your Vitamin C. The same amount of orange, in comparison, has only 75% of your daily need with more Calories and more sugar. Interesting, isn't it?


RayInPR said...

A couple more fruits that are a must-try while here on the island are caimito, chironja, mamey sapote, corozan, nispero and guayanba.

Caimitos are "old time" fruit that are extremely sweet and pudding-like inside. We have 2 big trees on our property that have been producing since March, though their season is just about over.

Chironja is a natural hybrid between orange (china) and grapefruit (toronja) ... kinda a sweet grapefruit or a sour orange.

A nice ripe nispero tastes like caramel with brown sugar. One of our favorites!

Petra H said...

Thanks for this clarifying post - I will keep it in mind!
The fruit confusion continues though, according to O a grapefruit is pomelo in Spain - however, pomelo is another, bigger citrusfruit according to me (at least in Swedish, don't know about English..)!
I had an interesting discussion about oranges yesterday with my Spanish teacher as the fruit is called "apelsin" in Swedish, and "sinaapel" in Dutch = apple from China, which probably explains why it is called "china" in PR (the orange originated in China if I am not mistaken).
And passionfruit, yes according to O it is called "fruta de pasión" in Spain but according to my dictionary it is "granadilla"??

I discussed cilantro vs culantro with a Swede who lives in Costa Rica a few weeks ago - at least as confusing as the banana issue!!

Speaking Boricua said...

Yeah... lots and lots of delicious fruits! Thanks for that.

Pomelo is another word for grapefruit in Spanish for whatever reason. In English pomelo is exactly what you describe. I guess the confusion comes from that, at least in English, pomelo is also known as the Chinese grapefruit. Who knows...

This page right here has the etymology of many languages' names for orange:

And ah yes, culantro and cilantro. Totally different things!

Boriquita said...

Funny that you are talking about parcha...I'm a vegan, so my co-worker is always asking me about food...would I drink this or eat that! :)

She says that she going to buy some tea for libido, and I notice that one of the ingredients is passionfruit...and I said, you can probably eat passionfruit, it would have a better result, for many things...

She didn't know what passionfruit was!! I said it to another co-worker, parcha! HA! The other co-worker had no idea what parcha was and she was Puerto Rican!

Puerto Rican don't know Spanish! LOL! Especially if they get the 3rd hand Spanish, from here! The funny thing to me is when they claim that they do! LOL!

I could see "fruta de pasion" and "granadilla" being used as the same word.

What about panapen?