May 21, 2010 10:00 PM
Running to Catch the Fresh Fruit Cart!
POSTED IN: Anytime Antojos , Recipes
TAGS: carrots , cucumber , fresh , Fruit , fruits , jicama , Lime juice , mango , Mango , Mexico , pineapple , Pineapple , Produce , Salt , Vegetable , vegetables , watermelon
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Every year, just as summer peeks its warm face in Washington DC, I begin to crave fresh fruits and vegetables Mexican street cart style. One of the times when I have enjoyed it the most was last April.  We were traveling through the Copper Canyon route, on a week long trip, from Chihuahua to Sinaloa. We had been waiting at the station in the town of Creel to catch the Chepe train to go to the next town.

As the station officer let out a scream that the train was approaching, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the fruit and vegetable cart. It was hot, we were tired and thirsty, and I saw Mr. Fruit Cart Man peeling some ripe and juicy mangoes. I grew weak in my knees.

Just that second, I saw Daniel's face panic. He knew I was going to make a run for it.   Along with his camera.

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Although I could hear him scream: "NO PATI!!! You are going to be left behind!" I ran for it.

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The fruit cups had watermelon, jícama, canteloupe and mangoes. Since Mr. Fruit Cart Man watched me run, he politely suggested I take one fruit cup just like that. But I was dying for one of those mangoes. Plus..., please! If you have tried a Mexican cart style fruit or vegetable, you must know, that without the salt, ground chile and freshly squeezed lime juice, there is no reason to run for it.

I filmed Mr. Fruit Cart Man with the FLIP (sorry friends, took me a year to learn how to upload it, and hopefully my videos will get better too... ) so you can see how beautifully he cuts and shapes the mango... As he was almost done, we heard the train come... 


There are many ground chiles you can use. They all add that something that makes the flavor of the fruit come out and pop. There is the typical chile piquín, or one of my favorites which is a spicy and sour mix, called Tajín. Here it is below...

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It is so good, that the bottles have a little sign that reads: This is not candy. 

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There are also some liquid chile sauces you can use, and are found in many Fruit Carts. Such as La Valentina, Bufalo, or Cholula. These days, it is incredible, but one can find all of these chile mixes and sauces throughout the US. 

That day Mr Fruit Cart Man added a ton of the chile, a bit of the salt and a giant squeeze of the fresh lime juice. By the time he was done, all the travelers had hopped on...

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I am so lucky, because my monsters waited for me. It was a close call, but we made it.

See, Juju is licking his fingers from that last piece of mango...

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And we did make it to our next stop...

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Now that the summer is pumping up, you can make some too...

Fresh Fruits and Veg 9.jpgYou will have made a wonder to run home for.


Any fruits or vegetables that you are craving!
Pineapple, watermelon, mango, jicama, cucumber, carrots or any of your choice, peeled and sliced or diced
Salt, to sprinkle throughout
Ground spiced up chile, like Tajin or a sauce like Valentina, Buffalo or Cholula
Fresh squeezed lime juice

Peel and slice the fruits and vegetables. Sprinkle salt and chile to taste. Bathe with fresh squeezed lime juice. Eat up!

Being in Texas we salt our watermelon and I salt my peaches, nectarines, grapfruit.... OK if it stands still I put salt on it! LOL I need to try the spicey sour one! I know I would love it!

I have watermelon and avocados in my kitchen right now and I just love them for summer time eating!



Jennifer Leal | May 22, 2010 1:25 AM

I love this. you are so poetic. I saw your video of the mango flower and my jacob will want me to do this. but, I have a feeling that this is one of those things your shouldn't try at home! xo

Tamara Belt | May 22, 2010 7:49 AM

Mouthwatering. Let's make some this summer!

Jeanie | May 22, 2010 10:28 AM

Genial! Como siempre!
Las fotos y los vídeos lo hicieron tanto mas especial!
I love it! Keep it coming Pati!

Gabriela | May 22, 2010 12:02 PM

Oooooooooooh great idea for peaches and nectarines!! ; )

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Jennifer Leal | May 22, 2010 1:21 PM

Hola Tamarita!!! Gracias ; ) Lo probamos en el verano!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Tamara Belt | May 22, 2010 1:23 PM

Hi Jeanie!! Yes!!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Jeanie | May 22, 2010 1:24 PM

Gracias Gaby!! Le sigo.... Claro!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Gabriela | May 22, 2010 1:27 PM

The best video!!!!
I could "smell" this scene!
I shed some tears and smiled as I watched....
The vibrancy of flavor and sweetness of Mexican fruit well, there is just nothing like it!
Thanks for bringing the wonderful "fruit man" vignette to us.

Cheryl S. | May 23, 2010 11:47 AM

We loved the gorgeous flower the fruit cart man created! It made my family want to go to Mexico so we could enjoy the finger licking goodness first hand. Thanks for sharing!

Debra Eichenbaum | May 23, 2010 12:04 PM

Dear Cheryl, Love how you could "smell" the scene! It is my pleasure, always.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Cheryl S. | May 23, 2010 10:09 PM

Debra, so funny. Yes, if you come down to Mexico there is sure to be a lot of finger licking goodness!!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Debra Eichenbaum | May 23, 2010 10:11 PM

Pati, this is *so* amazing. I cant believe Mexicans, just like Pakistanis, have fruit with chili, lime and salt. We call it fruit "chaat". I have learnt so much about Mexican food from you and want to learn (and eat!) more. x shayma

shayma | May 31, 2010 9:43 PM

Thank you so Shayma!! I cannot wait to try your food and learn more from you. Here or there, but it will most likely be first here in DC ; ) Can't wait.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from shayma | May 31, 2010 10:11 PM

Love it! Una vez más, capturas la esencia de la fruta fresca en un día de calor. Para mí, no hay paseo al museo de antropología en el DF, si no termina con fruta comprada en los carritos que están afuera.

Moni | June 2, 2010 9:18 AM

Made a large batch of these for a Memorial Day bbq and everyone loved them! Tried doing the mango flower as well, but the mango was no where near ripe enough. Maybe I'll do it again for the office?

Charles | June 5, 2010 5:28 PM

Hi there Charlie Warlie,
Thanks for your comment ; ) Yes. These fresh fruits will just rock the office!!! You go!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Charles | June 5, 2010 6:07 PM

Healthy eating has really been good for my family. It's very satisfying to grow and then prepare your own food.

Compost Tumblers | September 11, 2010 4:29 AM