A brief stroll through the produce aisle in your supermarket may give you
the impression that you've got a wide variety of fruit choices, but
in reality that's only a small sampling of Mother Nature's bounty.
The world is full of unusual and exotic treats that you've probably
never heard of before. So live a little, and try something different.
Apples and oranges may begin to look fairly ordinary after you look at
these wild and delicious options:
Resembling a cross between a melon and a pear, the pepino is a sweet fruit
that is related to nightshades such as tomatoes and eggplant. Common throughout
its native lands in South America, this fruit has been exported as far
away as New Zealand and Turkey. It can bear fruit within four to six months
of being planted and makes for a resilient crop, so it is favored by farmers
who know of it.
Pepino is low in calories and rich in fiber and antioxidants. The fruit
is believed to promote healthy and firm skin.
In South America, pepino is mainly eaten as a dessert and is also often
used in fruit salads and sauces. It’s also eaten with meat, fish
or even ice cream. The skin isn’t usually eaten.
Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) is the high-energy purple berry of a special
Amazon palm native to Central and South America. Acai berries are frequently
touted as a “superfood” with anti-aging and weight-loss properties,
and they appear to live up to the hype. Packed with antioxidants, this
little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world,
according to some studies.
While acai bowls are relatively new in the United States, they've been
a staple in Brazil since—well, forever. If you’re a foodie,
then you probably already know all about acai bowls. They’re a frozen
smoothie made of acai berries, assorted fresh fruit and honey, topped
with more fresh fruit, coconut shavings and sometimes, granola.
Delicious, sweet yet tangy, kumquat (cumquat, as it is generally known
in Europe) is a winter/spring seasonal citrus fruit.
Although kumquats taste like other citrus fruits, they’re different
in one way. You can eat all of it, including the peel.
Fresh kumquats are packed with numerous antioxidants and their peel contains
many important essential oils. Together, these compounds impart special
citrus aroma to the fruit.
Kumquats may be eaten alone or sliced and added to fruit salads or fruit
bowls. They are also excellent in jams, jellies, and marmalades.
The fall harvest brings in the bright sweetness of apples and the warm
richness of pumpkins and squash. It’s also the season of persimmons,
a somewhat less common fall fruit.
The American persimmon is native to the eastern United States. It is packed
with beneficial nutrients like vitamin A, B, and C, and is a good source
of calcium and fiber. To get the most nutritional value from persimmons,
it’s best to eat them raw. However, if you have a lot of them, consider
making persimmon jam or persimmon cookies.
The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India,
and was cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region
since ancient times. It is widely grown throughout India and the drier
parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies and tropical Africa.
The tree was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769, and
continues to be grown there and in the drier parts of Arizona.
Pomegranate fruit remains one of the most popular, nutritionally rich fruits
in the world, with unique flavor, taste, and antioxidant characteristics.
Along with sub-arctic pigmented berries and some tropical exotics such
as mango, it is often called a “super fruit.”
To experience its rich flavor, scoop out and eat the small seeds as-is
without adding anything, while bearing in mind that the juice easily stains
fingers and clothes.
The star fruit contain five lobes covered in an edible waxy yellow skin.
The yellow flesh flavor is reminiscent of citrus, and varies from quite
unpleasant to mildly sweet, depending upon the variety. Sometimes the
center of the star fruit contains black seeds.
Star fruit is sweet, juicy and different. The edible skin is shiny, thin
and waxy to touch and taste.
Star fruit is best eaten raw but can be consumed in jams, jellies and juices.
You can eat it whole along with the skin, which is firm, juicy and crispy.
The Kiwi fruit tastes a bit like a tangy melon, with a tiny hint of sourness.
Most people peel off the brown skin and then savor the inside.
Kiwi is a standard presence in fruit salad. But does it have a place in
your own kitchen’s fruit bowl? Kiwi has a lot of vitamin C and studies
point to the high-fiber, potassium-rich fruit as a possible aid to heart
health and to respiratory function. With all these benefits, it’s
no surprise that kiwi often finds a place on lists of “superfoods.”
Kiwi fruit can be eaten alone, used in mixed-salads, blended into smoothies,
or even made into salsas.