One of the best things about living in Mexico is without a doubt the abundance of fresh produce that can be found at your local mercado. If you’ve ever been to a Mexican market then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s something about the epic hustle and bustle of produce shopping at a street market in Mexico that never gets old. The colors, the sounds, and the energy of Mexican markets make shopping for weekly food a treat in itself. Not to mention, the food you’ll find here is some of the freshest you’ll ever taste!
Chances are you’re going to find things on your Mexican market adventure that you’ve likely never seen before, and you’ll much less have any idea of what to with them.
Here’s a quick low-down on a couple of our favorite unique Mexican market finds:
Dried Hibiscus Flowers (Jamaica):
Hibiscus is a very common find all over Mexico, which is why it’s actually an extremely popular beverage all over the country. Particularly in Puerto Vallarta, you can find Jamaica – an iced tea made with hibiscus flowers – at almost any restaurant or taco stand. Not only is it delicious, but it also comes along with plenty of nutritional benefits including being packed with antioxidants, helping to lower blood pressure, boosting liver function and promoting weight loss.
Here’s now you make it:
- Add 1 cup of dried hibiscus flowers per liter of water to a pot
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 – 10 minutes
- Allow to cool
- Strain into a pitcher and add a natural sweeter such as honey or agave to taste
- Add a touch of lemon or lime juice
*Bonus: Sauté boiled hibiscus flowers with garlic, onion, fresh tomato, salt, pepper and a bit of raw cane sugar then serve on fresh tortillas with salsa verde, avocado and cilantro for some delicious vegan tacos!
The little green Mexican tomatillo, also known as the Mexican husk tomato, is a staple ingredient in Mexican cooking. Great news is, you can find this little guy almost anywhere, not just at Mexican markets. The perfect blend of bitter and sweet found in this humble green tomatillo is the perfect foundation for any profoundly flavorful Mexican salsa.
Make your very own perfect salsa verde:
- 10 tomatillos washed and peeled
- Generous bunch of cilantro
- ¼ white onion
- 4 – 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 -2 serrano chilies (if you do spicy)
- ¼ tsp of powdered chicken or veggie stock
- A pinch of salt to taste (the powdered stock might be salty enough for you)
Blend. For an extra treat throw an avocado or two in there and enjoy a delicious salsa verde/guacamole blend!
Tunas (Cactus Fruit)
Also known as prickly pear or cactus pear, tunas are packed full of fiber, magnesium and vitamin C – making them a perfect fruit to add to your Mexican market shopping list.
How to prepare:
- Use gloves to avoid getting small thorns in your hands
- Cut off the top and bottom and make a slice down outside of the fruit to peel easily
- Chop into cubes and garnish with lime juice, salt and powdered chili to taste.
*Seeds are digestible, and fruit is best served cold.*
You can also make a delicious beverage with them:
- Peel and chop according to the instructions above
- Blend with cucumber, iced green tea and fresh mint
When heading out to shop at your local community farmers market or at your neighborhood Mexican market, be sure to take your reusable bags to avoid single use plastic bags. Check out our handmade Erica Maree Mexican market bags that are perfect for the occasion!
See more of our Erica Maree totes and handbags here!
Here at the Erica Maree studio, which doubles as a bohemian fashion and accessory shop in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, we also believe in the value of supporting artisans whose handicrafts have been passed down for generations. Each one of our pieces is created by hand with heart and soul, and provides fair labor wages for artisans in order to keep the magic of traditional Mexican hand embroidery alive.
As always, thanks for shopping handmade!