Features Editor /
Planet Earth is full of weird and wonderful things. Nature provides us with an array of different fruits, but we’re so used to apples, bananas and oranges, it’s easy to forget about the exotic species. Trying new flavours is an unforgettable experience so we’re introducing you to 7 unusual fruits you have to try! From healthy pulled pork alternatives to bubblegum flavours, you’ll be surprised at what’s out there.
Originating from West India, the jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world; capable of reaching weights of up to 100oz. These giant fruits look similar to a large, spiky pear on the outside with thick, fleshy yellow petals inside. Many say that the flavour is similar to a combination of banana, mango and peach; it’s often used as a vegan substitute for pulled pork too because of the stringy texture. Packed with protein, potassium, calcium and iron, jackfruit is incredibly healthy. Great used as an addition to both savoury meals and sweet dishes, this versatile fruit can be purchased from Asian food markets.
Alternatively known as the horned melon, the kiwano is of Southern African origin. With bright orange spiky skin and a bright green seeded jelly centre, this antioxidant rich fruit is a member of both the cucumber and the melon family. The flavour is similar to a cucumber; kiwi and courgette combined and is best purchased from supermarkets during the winter period. Low in calories, kiwano is rich in vitamins and minerals and makes a good addition to smoothies.
Originally from South America, the cherimoya is a green fruit with creamy white, sweet tasting flesh. Otherwise known as a ‘custard apple’, the flavour of cherimoya is often described as a cross between banana and pineapple and very similar to bubblegum. In fact, Mark Twain named it ‘the most delicious fruit known to man’. High in fiber, iron, potassium and vitamins, it’s extremely healthy; just don’t eat the black seeds inside as they are toxic. You can purchase cherimoya in some supermarkets as well as online.
Derived from the mountain rain forests in South East China, the loquat is a pear shaped, tangy, delicious fruit otherwise known as a ‘Japanese plum’. It has a soft and juicy texture similar to a nectarine with a mango-peach flavour. Loquat tea is often made as its good for preventing diabetes and it’s especially popular amongst diabetics due to its ability to prevent sudden spikes in blood sugars. Like most unusual fruits, the seeds are inedible and it is most easily purchased online.
Otherwise known as red dates, China’s jujube fruit have at least 400 varieties. Some of the variations of jujube are best for drying and enjoying like dates, whereas we prefer the honey jar variety; which is the smallest and juiciest, best enjoyed fresh. Jujube fruit has 20 times more vitamin C than any citrus fruit so they’re an excellent source of antioxidants. To buy jujube fruit, you can find them in Asian food stores as well as online.
In the same botanical family as lychees, the Malaysian rambutan looks alike with soft spines on the rind. Inside is the edible white flesh with a refreshing, sweet and sour flavour often compared to grapes. You can find rambutan at Asian food markets as well as some supermarkets. Luckily, as they’re so common in South East Asia, they are increasingly becoming more accessible.
Often referred to as ‘the queen’ of tropical fruits, the heavenly mangosteen is a round, purple fruit from Indonesia. Beneath the skin are 4-10 juicy white triangular segments with a sweet flavour. The taste of the mangosteen is not like other fruits but best described as a combination of peach, strawberry and vanilla ice cream. It’s also packed with fibre and minerals and easiest to purchase online.
Have you tried any of these unusual fruits? Let us know over on Twitter: @Mankindcouk
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