The first time I met a cherimoya was at a Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles.
“Try it,” the farmer grinned. “You won’t be sorry,”
Accepting his challenge, I took the green, grenade-looking fruit home. Not sure what I would discover, I cut it open and found a white, creamy fruit with inedible large black seeds. I spooned one bite and understood why Mark Twain called it the “most delicious fruit known to men.” It’s like eating pudding – chill it, and eat it straight from the shell!
Food is so much fun. New tastes are an adventure. Since we can’t live without it, our species has made food into an art.
The most popular fruits in the world are tomatoes. Many think of it as a vegetable but the tomato is actually an edible berry. According to World Atlas, bananas, watermelons, apples, and oranges are the next most popular. There are also thousands of other edible fruits around the world. Think rambutan.
What is a rambutan? It looks like a dog toy or Halloween decoration. Yet it’s one of the tastiest fruits you can find. I discovered rambutans on a trip to Thailand. I knew to stay away from the infamous fruit called durian which smells like a restroom that hasn’t been cleaned for a year. In contrast, funny-looking, bright red rambutan has its own charm. The Vietnamese called it chom chom – messy hair.
Native to southeast Asia, rambutan is similar to lychee except it’s richer, sweeter, and juicier. You peel away the skin and it looks like a boiled egg. It’s high in vitamin C, manganese, and other nutrients. Some claim it has anti-bacterial properties. Either way, it’s like a little bite of heaven.
Have you ever tried Dragon fruit? It is beautiful to look at and taste. Native to Mexico and Central America cacti, today dragon fruit is grown around the world. Some say it tastes like a cross between a kiwi and pear. Bright red skin and green scales make it look like a dragon – although it also comes in yellow and red inside. According to legend, it was created by a fire-breathing dragon! It has a lot of different names, like pitaya, pitahaya, and strawberry pear.
Dragon fruit is considered very healthy, high in fiber and antioxidants. You cut it in half, peel off the skin and slice or cube it any way you want. You can eat the seeds, use it fresh, put it into a fruit salad, smoothie, even a salsa. What a treat!
Pomelit, Sweetie, or Jaffa Sweetie is a fascinating “invention.” Born in Israel, it’s a hybrid between an acid-less pomelo (a citrus fruit) and grapefruit. The result is a sweet citrus, without the bitterness of grapefruit. According to studies by Hebrew University scientist, Dr. Shela Gorinstein and Kaplan’s Hospital Prof. Abraham Caspi, pomelit juice can help lower blood cholesterol and increase antioxidant activity. The fruit starts green and eventually turns yellow. Dr. Gorinstein describes it as “sweeter than a grapefruit and smaller than a pomelo . . . easier to peel, and you can finish one in a sitting.” What a combo.
Starfruit or carambola is a whimsical sweet and sour fruit shaped like a five-point star. It’s a tree fruit native to Southeast Asia. You can eat the whole fruit (skin included) raw or cooked. The fruit is crunchy, firm, and juicy. The tart flavor has been described as a mix of apple, pear, grape, and citrus. Some say it tastes like a plum. They’re beautiful to look at and wonderful to eat.
There are so many more strange and delicious fruits. Think jackfruit, pink pineapple, persimmon, mangosteen, Buddha’s hand, pomegranates, and sabras (prickly pears) – the list is very long. Experiment – you might find something you like even more than bananas, apples, and oranges!
I will periodically post What’s That? Weird and delicious [food] you probably never heard of.
Welcome to the adventure!