Mexican and Central American Produce

Hoja Santa
This Mexican aromatic is often used whole, to wrap fish or meat for grilling. The leaves have a sweet, almost root beer-like aroma.
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Hojas de Aguacate
The leaves of the avocado tree, often toasted and ground, lend an anise flavor to stewed black beans, tamales, and other dishes.
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Nopales
The mildly tart paddles of the prickly pear cactus have a slimy texture and, boiled and chopped, are popular in tacos, salads, and enchiladas.
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Romeritos
More subtle than rosemary, this herb lends a lemony tang to stews and moles. The edible stem has a milder taste than the leaves.
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Spiny Chayote
This fruit (which comes in a smooth-skinned variety too) has a zucchini-like taste and is often used in soups.
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Tejocote
This sweet, crab apple-size winter fruit becomes tender when cooked. Tejocote is the main ingredient in ponche, a Mexican hot punch.
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Sapote
The fruit of the sapote tree (an unripe one is pictured) has a custardy texture and pumpkin-like flavor. It can be eaten out of hand as a snack.
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Hojas del Mora
These leaves have a spinach-like taste. They can be steeped to make tea, used in moles and soups, or served sauteed.
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Huauzontle
This central Mexican herb, with its sprigs of tiny, broccoli-like flowers, has a sweet flavor and may be added to scrambled eggs and sauces.
Todd Coleman