Did Anybody Say Jocotes?

Guatemalan Mangos and Jocotes

There are some Guatemalan fruits that are impossible to translate into English; jocotes is one of them. Jocotes is the little round fruit that looks like cherry tomatoes in the image above.

Can anybody help translating what jocotes are and what could be a close equivalent?

The Jocote Translation Side Note Update:
Thanks to Cindee for providing the following information about the fruit Guatemalans called jocotes.

Jocote or Ciruela Roja

Known in English as Red Mombin and Hog Plum, jocotes are tree fruits, produced by Spondias purpurea of the Cashew Family, which is native to tropical America. Often jocotes are eaten raw but Mexicans also like to mash them in water, add sugar, and drink the water like Kool-Aid. They are 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) long. Jocotes are usually reddish, but can come close to being yellow.

Ciruela, or Spanish Plum

Ciruela or Yellow Mombin, Spondias mombin. Sometimes known in English as Yellow Mombin, the Spanish name ciruela means “plum,” and these tree fruits look and taste a lot like northern plums. They are very closely related to the above jocotes, being in the same plant family and genus. They are Spondias mombin. Note the large, white, very hard, boxy seed. After growing on leafless tree limbs for months, the fruits ripen at the end of the dry season, in June or so. They are good raw and also make tasty preserves

© 2008 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • I won’t even try… however I think it would be useful to try to spell the name as if it were English: Jocotes pronounced “hawkottes” How about them apples? Would the LA teacher agree? A picture of “jocotes marañon” (or “jocote marañones” or “jocotes marañones”) would be nice too.

  • Me

    plum, in the citrus-like family, bigger pit …yeah…can’t really translate.

  • liz

    the name is Red mombin, (Spondias purpurea), but there are a lot of americans that already are using jocotes the same way.

  • Sally
  • Hahahaha. “hawkottes” That reminds me of “free – hall – eat- us.”    Actually, Manolo, hehehe, based on my research, which could be wrong…but I doubt it. Haha. Jocotes can be pronounced /hoe-ko-tes/  That middle o has the long sound.  I suppose /haw/ and /hoe/ could be similar, but I fear we can get into a whole phonetic discussion/debate, which will include (undoubtedly) perspectives on region, accent, and so on… and so I’ll just point you in this direction.  See, you used the Hawk card (/aw/ sound), I used the Long O card (/o/), I can’t put that line on top of the o to denote the long sound. Okay, so, this Public Television moment was brought to you by the letter J as in Jocotes, which may have an equivalent in English, but who knows. Now for sharing time. Even though I grew up in California there was a time when little Carmencita had no bleeping cue as to the different sounds vowels could make in English.  I told my elementary teacher (I was proud I could actually utter words in English mind you after being quite mute):  “May I have a /sh-i-t/ of paper?” My teacher blushed, gave me a piece of paper, and oh-so-tactfully said, “Here, Carmen, here’s your /sh-ee-t/ of paper.”  I looked at her as if saying, “That’s what I said woman.”

  • Jerry T

    One guide we had said they were like plums. Is that true?

  • Jerry B

    They’re not like anything up here in the USA, the closest thing I can think of is cherries or plums, but they are nice and tasty. Good food when you’re taking a car trip in Guatemala.

    A little research reveals that the classification for the fruit is Spondias Purpurea. Other names are ciruela, hog plum, purple mombin.

    I just call them tasty.

  • When I was in Guate, I was served jugo de nance at at friend’s house, and it was absolutely divine. It took me nearly 2 years, but I finally found out what a “nance” is (thanks to your description in Thursday’s post!). My Guatemalan friends are often at a loss when trying to describe or translate for me the fruits that they’re used to.
    Are those papayas to the left of the jocotes?

  • never seen those fruits all my life…
    the one on the left looks like a papaya.

  • Raquel

    MMMMmmm! Yummy! Gracias Rudy! I’m loving all these food photos. They’re fantastic!

  • Alaya and Janna, the fruit next to the jocotes are mangos. We have many kinds of mangos in Guatemala. This particular kind of mango is very similar to the Tommy Mangos, but it is bit elongated.

  • Be Gutierrez


  • Great update. I thought that jocotes and jocote marañon were not related, but now that I know that jocotes are part of the cashew family (which is what I remember about jocote marañon, it being the chashew fruit) it seems clear why they share the name.

  • Pingback: The Jocotes de Corona Wallpaper | La Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo()

  • Mayra

    I love jocotes they have them in El Salvador too. I havnt been there in about 8 yrs. Now that I am pregnant I am craving jocotes so much to the point where I want to get on a plane and go eat some ha ha but being pregnant and traveling dont mix. My mom goes often but its illegal to bring them back. Does anyone know if there is anyway to get them here in the united states? preferably in California?

  • Steve

    @Mayra, they have them frozen at the super market, there are two different brands of them at El Super where I buy groceries. (El Super is a grocery store chain if you’re not familiar with them)

  • lahvina

    sinigwelas! (filipino translation)

  • Charlie Bosquez

    we used to eat the un-ripe ones (green and hard skinned) with salt. awesome.

    • Ahhh, the good old days…