Chayote belongs to the same family as squash, melons and cucumbers and the plant is native to Mexico, where it grows abundantly. The fruit can be eaten raw and is sometimes used in salsas or salads, although most of the time it is marinated in either lime or lemon juice first. Most of the time however, the fruit is lightly cooked, which helps to keep the texture of the fruit. The skin does not need to be removed prior to cooking.
Persimmons are often referred to as ‘the fruit of the gods’ and there is a fair amount of history and mythology that surrounds the fruit. However, it can also be a bit controversial, because many varieties need to be very soft before they can be eaten. The Fuyu persimmon is the most accessible variety of persimmon because it is non-astringent. This means that it is sweet and tasty when the fruit is firm.
Durian one of those foods that people either love or hate. Inside the thorny exterior is a soft creamy fruit that has an extremely intense aroma. In fact, you can often smell the fruit even when the shell is intact. Descriptions of the taste vary considerably, but one example is that the fruit tastes like ‘rotten mushy onions’. Despite this, there are many people who are fanatical about the fruit and even competitive eating contests that focus on its consumption.
As appearances suggest, pomelo is a citrus fruit and it originally comes from Southeast Asia. When ripe, the fruit is yellow or pale green and tends to have white flesh and thick rind. The taste is like a sweet grapefruit and it lacks the bitterness normally associated with grapefruit. However, the fruit does still have the potential to interact with some medications in the same way that grapefruit does.
Starfruit is a type of tropical fruit that is rapidly becoming popular in the United States. The shape of the fruit means that when it is sliced, the section form five-pointed stars (although in some cases fruits may have a slightly different shape). The flesh of the fruit is crunchy and juicy, and the taste can vary considerably across the fruit. Ripe fruit can be eaten raw (in their entirety), while unripe fruit are sometimes used in cooking.
6…Kiwano, AKA African cucumber/horned melon
Even from the outside, the kiwano looks a little odd, and from the inside the fruit is even more confusing. The flesh itself actually tastes a combination of kiwifruit, zucchini and cucumber, which is an odd combination that also seems to be quite appealing. Eating the fruit is simple, you simply cut it in half and squeeze the green ooze out, or you can eat it with a spoon. The pulp is also good as a garnish, in fruit salads or in drinks.
The atemoya is actually a hybrid of two different fruits, which are cherimoya and the sugar-apple, although most people probably haven’t heard of those either. Even though it looks resilient, the fruit is easily damaged, so it needs to be handled carefully. While the flesh of the fruit is edible and delicious, the seeds are not safe to eat and should be avoided.
For just about any other fruit, a brown or black interior indicates that the fruit is past its best, but that’s not true for the black sapote. Instead, the interior looks like this when the fruit is ripe and ready to eat. The texture, taste and color of the fruit have all been associated with chocolate pudding, which makes the fruit both appealing and highly unusual. While a real chocolate pudding might still be more appealing, the fruit has the advantage of being much better for you.
Multiple different varieties of Buddha’s hand exist, often with considerable variation in the way that the ‘fingers’ are held. In some varieties, the fingers are close together (as in the images), while in other varieties they are splayed out in an open hand pattern. The use of this fruit is largely ornamental, both because of its appearance and because of the aroma of the fruit. However, the fruit can be eaten, and is sometimes used in desserts and in savory meals.
10…Canistel AKA Tiesa [Egg Yolk Fruit]
Canistel is one of a few fruits in the world that isn’t juicy or particularly easy to eat. The fruit has a very chewy consistency that borders on chalky, and it is easy for some of the fibers to get stuck in your teeth. At the same time, the taste of the fruit is reminiscent of a sweet potato, although it does tend to be a more intense flavor. When eating this fruit, you want to be sure that it is ripe. This occurs when it gives in easily to a little pressure from your thumb (much like an avocado) and when the skin is entirely yellow.
Cucamelons are incredibly cute tiny fruit that look like baby watermelons from the outside. They are considered savory fruits and taste more likely cucumber with a little lemon juice than like an actual melon. The fruit works well in savory dishes, like stir-fries, and they also work well raw in salads or salsas. Or, you can just pop them in your mouth as-is.
Feijoas mature in autumn and are a sweet fruit with flavors of mint, pineapple and apple. They are commonly eaten but cutting in half and scooping out the interior with a spoon, although the fruit is also a particularly good in smoothies because of its complex taste. Feijoas are most commonly cultivated for food in New Zealand and they tend to be hard to find and expensive in many other parts of the world, including the United States.
13…Soursop AKA Guanabana
The inside of the soursop has white pulp along with black seeds that cannot be digested. The flesh itself tastes like a combination of pineapple and strawberry, along with some more sour citrus elements. This makes it a common choice for smoothies and fruit juice drinks. Debate has focused on the potential health benefits of the fruit, including its potential to reduce stomach pain, inflammation, help relieve respiratory issues and even for fighting cancer. However, most of these claims need much more research before they can be verified.
Cherimoya is thought to be one of the best tasting fruits in the world and has a creamy texture. This texture also means that the fruit is enjoyable when chilled and then eaten with a spoon. Descriptions of taste vary, but most focus on cherimoya tasting like a combination of other fruits, including banana, strawberry and pineapple. The fruit has a very short shelf-life, which is one reason why it is so hard to find.
Jabuticaba is an unusual case of a fruit that grows directly on the trunk of the tree. The fruits can be eaten straight off the tree and grow to around 1.5 inches in diameter. Often the fruit is used in a similar manner to grapes, which is why some parts of the world also have jabuticaba wines and liqueurs.
This is a tropical fruit that is most commonly produced in Vietnam and Thailand, with a flavor that resembles a mix of other fruits, including banana, mango and pineapple. Sometimes the flavor is also described as similar to Juicy Fruit gum. The fruit is also high in vitamin B, potassium and protein, making it a particularly healthy but severely underutilized crop.
From the outside, gac does kind of look like a baby jackfruit, but visual appearance is where the similarity ends. The fruit has a very short harvest season, making it a relatively rare food. Because of this, it is often used for festive or ceremonial occasions, rather than as an ingredient. One common dish from the fruit involves cooking the flesh and the seeds in rice, resulting in a bright orange rice dish. Dietary supplements from the fruit have also been produced as it offers a high amount of phytonutrients.
Calamansi limes are best described as a mix between a lime and an orange. This gives them a strong citrus fragrance and they also tend to have much more juice than limes typically do. Despite this, they still have that sour tartness of limes and they can be used in the same way as a lime. The limes are often green and tend to be relatively small, however, you can also find them with orange skin, which causes no end of confusing for the unwary shopper