Ponche de Frutas – Holiday Hot Fruit Punch

This traditional hot fruit punch is served at Christmas and on New Year’s Eve in Guatemala, Mexico and Latin America. For a celebratory ponche de frutas add a splash of dark or white rum 

Ponche de Frutas is popular for Christmas and New Year's Eve

Ponche de Frutas is popular for Christmas and New Year’s Eve

A hot fruit punch or ponche de frutas is a must-have during the holidays in Guatemala. Not only does a steaming mug of fruit punch warm you up ( and yes it does get chilly in the highlands of Guatemala and Mexico), but the spices and fresh fruit make it a deliciously fragrant drink to serve.

It’s most often served with tamales or with champurradas, the traditional Guatemalan cookie that’s a bit like biscotti and perfect for dunking into hot drinks.

The Secret Ingredient to Guatemalan Fruit Punch

In Guatemala, people take nose-to-tail dining seriously when it comes to meat. For example, it’s not uncommon to see a pot of blood boiling on the stove for moronga salsa or a whole pig’s head for revolcado stew. They take the same enthusiastic approach to eating every last bit of fruit.

So, I wasn’t too surprised when my sister-in-law Lorena stopped me in the middle of making ponche de frutas — a holiday fruit punch enjoyed at Navidad and on New Year’s Eve throughout Mexico, Guatemala and Central America — to stop me from throwing away the pineapple skin.

Baby pineapple

Guatemalan ponche uses the rind of the pineapple for extra flavour

“You’ve got to boil those cáscaras,” she said, taking the pineapple husk and the plantain skin and putting them into a separate pot to boil.

“They add flavour and vitaminas.”

As it turns out she’s right! Pineapple skin is packed with  bromelain, a powerful enzyme with anti-inflammatory and healing properties.

I haven’t seen many people using the pineapple skin in ponche de frutas ( or other dishes for that matter!) so perhaps it’s a unique Guatemalan tradition or one peculiar to our family.

But I have to admit that eating every part of the fruit does make a big difference to the taste of the ponche and it is satisfying not let any bit of fruit go to waste.

So, while I haven’t yet gotten on board with  the carnivore side of nose-to-tail dining in Guatemala, I say bring on the fruit compost when it comes to fruit punch. Be sure to give it a try when making this recipe!  

Ingredients to Use for Ponche de Frutas

Ingredients for ponche de frutas

Seasonal ingredients for Ponche de Frutas Navideños

So, apart from pineapple rinds, what other ingredients go into making ponche de frutas? Basically whatever fruit is seasonal.

Typically, it will be an assortment of apples (fresh and dried), plums, prunes, pears, raisins, plantain and sometimes coconut plus spices.

 How to Make Ponche de Frutas Navideños

Wash the pineapple and plantain throughly. Then add to a large pot, bring to a boil and simmer with the cinnamon stick and cloves in a large pot for at least 30 minutes.

Pineapple for Ponche de Frutas

Don’t throw away the skin of a pineapple – use it for ponche!

Once it’s simmered for 30 minutes, strain it and reserve the liquid and cinnamon stick. You can now discard the skins and cloves.

Boil the husk of a pineapple for extra flavour in ponche de frutas

Boil the husk of a pineapple and strain the liquid to add extra flavour in ponche de frutas

Add six cups of water and sugar to taste to the pineapple/plantain water. I use much less sugar than is traditionally  used in Guatemala so I suggest you begin with half the amount called for in the recipe and then add more according to taste.

Ponche de Frutas

Add sugar to taste

After cleaning and preparing the remainder of the fruit, chop it into small pieces and add it to the liquid in the pot.

Ponche de Frutas Guatemalteco

Add chopped fruit and dried fruit to the juice

Simmer for 30 minutes until the fruit is tender but not mushy. Grate fresh nutmeg when ready to serve. 

Keep your ponche de frutas warm on the stove or in a slow cooker, so it’s ready to serve to friends and family who stop by. 

Add white or dark rum to taste

 ¡Feliz año nuevo! Happy New Year! 

Guatemalan and Mexican Ponche-de Frutas

Garnish your Ponche de Frutas with a cinnamon stick

Tip:

  •  Don’t throw away pineapple skin! It’s packed with  bromelain, a powerful enzyme with anti-inflammatory and healing properties
  • Store ponche de frutas in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Don’t consume the exterior leaves or thorns of a pineapple plant as they contain sap which can be irritating to the skin and toxic in large quantities.
  • If you can’t find plantain, you can substitute a banana that’s not overripe.
  • Using neglected bits of fruit is also the key to  success in other Guatemalan dishes such as Platanos en Mole, where the husk of the plantain serves as a thickening agent.
  • If you can find it, use piloncillo, an unrefined pure cane sugar, in the shape of a cone, found in Mexico rather than white or brown sugar
5 from 4 votes
Guatemalan and Mexican Ponche-de Frutas
Ponche de Frutas - Hot Fruit Punch
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

A hot fruit punch made of fresh and dried fruits served at Christmas and on New Year's Eve in Mexico, Guatemala and Latin America. Spike it with dark or white rum if you like. You can use any mixture of fruit but pineapple, plantain, and pineapples are musts.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Guatemala, Mexican
Keyword: Guatemalan drinks, New Year's Eve, party recipe, ponche de frutas
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 206 kcal
Author: Michele Peterson
Ingredients
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 plantain ripe
  • 1 apple fresh
  • 2 plums
  • 1 pear
  • 1/4 cup apples dried
  • 2 Tablespoons raisins
  • 8 cups water 6 and 2
  • 1/4 cup sugar I use less. Use Piloncillo ( Mexican brown sugar) if you can find it
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves whole
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice whole
  • 1 nutmeg freshly grated
Instructions
  1. Finely chop the pineapple and plantain into small pieces, reserving the husks. Set fruit aside.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water, the pineapple husk , the plantain skin and the spices to a quick boil, reduce the heat and simmer covered in a small pot for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain out the husks and spices, discarding all but the stick of cinnamon.
  4. Pour the boiled fruit juice into a large pot, adding the remaining six cups of water and sugar.
  5. Peel, core and finely dice the remaining fresh and dried fruit
  6. Add the diced pineapple, plantain, fresh fruit, raisins and cinnamon stick to the water in the pot.
  7. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust the sugar and spices as you like.
  8. Serve hot in mugs with bits of fruit in each.
Recipe Notes
  • Plantain should be ripe but not mushy 
  • Use a mix of fresh and dried apples
  • Wash the husk of your pineapple thoroughly 
  • Do not eat the sap, thorns or leave of a pineapple 
  • You can substitute honey or agave syrup for the sugar to taste  
Nutrition Facts
Ponche de Frutas - Hot Fruit Punch
Amount Per Serving
Calories 206
% Daily Value*
Sodium 22mg 1%
Potassium 455mg 13%
Total Carbohydrates 53g 18%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 36g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 10.3%
Vitamin C 100.4%
Calcium 3.4%
Iron 4.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Interested in more about Guatemalan and Mexican holiday cuisine? Sign up for the A Taste for Travel newsletter or check out my  post on Tamales: the soul of Navidad. 

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An easy recipe for ponche de frutas, a traditional hot fruit punch served at Christmas and New Year's in Guatemala, Mexico and Central America. #holiday #healthy #Navidad #Christmas

This easy recipe for ponche de frutas is a traditional hot fruit punch served at Christmas and on New Year's Eve in Mexico, Guatemala and Latin America. Add a splash of dark or white rum for a holiday party #navidad #holidaydrinks
Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 13 comments
  • Donna Janke
    Reply

    I wouldn’t have thought to use pineapple husks or plantain peel in anything, but the holiday punch looks delicious. On a more philosophical note, there may be a lesson here about what we discard or overlook in life.

  • Charles McCool
    Reply

    Healthy? What’s that? This sounds like a delicious beverage.

  • Culture Tripper
    Reply

    So true, and such a shame, that so much of the produce we buy end up in the recycling bin. I’d be up for boiling a plantain peel if it was grown in a clean place. Hot fruit punch on New Year’s sounds delicious, and even better with hot rum:)

  • esperanza
    Reply

    Now there’s a drink that will truly deliver a punch especially with a shot of rum. A good way to get one’s vitamins!

  • Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    Reply

    I’d love to taste this but don’t think I’ll be making it.

  • Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    Reply

    The hot fruit drink sounds delish and I love the phrase “nose-to-tail” dining! But I’m with you – no entrails please! Feliz ano nuevo!

  • santafetraveler
    Reply

    When US chef’s say they’re nose to tail or what I call nose to toes- I don’t think they get into the blood and guts, but maybe they do. I think I’m more farm-to-table!

  • Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru
    Reply

    So right about using every bit! Why recipes bother with grated zest rests your case. 🙂

  • Irene S. Levine
    Reply

    I’m not a fan of rum but this cocktail seems so fitting for the season!
    Best wishes for the New Year, Michele!

  • Marilyn Jones
    Reply

    I don’t “do” kitchen, but I really enjoyed learning more about Guatemala and how they prepare food — and punch!!

  • The Girl Next Door
    Reply

    Wow, this fruit punch sure looks delish! I never knew the rind of pineapple can be used too! 🙂

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Great to hear I wasn’t the only one who’d been throwing pineapple skin away!

  • Fiona Maclean
    Reply

    That sounds lovely and VERY seasonal! Great idea too using the pineapple skin. I love punch and this one looks really full of flavour

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