A guide to unusual fruit
When you think about fruit, I’m sure you immediately think of your personal preferences or the most easily accessible varieties. Yet it’s still fun to peruse the shelves and try out some of the more exotic fruits. Furthermore, check out what’s sold in the local Whole Foods, deli, or health food store. Eating exotic fruits is a great way to spice up your diet and improve your health since they offer a unique nutritional profile compared to more common fruits. Also, as unusual fruits are typically grown by individual farmers rather than in quantity, they are more likely to be organic.
There’s a logical reason for the global rise in popularity of acai, an exotic fruit native to the Amazon rainforest. It contains several useful nutrients in quite high concentrations. Examples include antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. The purple-blue hue of the fruit is due to the presence of the antioxidant molecule anthocyanin. They help reduce cholesterol and are anti-inflammatory as well. The anti-inflammatory properties of acai berries have many positive effects on human health, particularly in the areas of brain protection and memory improvement. It may be challenging to find acai berries at regular supermarkets. Nevertheless, you can buy them freeze-dried or powder from online retailers and use them in your cooking, baking, and drinking!
The ackee is a special kind of tropical fruit that originated in that region of Africa. Nowadays, it is manufactured in Jamaica, where it has joined salt fish as an indispensable part of the national cuisine. Many vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, copper, and vitamin C, may be found in abundance in ackee. Rare among fruits, the fruit has 15 g of fat per 100 g. When ripe, the peach-colored fruit’s three lobes open to reveal three shiny black seeds. It is not recommended to eat these seeds because of their toxicity. Yet, it’s not just a good source of nutrients; it also tastes great! The sweet and moderately salty pulp has a smooth texture and a slightly chewy consistency. If you want to eat ackee, it’s better to buy it already cooked and canned, as the seeds are toxic. With a strainer, you may quickly and easily incorporate it into your favorite Jamaican recipes.
The black sapote, or chocolate pudding fruit, is a very unique fruit that is also quite nutritious. When the skin is black and damaged, it has the best flavor. In Spanish, sapote means “soft fruit,” which is an accurate description. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a chocolate flavor but rather a distinct sweetness similar to honey or caramel. It’s delicious when eaten straight off the skin but also works well in baked goods and frozen treats. A nice change from the usual banana bread with vanilla ice cream! The vitamin C concentration of black sapote is four times that of oranges, and it also contains fiber, vitamin A, and potassium.
The Buddha’s hand is an unusual citrus fruit that looks a bit like a hand holding a finger. Despite its odd appearance, this fruit is completely devoid of fat, protein, and sugar. The amount of vitamin C and fiber in it is impressive, though. Lemon peel is a good analogy for using zest in a recipe. The anti-inflammatory effects of Buddha’s hand, sometimes called finger citron, have led to its use in medicine. Its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties suggest it may also aid in cancer prevention and slowing the aging process.
Cherimoya (ice cream fruit)
The cherimoya is a tropical fruit that shares a name with ice cream: the custard apple. Creamy and sweet, almost like a combination of pineapple, papaya, coconut, pear, and banana, it is a delightfully exotic meal. Its natural range includes much of Central and South America, as well as some of the United States and Australia. Some of the nutrients found in cherimoya include vitamin E and several more.
Similar to ackee, the seeds pose a health risk. Nonetheless, they are a component in a few different remedies for head lice. When that happens, use them carefully and keep them away from your eyes to avoid any pain or irritation.
Dragon fruit (Pitaya)
Pitaya, or dragon fruit, is an unusual and visually appealing tropical fruit. It grows on cacti all around the world and may be recognized by its bright pink or yellow skin covered in green scales. The taste of dragon fruit is mild and sweet, much like the kiwis. Like kiwi fruit, the pink or white flesh contains tiny black edible seeds. It’s a great source of nourishment! This unusual superfood is chock full of healthy nutrients including Vitamin C and antioxidants like flavonoids. It’s low in calories and assists the body in fighting off oxidation, free radicals, and inflammation. Because of the high fiber content, it is good for digestive health. Wow, this sounds like a delicious method to maintain your normal bowel schedule.
Jackfruit is a rare and interesting tropical fruit. Several nations in Asia and Africa benefit greatly from it, which is becoming increasingly common elsewhere. One of these bumpy-skinned fruits, known as a jackfruit, may weigh up to an incredible forty pounds. Vegetarian meals and canned goods often include fruit, so you don’t need to buy it separately. Nutritionally, jackfruit scores are quite high. It has a lot of B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, fiber, and protein.
The meat of the jackfruit is often used as a substitute for meat since its texture is similar to that of shredded meat. It has been shown that jackfruit can aid in the management of diabetes due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. Whether or not you follow a vegetarian diet, this exotic fruit’s nutritional benefits and unique flavor make it worth a try.
Despite its unusual appearance, the langsat is gaining in popularity due to its delicious flavor and impressive nutritional profile. The flavor of langsat is really nice; it reminds some people of grapes. Its skin is paper-thin and can be anything from pale yellow to light brown. The white veins that run through the semi-transparent flesh of a langsat fruit are a sign that it should be eaten as soon as possible before it becomes sour. Vitamins A, B, and C, as well as antioxidants, are present in langsat, assisting with the functioning of the immune system and the production of energy.
The meat of the rambutan, which is shaped like an egg, is sweet and juicy, but the spiky red exterior of the fruit is edible but unpleasant. There are several health benefits to eating this fruit, including the high quantities of vitamin C and fiber that it contains. In addition to a large amount of potassium, which is crucial for healthy blood pressure, it also contains copper, zinc, manganese, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. Together with its health benefits, rambutan also has a great flavor. When ripe, the fruit’s flesh has a flavor similar to the lychee: moderately sweet and creamy. It has been claimed that rambutan can help with a number of different health issues, such as easing digestive issues, reducing body fat, boosting the immune system, and decreasing insulin resistance.
The soursop, sometimes called Graviola, is a peculiar and unique fruit that is gaining in popularity due to its wide variety of health benefits. The sour fruit, or sour plum, is a long, pear-shaped fruit with short, green spines and white, fibrous flesh that contains black seeds. Strawberry and pineapple flavors come together in soursop, which is the fruit’s most distinctive quality. Soursop’s nutrient density means it may be used to treat a wide range of health problems, from inflammation and bloating to poor digestion and excess weight.
Despite their unflattering common names, several fruits have more pleasing appearances. In 1924, scientists discovered the unusual and delicious hybrid citrus known as ugli fruit in Jamaica. The ugli fruit is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit and an orange, therefore, it has the sourness of the latter two fruits’ flavors and the sweetness of the former. Similar to citrus fruits, it is rich in vitamin C and fiber. Jams, sauces, and sorbets may be made with fruit, but it is also delicious when eaten raw. But, if you’re on any medications that are affected by grapefruit, such as statins, you should also avoid eating these fruits because they contain the same components that interfere with the prescription.
Durian, guava, kiwano (horned melon), kumquat, loquat, lychee, mangosteen, physalis, Sharron fruit (persimmon), starfruit (carambola), and passion fruit are just a few of the numerous exotic fruits out there. As a result, why not switch things up and eat some new fruit for a change instead of the same old bananas, apples, oranges, and berries? It’s hard to say if you’ll enjoy them or not.
- Characterization of the acai or manaca (Euterpe oleracea Mart.): a fruit of the Amazon https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17824205/
- Antioxidant and Hypolipidemic Activity of Açai Fruit Makes It a Valuable Functional Food https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7824079/
- 5 Impressive Health Benefits of Acai Berries https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-acai-berries
- Ackee – Blighia sapita https://www.growables.org/information/TropicalFruit/Ackee.htm
- Nutritional value of ackee https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Nutritional-value-of-ackee-Content-of-a-100g-serving-of-Ackee_tbl4_236154238
- What the Heck Is an Ackee and How Do You Eat It? https://parade.com/59516/lindsaylowe/what-the-heck-is-an-ackee-and-how-do-you-eat-it/
- Not quite chocolate pudding fruit: why black sapote is ‘utterly unexpected and delightful’ https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/oct/10/not-quite-chocolate-pudding-fruit-why-black-sapote-is-utterly-unexpected-and-delightful
- Health Benefits of Black Sapote or Black Persimmon https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/health-benefits-of-black-sapote-or-black-persimmon.htm
- Identification of Flavoanoids From Finger Citron and Evaluation on Their Antioxidative and Antiaging Activities https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2020.584900/full
- Profiling of lipophilic and phenolic phytochemicals of four cultivars from cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill.) https://digituma.uma.pt/bitstream/10400.13/3337/1/Profiling%20of%20lipophilic%20and%20phenolic%20phytochemicals%20of%20four%20cultivars%20from%20cherimoya%20%28Annona%20cherimola%20Mill.%29.pdf
- Ocular toxicity by seeds of Annona squamosa (custard apple) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5056555/
- Dragon Fruit https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/benefits-dragon-fruit
- What Is Jackfruit — and Is it Healthy? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-jackfruit-and-is-it-healthy/
- Nutritional and Health Benefits of Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.): A Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6339770/
- Health Benefits of Langsat Fruit https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/top-9-health-benefits-of-langsat-fruit.htm
- Rambutan: A Tasty Fruit With Health Benefits https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/rambutan
- Soursop (Graviola): Health Benefits and Uses https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/soursop-benefits
- What Is Ugli Fruit? Everything You Need to Know https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ugli-fruit