If you are planning a vacation to sunny Cyprus, you are most likely wondering about food. What will be growing while you will be there? Which of the seasonal fruits on the market are worth trying? How should you choose your fruits and where should you buy them? Is it possible to export fruit from Cyprus?
In this article, I will tell you not only about the seasonal fruits of Cyprus, but also share with you my favorite healthy recipes that are sure to cheer you up and keep you in good shape during your stay.
What Seasonal Fruits Can You Try in Cyprus at Different Times of the Year?
Cyprus is a fairly sunny country, and the fruit-bearing season lasts all year round. Despite this, it is also customary here to “prepare for the winter”. These useful preparations include: making various jams, compotes, preserves, dried fruits, and more.
Buying fresh and real fruits is best at specialized fruit and vegetable markets. How can you find them? Look for the word λαχαναγορα (read as lakhanagora) — a vegetable market, or φρουταρια (frutaria) — a fruit shop. If you, regardless, decide to buy your fruits in a supermarket, then you should be aware of a few nuances:
- In Cyprus fruit stores, there are 2-3 price categories.
- The low price of fruit does not indicate poor quality.
- Кυπριακο προϊόν — this inscription means that this fruit is grown and harvested exclusively in Cyprus, meaning it is local.
- χωραφι — and this inscription informs you that the fruit was not grown in a greenhouse, but in the actual ground.
What Fruits Can Be Bought in Cyprus?
- Oranges (as well as lemons, limes, pomelos, minjols, and tangerines) are always on sale, but citrus fruits come into season beginning in late November — early December;
- Local apricots ripe in June;
- Local strawberries appear in the spring, and the rest of the year Greek or Israeli strawberries are sold in stores;
- Grapes are always on sale, but they ripen in late summer and early fall;
- Sweet cherries are sold only in June;
- Peaches from Cyprus can be bought in July;
- Figs are in season in August and September;
- Watermelons are only sold locally, from late May through October;
- White honeydews are in season from June through October;
- Pomegranates are almost always available, but actual Cyprus pomegranates can be found from autumn to early winter;
- Local apples can be bought closer to the fall, and imported apples are on sale the whole year;
- Nectarines are on sale all year, but local nectarines are in season during the summer;
- Prickly pears are sold only locally and only in autumn;
- Cyprus’s banana season begins in November and lasts all winter;
- Guavas start to appear in the second half of September;
- Persimmons make an appearance by the end of October;
- Mangoes ripen closer to autumn;
- Pineapples are on sale all year;
- Local kiwis can be bought in November and December.
As you can see, at any given time of the year in Cyprus, you can find fruits, chock-full of vitamins, to feast on and fill you with energy. Most fruits are probably familiar to you already, and will not surprise you with their taste. However, the taste of these fruits is truly different. In Cyprus, it is not customary to collect unripe fruits and store them. The fruits that are harvested here are immediately sold. Fruits that have been ripened in the sun will be much sweeter than the ones ripened in a storage crate. That is why Cypriot fruits are especially tasty, and nourished with solar vitamins.
Healthy Fruit Recipes
1. Breakfast (or Dessert) Smoothie
Smoothies have become very popular in the past couple of years due to their beautiful appearance. And this drink really lifts the mood! After all, a smoothie can be any color of the rainbow due to the natural dyes in its contents: a yellow sun in a glass, or even a pink cloud! It’s up to you!
But, in general, a smoothie is also healthy: it saturates the body with the vitamins and acids it needs. Thanks to the introduction of smoothies, you can reduce the intake of solid food and lose weight, thus reducing your diet as a whole. And if you add some nuts, seeds, or greens to any smoothie, they will help your body slow down the absorption of sugar.
I put together a quick and interesting Smoothie Chart for you:
|to slim down||add celery and soy milk|
|to gain weight||add yogurt, cream, milk, or soft cheese|
|to cool off||add watermelon and, of course, ice|
|to get ready for a hard day’s work||a smoothie with nuts with put you in work mode|
|to clear your head and improve concentration||add ginseng and tart ginger|
|to recover after a workout||smoothies with bananas are perfect for recovering muscles|
|to ward off any colds||throw in some lemons, oranges, sea buckthorn, or even some currant|
In addition to all the positive properties, smoothies have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system and digestive system. One glass contains a warehouse of vitamins and essential fibers. That is why this nutritious drink is recommended for breakfast, at the beginning of the day, or even at any other time of the day, especially for sick or weakened people. Smoothies can and should be given to children. You could even call this drink “food for designers”, given that when you make a smoothie, you are putting together a dish that is right for you.
Making almost any smoothie takes no more than 10 minutes, and the process is the same across the board and easy to master. Wash, peel, chop, and mix in a blender until smooth — that’s it, the smoothie is ready. All that’s left is to pour it into a beautiful glass and pop in a straw.
Here Are Some of My Favorite Smoothie Recipes:
- Mango with Basil: half a mango, ¼ cup aromatic basil, ¼ cup spinach, ½ a lime, ½ an orange.
- Kiwi with Mint: 1½ kiwi, ½ a ripe banana, ½ a green apple, 1 bunch fresh mint, pinch of cinnamon, lemon juice.
- Pineapple Celery: freshly squeezed juice of 1 apple and ½ a pineapple, 3 fresh stalks of celery, 1 tsp. flaxseed.
- Berry Orange: ½ glass strawberries, 1 peeled orange, a little lemon juice.
- Winter Persimmon: 3 ripe persimmons, ½ glass natural yogurt, 1 tbsp. oatmeal, 1 banana.
- Spicy Melon: a couple of bananas and nectarines, melon, a couple of fresh slices of ginger, 1 tsp. cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste.
- Strawberry Watermelon: 3 glasses of watermelon pulp, 1 bunch fresh mint, 1 glass of strawberries.
- Grape Boom: 1 glass grape juice, 1 glass fresh seedless grapes, 1 spoonful honey, ½ glass natural yogurt, cinnamon to taste.
- Apple Smoothie: 1 banana, 100g sweet grapes, 1 apple, a couple of kiwis, green tea.
- Immune Smoothie: 1 lemon, 3 bananas, 3 ripe kiwis.
- Orange Pomegranate: 3 oranges, 1 pomegranate, 1 slice ginger root, coconut.
- Raspberry Peach: 4 large, ripe peaches, 1 glass fresh raspberries, a little natural apple juice.
- Green Vitamin: 1 green apple, some lemon juice, fresh basil, and parsley.
2. Dried Fruits
When you want to prolong the fruity pleasure of Cyprus and enjoy its delicacies on winter evenings, the decision to make dried fruits yourself goes without saying! This is excellent, because dried fruits are just the most perfect treat, and with many benefits!
Firstly, such a product still contains vitamins and beneficial acids. Secondly, this delicacy is perfect for tea and replaces various sweets and chocolates, allowing you to keep your figure. Thirdly, the mineral content in each dried fruit is so high that it can completely replace the intake of seasonal vitamins, in order to maintain your immunity.
Thus, by preparing dried fruits by yourself, you can provide yourself with a very valuable product in the kitchen cabinet. Dried fruits normalize the digestion process because they contain dietary fiber. Adding dried fruits to your diet is as if you are taking a natural vitamin that excels in removing substances that are harmful to human health from the body.
My favorite recipes for making dried fruits:
You Will Need: fresh figs, drinking water, sugar.
Preparation: put the figs in a spacious pot and fill it with water so that the fruits are all completely submerged. Bring the water to a boil, adding two tablespoons of sugar for each liter of water. After the water reaches boiling, first add the less ripened fig fruits, and after three minutes add the rest.
Cook the figs on medium heat for 5 minutes. Then dump the cooked fruit into a colander to get rid of all the excess water. Once done, lay the fig fruits wide-side down on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 60 degrees (Celsius).
Important: leave the oven door cracked.
Within about a day, the figs will dry out completely. They should be manually flattened and put back in the oven for a couple of hours with the oven door cracked. Once taken out of the oven, string the dried fruits on a rough string and hang them (this is a must). Hanging in room temperature, in fresh air, our figs will dry out and turn into “dried fruit” in about 5 to 6 hours.
In order for home-dried fruits to retain their taste and important properties until the next season, they should be stored at room temperature in a paper bag.
Figs help in cleansing the airways and also in cutting down phlegm. They’re the perfect home doctor for any inflammatory issues and they assist in a quicker recovery from colds, due to their amounts of vitamin C.
You Will Need: fresh peaches.
Preparation: Wash your fresh peaches thoroughly, and then cut them into halves, removing the pit. Divide each half into thin slices, and place them on a baking sheet, then off to the oven. It is important to monitor the temperature: in the first two hours — 70 degrees, and then reduce to 50 degrees. Finally, dry the peaches at low temperature.
You Will Need: ripe bananas, lemon juice, water.
Preparation: the main thing in this recipe is to choose ripe and tasty bananas in which the pulp is dense and light.
Before cooking, the bananas need to be thoroughly washed in running water and only then peeled. I really like to have dried banana chips with me for a snack, so the recipe will be about specifically those chips. The peeled bananas need to be cut into identical circles, up to 10 millimeters thick. Next, in a container, you need to collect boiled water at room temperature and add two tablespoons of lemon juice. Leave the chopped bananas in salted water for one minute — this is so the bananas do not turn black. Afterwards, put the banana circles in a colander and wait until all excess liquid has drained from them.
Then we proceed to drying using natural sunlight: put the circles on a flat surface (baking sheet, tray), and cover them with either thin gauze or parchment paper (this is necessary in order to protect them from various insects).
Drying time using direct sunlight depends on weather conditions and the size of your circles. A minimum of two days, maximum four.
You Will Need: oranges, running water, lemon juice.
Preparation: I really like dried oranges and, in general, dried fruits, as they are not only delicious, but they can also be used for various decorations. For example, decorative dishes, cocktails, New Year’s wreaths, bouquets, for decorating the house, and so on. The main thing is the presence of imagination and taste. Citrus circles can be of different sizes, but the main thing is that their bright orange color is preserved, and there are no rotten seeds. First of all, citrus fruits must be thoroughly washed under running water.
Then, when the oranges dry out, cut them into rings up to five millimeters thick. I advise you to make all the circles the same thickness so that they are evenly dried, simultaneously.
After this we need to prepare the acid solution: boiled water at room temperature and the juice of one lemon. We drop orange circles in the water for twenty minutes (we need this so that they do not darken, and thus preserve their natural brightness and orange tint). Spread the circles of water on a paper towel and let dry a little.
I prefer to dry the oranges in the oven. We cover the baking sheet with parchment and put the dried citrus circles on it. It is important to keep a small distance between the circles so they don’t stick together. Then put the pan in the oven at 100-120 degrees.
Leave the oven door ajar so that the air circulates in the oven, and our oranges are dried well. Drying time depends on the thickness of the orange slices and takes anywhere from four to eight hours. Do not forget to control the drying process: you need to flip the circles. Also, overdrying and burning is a no-no.
You Will Need: ripe mango, running water, rice oil.
Preparation: dried mango is a delicacy that is loved by almost anyone who has tried it. This withered delicacy is most often brought ready-made from warm countries, but it will be much healthier for you to make it yourself. At the beginning, rinse the mango thoroughly under running water. Carefully remove the skin from the flesh, and then cut it into thin strips.
Then we spread out the sliced mango on a baking sheet, which needs to be covered first with parchment paper and sent to the oven at 60 degrees. It is also important to leave the oven door cracked a little. Once out of the oven, the mango slices need to be covered with a thin layer of rice oil in order to preserve the natural color of the fruit and its beneficial properties. No sugar is used in the preparation of this delicacy. Why? You don’t need it due to the natural taste of the fruit.
Dried mango is not only a delicious treat, but also a very healthy addition to any diet. This dried fruit will help you with sleep problems, prolonged depression, and is also great at assisting chronic fatigue. Dried mango is a very satisfying food and most often it is taken with you for snacks, or added to morning cereal for breakfast. I like to cook muffins with the pieces of dried mango added — I will share the recipe later.
You Will Need: persimmons, running water.
Preparation: dried persimmons are a real go-to for losing weight. If you make dried persimmons properly, it will taste like an actual chocolate bar. For the drying process, we need an unripe persimmon that is just beginning to change its color from green to a yellowish tint. The process is as simple as can be, but accuracy and control are integral.
Proper dried persimmons can only be obtained if there is a dry and very warm room that is regularly vented.
The most delicious dried fruits are obtained by drying in the open air for several weeks. We rinse persimmons under running water and wipe dry. After that, we select a rough thread and string the fruits with the stalks still attached. We arrange the threads with a sufficient distance between the fruits, so they don’t touch each other and so the decaying process doesn’t begin. I want to note that the color of the finished persimmon (brown-red) is not as bright as that of a fresh persimmon, but this does not affect the taste at all.
The dried and ready fruits should be stored in a warm and dry room. Choose a container, cover with parchment paper, and lay out the dried fruit. So that the fruits do not stick to each other, you can sprinkle them lightly with flour.
You Will Need: large apricots — ripe, but not overripe, running water.
Preparation: firstly, gently wash the apricots under running water without damaging the skin of the fruit. After that, the most difficult and important process is to push out the pit with a wooden stick so that the fruit remains whole. But if you do not want to spend time on this, the apricots can simply be halved, and you may take the pit out by hand. I prefer the most natural way of drying — in fresh air. To do this, the prepared fruits need to be spread on a smooth surface (tray, wire rack), covered with gauze. Then leave the tray in the shade (where there is a slight draft) for 6 hours. During this time, the fruits cease to secrete juice, and will dry out a little. Then transfer the tray to a place with direct sunlight and leave them there until the desired result is reached.
You can check the finished dried fruit with your fingers: squeeze the little apricots, and if juice does not seep out, then it’s ready! The natural process of making dried fruit from apricots will take you up to two weeks.
3. Fruit Leathers
And now, I would like to tell you all about one of my favorite treats from Cypriot peaches. Fruit leather! A sweetness that won’t harm your figure, will cheer you up, and delight you on a winter evening.
Fruit leathers began to be made from overripe peaches that were not suitable for fresh dishes and dried fruits. That’s how we got the so-called “peach sweets”, or candy.
You Will Need: overripe peaches, sugar, and lemon juice.
Preparation: wash peaches under running water and get rid of seeds. Then cut them into cubes, place in a blender, and puree.
The resulting mass should be boiled over a low heat for about ten minutes. Add citric acid and sugar to taste. When boiling, be sure to stir constantly so the mass does not thicken, and all the sugar dissolves evenly. After that, let the puree cool at room temperature. Next, pout it on a pallet used for making fruit leathers and sent it off to dry in the dryer/oven at the lowest temperature. Typically, the entire process takes approximately ten hours. It is important not to overly dry out the fruit leather and pull it out of the dryer on time. The resulting consistency should be soft and elastic.
Is It Possible to Export Fruit from Cyprus?
Now that I’ve told you all about the sweet fruits of Cyprus and what you can make them into, you probably are asking: is it possible to take fruits out of Cyprus? The answer? Yes, you can! It’s just important to consider a couple of rules:
- Before departure, all fruits must be securely placed in good packaging. I use zippable baggies and put everything in containers. The secret is to pack everything in tight, but not so much that they’re popping at the seams.
- Be sure to find out in advance what specific weight of hand luggage and baggage is allowed by your airline. Nobody can forbid you to bring fruits on board, but if you carry a lot, it is better to keep them in your luggage.
- Buy fruit at the end of your vacation, right before departure, so that they transport better, and so that once you get home you’ll have the freshest and tastiest fruits on the table.
Have a tasty vacation!