Wednesday 22 June 2022

5 West African Fruits You Need To Try

Nigeria (and the whole of West Africa) is blessed with an abundance of unique and highly nutritious fruits. If you want to expand your culinary repertoire and try something new, this list is a great starting point. To continue boosting your knowledge of Nigerian ingredients, grab a copy of my cookbook Vegan Nigerian Kitchen.

1. Agbalumo (Yoruba) | Udara (Igbo) | African Star Apple | African Cherry 

This popular Nigerian fruit has a bright orange exterior and a fibrous, gummy interior that can be either milky orange or deep red-orange. They contain hard, dark seeds that are surrounded by a pulp which many like to suck off and chew. In fact, chew the flesh and skin long enough and you get a sort of chewing gum from it. In terms of taste, it can be sweet, sour or both. They are packed with antioxidants which neutralise free radicals, and contain a high amount of vitamin C. They are usually in season between November and March, and can be found piled high at local markets and fruit stalls.


Cultivated and used mainly in the northern parts of Nigeria, the fruit, seeds and leaves of the baobab tree are known for their highly nutritional qualities. The fruit contains one of the highest amounts of antioxidants than any other fruit and are packed with vitamin C, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Dried and ground baobab can be sprinkled into smoothies, porridges and other foods to provide a nutritional kick. 

3. Guava

A sweet, fragrant fruit that is light yellow or pale pink when ripe and which contains several edible seeds. It is often eaten as a snack as it is, or can be added to fruit salads. They are a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium and folate. 

4. Rose Apple | Nigerian Apple

This fruit is not like the common apple you may be familiar with. They are closer to guava in terms of texture. They have a reddish pink exterior and a pale cream flesh. They are often eaten as they are, and the seeds are to be discarded. They contain B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, potassium and calcium.

5. Ube | African Plum | Elemi (Yoruba) | Eben (Efik)

Not to be mistaken for purple yam (which also goes by this name), this oblong fruit has a dark purple exterior and pale green interior, with a large seed in the centre. It is indigenous to Nigeria and many other West African countries. It is often eaten as a snack alongside roasted corn. The fruit is either boiled, blanched or roasted, producing a buttery soft flesh when cooked, and this is why it is sometimes referred to as butter pear.


  1. Only three are African in origin. Tasty nonetheless.

  2. Fruits are nature's gift of vitamin supplements to mankind. We must eat whatever is in season to enrich the body with essential nutrients.

  3. What are dates?