Techniques Pantry Guides Mexican and Central American Produce Published Feb 12, 2010 10:00 AM Techniques Recipes by Cuisine SHARE 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. Todd Coleman 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. Todd Coleman 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. Todd Coleman 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. Todd Coleman Spiny Chayote This fruit (which comes in a smooth-skinned variety too) has a zucchini-like taste and is often used in soups. Todd Coleman Tejocote This sweet, crab apple-size winter fruit becomes tender when cooked. Tejocote is the main ingredient in ponche, a Mexican hot punch. Todd Coleman 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. Todd Coleman 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. Todd Coleman 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 American Pantry Guides Lifestyle roundup MORE TO READ RELATED Pasta alla Gricia (Pasta with Guanciale, Pecorino, and Black Pepper) If you like carbonara, you’ll love this Roman trattoria standby. READ NOW RELATED No-Churn Durian Ice Cream The polarizing tropical fruit shines in this easy, no-gadgets-required recipe. RELATED The Saxelby Cheesecake Plums, vanilla bean, and fresh chèvre sparkle in Caroline Schiff’s sweet tribute to the legend of American-made cheese.