Xoconostle… What is it? Can you pronounce it? If you struggle with the word there may be a great reason behind it, the word actually stems from an ancient language that dates back the 1500’s called the ‘Náhuatl’ Language native to the ancient Aztec Empire which is now modern day Mexico. Interestingly enough, more than a million of indigenous people in Mexico still speak the Náhuatl language and have kept that and their culture alive for many years. I am sure you are familiar with the modern day word ‘chocolate’ right? Chocolate, like xoconostle, is believed to be stemmed and developed from the ancient languages of the Aztec’s as well as the Mayan empires (both regions largely based in modern day Mexico).
You may have heard of the sweet prickly pear fruit that comes in many different vibrant colors, but have you seen it’s equally beautiful and unique cousin the ‘xoconostle’? This variety of prickly pear fruit is one for the fans of the ‘sour’ taste. The word xoconostle (pronounced: choko-nose-leh) itself tells why when the word is broken down into two parts. From the ancient Náhuatl language, ‘Xoconochtli’ can be broken down into: ‘Xococ’ which means ‘sour’ and ‘nochtli’ which means tuna or prickly pear fruit.
Similar to the sweet prickly pear, xoconostle is found on the cactus plant. Cacti plants tend to start blooming the most beautiful flowers in Summer and Spring, this in turn sets the foundation for a cactus fruit to be born around Fall season. In some regions in Mexico where this prickly pear is widespread, popular and most commonly enjoyed, the fruit can be found throughout the year due to its warmer and unique geographic climates. The fruit offers good nutrition year round to these regions and its people by being a good source of soluble fiber, calcium, antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and more.
It is important to be mindful of where our food comes from and learning why it get’s it’s name. Both of these tips can better help us have a relationship with our food sources while learning valuable food knowledge, so I invite you to explore food names and history!
Let me know what exotic food you would love to learn next & remember, food is vida (life) if it is treated with respect, proper intentions and as our own balanced personal fuel! I hope you enjoyed this brief history and foodie lesson, let me know in the comments section what you think and if you have ever used any type of prickly pear fruits.
Here is an added bonus in case you have local xoconostle fruits in a store near you.
To learn a quick yummy recipe that features two beautiful Mexican natives foods, check out our “Spicy Tomatillo” veggie side dish, to use for a veggie compliment to any meal, as a stir fry veggie with your favorite protein of choice or top your tacos or burritos with this yummy spicy addition!
Click here to learn more about tomatillos and their cousins heirloom green tomatoes and red tomatoes
Hope you enjoyed the read!
- How to Make Blue Corn Masa
- For more recipes click here!
- For videos be sure to visit Food is Vida’s YouTube Channel! Keep up with easy quick food videos by subscribing and let me know what you would like to learn next!
- LEARN more about the author, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and plant-based aficionado behind Food is Vida.
Food is Vida Recipes & More!
Translate (Spanish, etc.)
Hi there! My name is Jennifer Rodriguez. I’m a Latina Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Professional Food Photographer and owner & founder of Food is Vida! This is where (as an inspired & experienced food expert) I share tips about health, wellness & most importantly preventive nutrition! Preventive nutrition is simply seeing the true value of food, respecting it and balancing it in our everyday ‘vida’ or life. Join me as I share my love for food & life photography, vegan recipes you wouldn’t believe are vegan, foodie stories/ facts & more!