The word “exotic” makes you think paradise … tropical island … that movie "Mutiny on the Bounty". But the people who live in paradise probably don’t describe their fruit as exotic. For them it’s everyday fruits and vegetables that grow in their backyard. But for people who don’t get to experience these unfamiliar delights every day, it’s “exotic”.
In America, there was once a time when tropical or exotic fruits and vegetables were not readily available at the local grocery store. You had to buy them at specialty food stores. Even the famous chef Jacques Pepin mentioned this fact during one of his TV episodes. He said that when he first arrived in the United States to begin his career as a chef, there were many ingredients that he could not readily find at the local grocery store. You had to go to a special market or a gourmet shop. Not so, these days.
My first visit to The Bahamas over 40 years ago opened up a whole new world for me. There were so many delicious fruits of paradise that I had never heard of or tasted. Experiencing all of those delightful fruits made me want to know more about other exotic fruits. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to research and learn more about tropical fruit or “exotic fruit” or “super fruit” or “wonder fruit”, and why they are so good for you.
Check these out!
- Acerola, also known as the Barbados cherry, is native to the West Indies, and also to Southern Mexico, and Southern and Central America. They claim this fruit has numerous health benefits, but healthy or not, the taste of this tropical fruit is irresistible.
- Cherimoya tastes like bubblegum. People have even given this fruit nicknames like “ice cream fruit” or “custard apple”, so-called because it has a creamy, sherbet-like texture. But beware of the seeds, as they can be poisonous.
- Dead man’s fingers originated from China. They really do look like fingers and their color is bluish-black. Some say the taste is similar to watermelon.
- Kiwano or the horned melon has many names. It is native to Africa and is called African cucumber. But it is also known as English tomato. (???) On the outside it is yellow and orange, but the flesh inside is lime green. It’s been part of African cuisine since ancient times.
- Mangosteen grows in Southeast Asia and is considered a “wonder fruit”. One might think because of the name that it is similar to a mango, but actually it is more like a peach. Research indicates that the mangosteen contains more xanthones than any other fruit. They call it the “X-Factor”.
These are just a sampling of these marvelous exotic fruits. The intent is to whet your appetite and peak your curiosity. There is also dragon fruit, starfruit, Buddha’s hand (citron), cloudberries, durian, moringa, abiu, pomegranate, and more!
Image Collage: Dragon fruit, Starfruit, Buddha’s Hand, Cloudberries
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