Tired of apples, pears, bananas or oranges? Here are twelve peculiar and colorful fruits, coming from distant lands, less knows to us “westerners”.
These fruits are employed in many different ways as they have high quality nutritional benefits, excellent for our health.
Here below some of the most peculiar ones:
First we would like to introduce you to the Fingered Citron, also known as ‘Buddha’s Hand’. Fat-free and low in calories, this citrus fruit from Asia is round with long and thin extensions that look like fingers, and is especially known for its heady scent, that is why it is used to deodorize the house and the linen.
Its qualities do not end here: the “fingers” can be served candied (not the center of the fruit which is generally bitter and non-consumable), while the zest is a valuable ingredient for several sweet or savory recipes.
Employed for liquors and marmalades, it also acts as an insect repellent, as well as a body tonic.
Regarded as a symbol of prosperity, fertility and longevity, this citron finds also space as a decorative element even in religious ceremonies.
Certainly not attractive, as its name suggests, it is a citrus from Jamaica, created by hybridizing an orange and a tangerine.
It is characterized by its yellow-greenish skin, which is rough and wrinkled.
Also distributed in the US and Europe, this bizarre fruit has a sweet and sour flavor, which makes it suitable for a wide range of recipes, such as the typical Caribbean dishes where the ugli accompanies the pork, the chicken and the mushrooms.
The ackee also comes from Jamaica, it is the national fruit of this Caribbean country and one of the main export products.
Rich in vitamin A, zinc, essential fatty acids and vitamins, the ackee presents excellent nutritional qualities. However, beware of its seeds which are similar to huge eyes, as they are highly poisonous because they contain a toxin which is deadly to humans, the fearsome hypoglycyna.
In order to prepare dishes such as ‘ackee with codfish, it is important to be careful not to use its seeds, because they are highly toxic both when the fruit is still unripe and when it is ripe.
Coming from Thailand the noi-na is known in English as sugar apple. Green-yellowish, it resembles a raspberry and, when ripe, it can easily be split into halves to reveal its sweet and creamy white pulp which encloses a large number of seeds. Excellent for cocktails.
You can easily imagine the shape of this fruit also known as star fruit, coming from Sri Lanka and particularly loved by children. If you’re wondering what it tastes like, try to imagine a fruit salad made with grapes, lemon and mango: this is the great flavor of carambola whose cultivation has spread in many places around the world. Widely used as a decoration in the cocktails, it has one drawback: it contains a high quantity of oxalic acid which may cause problems to those suffering from kidney stones.
The names often derive from appearance. After the dragon we bump into the monster fruit which is found in the rainforests of southern Mexico and Panama. It looks like a long corn with hexagonal flakes. When unripe, it exudes a particularly pungent scent. It can be eaten after removing the scales covering the inner pulp, and has a taste similar to the pineapple.
Speaking of the most popular fruits among the children, here is the dragon fruit coming from a cactus plant diffused mainly in Asia and South America. Thanks to its bizarre ridges, it recalls the mythological fire-breathing creature, called Pitaya by the natives.
The skin is very thick and red-purple in color, while the white pulp inside is full of many small seeds which are black, edible and crunchy, very similar to the kiwi’s. Refreshing and particularly suitable for cocktails, the dragon fruit has a captivating sweet and sour flavor.
It comes from the Sultanate of Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. This strange fruit has a creamy and yellowish pulp. The taste is a mix between the banana and vanilla, but with a bit of onion!
We ” westerner ” know very well bananas, but not the paw-paw, namely the mountain banana tree of American Indians, spread not only in the North but also in South-East of the USA. The fruit is green, shorter and bigger than the usual yellow bananas, and is usually appreciated for its creamy pulp, and its sweet and intense flavor. Unfortunately, the paw paw cannot be preserved for long and when it is ripe, it has a soggy consistency, which makes it less appealing. However it has notable nutritional qualities as it has a content of vitamins and minerals significantly higher than the other common fruits.
Let’s now move to Amazonia where we find the urucu, a red fruit when ripe, with soft spines, very similar to a flycatcher. A menacing appearance hiding precious qualities: its seeds, rich in pigments, cellulose, sugars, and proteins, are widely used as colorants, as well as to obtain a sauce to dress many South American dishes.
This tropical fruit comes from southern Asia-Pacific division, and thanks to its extremely thick skin it has a pleasant lemon flavor. The taste? Much sweeter than pineapples!
A Brazilian fruit that grows directly on the trunk of the plant, of blue and purple color very similar in appearance and taste to the black grapes. It can be eaten raw or used to make marmalades, fruit juice and even wine and spirits, after a special fermentation process. The skin presents healing properties, especially for asthma, tonsillitis and diarrhea. The strong presence of anti-cancer substances could make it useful in cancer prevention therapies.
These are just twelve among the less-known fruits with an unusual aspect which are not popular even though they are tasty and useful … we hope that we have intrigued you to look for more!