You probably eat at least a couple of bananas, oranges, or apples a week. Are your taste buds yearning for something different? While many of the following fruits originate in tropical climates, you can find some of them in the states.
These fruits have all sorts of interesting flavors (some even taste like chocolate!) Many can also be made into candy or used to flavor a homemade liqueur. If you want to broaden your palate, check out some of the world’s most interesting and exotic fruits…
Australian Finger Lime Looks Like Caviar
The Australian finger lime is also known as Citrus australasica or caviar lime. It’s found in the rain forest in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. The fruit is considered a “gourmet” bush food. Its vesicles (i.e., pearls) are similar to lime caviar and are intended as a garnish.
When you chew the vesicles, they provide a burst of tangy flavor. The fruit is also acidic like lime. Some people make marmalade and pickles from the fruit. Others dry the peel and use it as a spice.
The Kiwano Melon Is A Good Source Of Protein
Kiwano is a melon from the central and southern regions of Africa. It’s also known as cucumis metuliferus, horned melon, and African horned cucumber. The Kiwano melon is mostly water and has few calories, carbs, and fat. More than 15 percent of its calories come from protein.
The melon has several antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, and lutein to protect against cellular damage and inflammation. The fruit is also a great source of iron and has a low glycemic index, so your blood sugar won’t spike when you eat it. Its various electrolytes also keep you hydrated.
Cherimoyas Tastes Like A Blend Of Pineapple & Pear
Cherimoyas have a green exterior and what appears to be small, overlapping oval flower petals. They were initially grown by Inca farmers in Ecuador and Peru. Their texture is a cross between a ripe peach and custard. They taste like a mix of pineapple and pear. Some people believe they taste a hint of mango, strawberries, and lemon when eating them.
Cherimoyas contain a lot of antioxidants, which help fight heart disease and some cancers. They’re also full of vitamin B6, which is known to stave off mood disorders. The fruit also contains lutein, which may boost eye health.
Mexican Miniature Watermelon May Have Been Used For Medicinal Purposes
Melothria scabra is also known as mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, cucamelon, Mexican miniature watermelon, Mexican sour cucumber and pepquinos. The fruit is native to Mexico and Central America where it’s dubbed “little watermelon.” The fruit looks like tiny watermelons, which are the perfect size for mice!
The tiny melon tastes a bit like cucumber and green fava beans. The fruit has been part of Mexican and Central American diets since pre-Columbian times. These cultures also reportedly used the melon for medicinal purposes.
Buddha’s Hand Has Many Unique Purposes, But It Has No Flesh Or Juice
Buddha’s hand is also known as the “fingered citron” and is described as a lemon with fingers. It has a sweet floral fragrance and mild zest. Interestingly, there’s little to no flesh or juice inside. As a result, people use the rind for baking or to infuse into liqueurs.
You can also use the rind to make candy. Or you can shave thin slices of the fruit to add to a salad. If you’re still not convinced, you can use Buddha’s hand as a fragrant air freshener.
Durian Is The Stinkiest Fruit On Earth
The durian is a highly prized fruit in Southeast Asia where it is considered to be the king of fruits. Its most well-known trait is its strong odor. Durians are also quite large and have a thorny skin. They contain high levels of vitamin C and potassium, and they are a good source of carbohydrates.
The fruit has such a pungent smell that countries such as Thailand and Japan and Hong Kong don’t allow people to bring it onto public transportation. In Singapore, many taxis drivers refuse to allow passengers to have the fruit in their possession.
The Jabuticaba Tree Has Strange But Delicious Growths On Its Branches
Jabuticaba is also known as the Brazilian grape tree. The tree looks as though it has all these weird growths on its trunk and branches, but it’s actually edible fruit. In addition to Brazil, the fruit grows in Argentina, Chile, and Peru. The tree evolved so animals could easily eat its fruit. This enables the seeds to move from the parent tree to grow even more jabuticabas.
You can eat jabuticaba raw or use it to make jam. The fruit contains several antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. You can even grow your own Jabuticaba if you live in a tropical or subtropical climate.
Jackfruit Is The Largest Tree Fruit In The World
Jackfruit is native to South India. It has a spiky outer skin and is green or yellow. What makes it unique is that it’s the largest tree fruit in the world and can grow up to 80 pounds! Jackfruit tastes like a mix of fruits such as apples, pineapples, mangoes, and bananas. Many vegans and vegetarians use it as a meat substitute because of its shredded meat texture.
Jackfruit has a lot of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a low glycemic index. It may help ward off heart disease and diabetes.
People Eat Miracle Berries At ‘Flavor Tripping Parties’
Miracle berries are considered a “miracle fruit” that cause sour foods, such as lemons, to taste sweet when you eat them. These berries were were first documented by a Frenchman in 1725. For a reason scientists can’t entirely explain, the protein miraculin bonds to your taste buds to make sour foods taste good.
The fruit is mainly found in West Africa. It’s said to curb sugar cravings and is used recreationally at “flavor tripping parties.” People eat the berries or pills made with miraculin before eating items such as lemons, chili peppers, and beer.
Snake Fruit Is A Super Popular Snack In Thailand
Snake fruit, also known as salak or salacca zalacca, is native to Indonesia but is also produced in southeast Asia. It’s a hugely popular fruit in Thailand (as popular as apples and oranges in the United States). It has a sweet and acidic taste with hints of pineapple, citrus, and honey.
Vendors will peel off the spiky skin, and customers often dip the fruit into a mix of sugar and salt before eating it. Caution: if you eat too much of the fruit, you may get constipated.
Red Bananas Are Good For Your Immune System
Red bananas come from Southeast Asia, and they have a red skin. They’re very sweet when they’re ripe and taste like yellow bananas with perhaps a hint of raspberry. They have potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. They also have a decent amount of fiber mixed in.
The fruit contains carotenoids — lutein and beta carotene — which are good for eye health. They also have antioxidants that are known to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, they support a strong immune system and help fight infection. Use them in smoothies, on top of oatmeal, or pair them with peanut butter.
Tamarillos Are Sweet & Tangy With A Bitter Peel
The tamarillo likely originated in the semitropical forests in Brazil, Peru, and possibly from other South American areas such as Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia. It is oval in shape and has smooth and shiny skin. They are usually red, but some are orange-yellow. Tamarillos are sweet yet tangy, but the peel is bitter.
They are related to tomatoes, eggplants, tomatillos, groundcherry and chili peppers. They contain various vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients, such as fiber. The fruit can be put on salads or blended for smoothies, sauces, salsa, and jams.
Black Sapote Tastes Like Chocolate Pudding
Black Sapote is also known as the chocolate pudding fruit. Not only does it taste like chocolate pudding, it also has a similar consistency. But what makes it better than pudding is that it’s much healthier than chocolate and also has about four times more Vitamin C than an average orange.
The fruit is native to eastern Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia. These days it’s also grown in Florida, Australia, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and, Hawaii. It’s an excellent alternative to chocolate for milkshakes. You can also add it to yogurt.
Cupuaçu Tastes Great And Is Good For Hydrating Your Skin
Cupuaçu is related to cacao and is common in the Amazon in areas such as Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. It’s the national fruit of Brazil and is used in ice cream, snack bars, and other food items. The pulp smells like a blend of chocolate and pineapple, and the juice tastes like pear, banana, passion fruit, and melon.
It’s used for more than just eating. Some swear by the fruit’s hydration properties. It purportedly restores skin’s elasticity and is great for dry, sunburned, or aging skin.
Longan Has A Good Dose Of Vitamin C
Longan, which are native to the southern portion of China and Burma, are similar to the lychee but taste less aromatic. Some compare the taste to honeydew melon. In Chinese, the name translates to “dragon’s eye meat.” They have been using the fruit for hundreds of years in their herbal remedies.
The fruit has a distinct, musky aftertaste. You don’t have to visit China to try it, either; some orchards in Florida grow longan. The fruit has more Vitamin C than fresh oranges. The pulp also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Biriba Almost Tastes Like Lemon Meringue Pie
Biriba, native to Brazil, is also known as rollinia deliciosa, wild sugar apple, and aratiku. Some liken the taste to lemon meringue pie. It’s sweet and creamy with notes of banana, pineapple, and coconut. The fruit is popular in Brazil and tropical areas of South America, Southern Mexico, Florida, and Hawaii.
Many eat biriba raw, but it’s also used to make wine and creamy drinks (when combined with milk). You can also use it to make sauce, flan, ice cream, and souffle.
Sapodilla Has A High Fiber Content
Sapodilla likely originated in Mexico and Belize. Today it is also popular in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It resembles a kiwi without the fuzzy peel. It has a sweet taste and smooth or grainy texture. It’s known for being a great source of fiber (and is used to fight constipation).
Sapodilla is rich in antioxidants such as tannin, which potentially has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic properties. The fruit can be consumed raw or added to fruit salads, ice cream, jam, pies, and more.
Breadfruit Tastes Like Freshly Baked Bread
The prickly oval fruit known as breadfruit is popular in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. When you cook the fruit, it tastes like freshly baked bread. Many tropical countries use the fruit as a vegetable. You can saute it in garlic and oil, or blend it with coconut milk. The fruit can be candied or pickled.
Some people make paper with breadfruit. If you’re looking to get your hands on some, check out a Caribbean specialty store. The fruit is believed to have originated in New Guinea, the Maluku Islands, and the Philippines.
Akebia Is A Delicacy In Japan But Considered Invasive In The United States
Akebia quinata is also known as chocolate vine, five-leaf chocolate vine, or five-leaf akebia. It is native to Japan, China and Korea, and its blooms give off a chocolate scent. The plant is invasive in the eastern United States, and it grows quickly.
The shrub produces fruit shaped like sausages with an edible, sweet and soft pulp. The Japanese eat the fruit as a seasonal delicacy. The rind is slightly bitter but is sometimes used as a vegetable. The vines of the shrub have also been used for basket weaving.
Hala Fruit Is Called ‘Stink Nut’ For A Reason
Hala fruit is native to the Pacific islands. Islanders eat the fruit raw, boil it with coconut, or make it into a paste. It tastes similar to a blend of sugar cane and mango. In Hawaii, islanders use the hala tree for medicinal purposes too. They apply and eat the roots to treat medical issues.
Hawaiians also use the fruit to make dye, and they braid the leaves to produce household items. The tree’s pollen was once used as an aphrodisiac. When the fruit ferments, it produces a foul smell, which has earned it the nickname “stink nut.”