For a long time, the assortment of exotic fruits for our compatriots was limited to bananas, but quite outlandish coconuts and pineapples. People hungry for curiosities were ready to eat everything, not really thinking about even how edible it was.
Today we have become more literate, and exotic fruits have become much closer and more understandable. Here are the most famous exotic fruits that are eaten.
Rambutan. This tropical fruit belongs to the sapindaceae family. Rambutans are small fruits, about the size of a hazelnut. Fruits grow in clusters of up to 30 pieces. These balls have an elastic red or yellow peel, which is covered with thick hairs 4-5 cm thick. The flesh covers an edible bone, which tastes like an acorn. The tasty and sweet flesh is a white, translucent, gelatinous mass. It is believed that this fruit is originally from Malaysia. Its name comes precisely from the local word meaning "hair". It is no coincidence that the fruit is called hairy.
When purchasing rambutans in a store or shop, you should pay attention to their color, it should be saturated red. The tips of the hairs should be greenish. I must say that this exotic fruit can be stored for a short time - it will stay in the refrigerator for no more than a week. Rambutan is pleasant to eat, both raw and used as a filling for baked goods and jams, as well as for making compotes. Peeling the fruit is done by cutting it lengthwise with a knife, while the pulp will move away from the peel. The stone, which grows into the pulp quite strongly, can be removed with a circular motion of the knife.
Jackfruit. This exotic fruit has been cultivated primarily in southern Thailand and other East Asian countries for centuries. Outwardly, it resembles the fruit of a breadfruit. It should be noted that all of its components are edible in the fruit. Even its flowers are blanched and then served in this form with hot chilli or shrimp sauce. Young leaves can be added raw to papaya salad. The peel is sugar or pickled, it is also given to animals as feed. The seeds are prepared separately and then added to various dishes. Jackfruit pulp is in perfect harmony with ice cream and other sweets and fruits. It will be especially tasty in coconut milk as part of a fruit salad.
Jackfruit is also used as an unusual filling for pies, sliced and then baked like vegetables. This fruit is the size of a large melon, and its weight can even reach 40 kg. Large yellow lobules are located under the greenish-yellow skin. They have a pretty strong smell and an original taste. It is believed that the jackfruit should have its greenish-yellow skin intact. It should be firm to the touch, but still not firm. When the fruit ripens, the skin begins to stretch and become elastic, while emitting a light scent. But the strong smell of jackfruit speaks of its overripe.
This fruit is eaten not only cooked, but also raw. Jackfruit is cut into strips and poured with syrup, to which crushed ice is also added. The peeled fruit is also added to vegetable sauces and is used to make a sweet paste. Unripe jackfruit can be used as a vegetable - it is dried and marinated for subsequent addition to soups. In Thailand, this fruit is often used in a mixture with others. The exotic fruit is in demand even in medicine. The roots of the plant are used to treat diarrhea, while the flowers have pronounced antidiuretic properties. Ripe jackfruit itself also weakens. The leaves of the plant can also be brewed in the form of an herbal tea, which aids in maternal lactation.
Passion fruit. This fruit, depending on its variety, can be round or oval in shape. Passion fruit is famous for its juiciness. The unripe fruit is still green, but after ripening, the peel acquires, depending on the variety, a purple, yellow or even brownish-orange color. Fruit with a diameter of 4-7 cm has a smooth surface, consisting of three layers. Its pulp is always yellow-orange, slightly bitter, but very fragrant. There are quite a few black seeds in each fruit. The fruit has a sweet and sour taste; you need to choose heavy and wrinkled specimens, which indicate maturity.
Passion fruit is undemanding to the climate and can grow even in cool conditions. The main harvest is taken in October-November. Passion fruit is known as the fruit of passion. There are hundreds of varieties of it in Brazil, but only three of them get to Europe. Salads are seasoned with this exotic fruit, sauces are prepared from it for sweets and even for seafood. Passion fruit flavor is appropriate in juices, cocktails, lemonades, cheesecakes, sorbets, ice cream and yogurt. It is known that the fruit has a tonic, so it is used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetology.
Lychee. Back in the 17th century, emigrants from China brought the fragrant lychee fruit to Thailand, which has long been cultivated in southern China. Outwardly, the fruit resembles longan and rambutan; it grows in clusters on small evergreen trees. Their height does not exceed 10 meters, and the foliage can be quite dense. Currently, up to 20 varieties of lychee grow in Thailand, but three of them are usually exported. Hong huai has oval yellowish red fruits. They have a sweet and sour taste. Kirn cheng is a small spherical, bright red fruit with small seeds and sweet taste. Chakmphat is also spherical, but much larger. This red and sweet fruit has small seeds. Dried lychee fruits have a hard, shell-like surface. They are even called lychee nuts.
Lychees were called paradise grapes or dragon's eye. The fruit is usually used for making desserts. Lychee is also added to salads, they are used for filling for puddings and baked goods. The fruit goes well with fish, it also serves as a base for sweet and sour sauce for chicken and pork. The fruits are also used in medicine, because their tonic properties are known. Lychees perfectly regulate the digestive functions of the body, increase hemoglobin and quench thirst.
Cannon. This oval-shaped fruit has a length of 5 to 12 cm and is easily divided into 3-5 lobules. If you cut it in half, the halves will look like a star in their shape. The skin of the carom is shiny and smooth, has a light green color. When ripe, the fruit turns yellow. Its juicy flesh, depending on the variety, can either be slightly bitter or sweet. It is easy to distinguish outwardly such fruits, sour ones have narrow and clear edges, and sweet ones are thick and fleshy.
The former are mainly used for making drinks, while the latter are eaten raw, they are used for preservation and sugaring of slices. Carambol is used to decorate dishes; it is an ingredient in exotic salads. Each fruit contains 8-12 grains. Carambol is grown in Thailand and is harvested in October. The fruit is rich in carbohydrates, vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium.
Mangosteen. The fruits are similar in size to small apples, which are surrounded by a crown of leaves. The dark brown rind is quite thick and firm to the touch. When pressed, it is pressed in case of ripeness of the fruit. A yellow-green discharge may be present on the fruit. 6-8 white or orange slices are hidden under the peel, they are very soft, melt in your mouth like jelly. There is also a seed in each slice. Mangosteen are usually used fresh as a dessert. The skin is cut in half, the fruit is opened, and then the slices are eaten with a fork. At the same time, the skin of the fruit contains a lot of tannin, which is used both as a tanning agent and as an astringent in medicine.
Mangosteen is called the queen of tropical fruits. It was originally cultivated in Malaysia, and then the culture spread throughout South Asia. The fruit was described by travelers in the 17th century. Its size and shape was called the heart of a bull. Today mangosteen is extremely popular in Thailand due to its delicate taste and exotic appearance. A round variety grows here, dark purple on the outside.
Kumquat. This small citrus is also called Chinese mandarin. Its shape is oval, and the rind has a rich orange color. In nature, you can find several varieties of fruit, which differ primarily in the shape of the fruit. Even the taste of kumquat is similar to tangerine, only there is a slight sourness here.
You can eat it completely, raw and processed. It is used to prepare marmalade, candied fruits and preserves, sauce with chocolate. The peel tastes even sweeter than the pulp itself. The fruit is also good for decorating the table and dishes, for this it is cut into slices. Most often, kumquat is found already cooked - it is sold candied, pickled or in the form of marmalade.
Kumquat grows in Japan, China, and the United States. Fresh fruits are harvested from November to March. The fruit should be purchased without external damage. In the future, it is necessary to store the kumquat in the refrigerator, in a plastic container, but not more than a month. The fruit is rich in vitamins A and C.
Durian. This fruit is also considered the king, but this time of Thai fruit. It weighs from 2 to 10 kilograms. The fruit is protected from unwanted gourmets by rather impressive spines and strong greenish-brown skin. There are two large seeds inside it. It is believed that it is they who give the fruit its smell and taste of pulp. Ripe fruit should be hard, but cracks on the surface indicate overripe. Durian is a unique fruit due to its specific properties. They say that the fruit smells disgusting, but it tastes like heaven. The mildest reviews describe the flavor as a mixture of garlic, onion, and cheese. Those who taste the fruit for the first time should do it outdoors and do not lean on the tasty pulp.
In Thailand, as in other Asian countries, this fruit is considered unusual and somewhat captivating. The most delicious durian is the one that grows in Thailand. That is why exotic fruit from this country, although expensive, is still popular. Interestingly, durian is not only consumed raw. Once cleaned, it can be added to ice creams, mousses, and baked goods. Durian is also canned and candied. Even the seeds of a large fruit are eaten after boiling or frying. The durian peel is burned, after which the ash is used as a dye for the fabric. Wood is also used to make craft items. But this fruit is not recommended to be consumed with alcohol. After all, a joint intake of such food can lead to overheating of the whole body.
Pitahaya (dragon fruit). The name of this exotic is directly related to its unusual appearance. The bright pink fruit is about the size of a large apple, but its shape is slightly elongated. The fruit resembles a pink-colored pinecone, but in this case the skin is easily removed. The edges of the scales can be light green or green. The plant is a bushy tree-like cactus, at the ends of which juicy fruits appear. Depending on the species, there may be white, pink or purple flesh under the thin skin. There are many small seeds in it, spread throughout the volume, like in kiwi.
The taste of the pitahaya is not as bright as its appearance. The fruit has neither a special aroma nor a rich taste. It is only slightly sweet. The dragon fruit is cut lengthwise into two halves, and then the pulp is eaten away with a spoon. If you cut the peel across, you can remove it completely, and then cut the fruit into slices. Pitahaya pulp and juice are added to various sweets, ice cream and yoghurts. Jams, jellies and sauces are made from it. The juice of this fruit is popular in Spain, where it is mixed with lemon and lime for summer refreshments. Medical research has shown that eating dragon fruit can help relieve stomach pain.
Kiwano. This fruit is called differently - horned melon, English tomato, African cucumber. The creeping plant originated in Africa, it belongs to the melon and cucumber family. Kiwano also spread to New Zealand and California. The fruit is known for its beautiful yellow melon-like fruit. But in contrast to it, there are pointed conical growths. The flesh of the fruit is a rich green color, there are many edible seeds in it.
Kiwano has a sweet and sour taste that resembles either melon, cucumber, or even lime with banana. This is not to say that it is pleasant or characteristic, but the fruit has many uses. Moreover, we are talking not only about cooking, but also about decoration. For this, Kiwano is even bought slightly unripe. In this form, it has a hard skin, and the thorns can be left intact. After that, the top is cut off, and the pulp is carefully cleaned.
Thus, you can make an original glass for a cocktail or salad from kiwano. If the fruit is cut lengthwise, then you can get two saucers, stable thanks to their thorns. The pulp of the ripe kiwano is used to make desserts; it is added to cakes, creams, cocktails and ice cream. Thanks to such an additive, the color and taste of the dish, its appearance, change.
Feijoa. The ripe fruit resembles a hen's egg in its size and shape. But the fruit has a deep green flavor. Inside, the feijoa has a jelly-like pulp with seeds that crunches around the edges. The fruit taste is sweet and aromatic, something between pineapple and strawberry. By the color of the fruit, you can determine the degree of ripeness. Both unripe and overripe feijoa will be green. Therefore, when buying such exotic things, it is better to insure yourself and cut one fruit. If the jelly-like pulp is opaque and white, then this speaks of the unripe fruit. Brown color will tell about feijoa damage. Ripe fruit should have a completely transparent flesh.
For eating feijoa, it is cut in half and then eaten with a spoon. In the center, it is juicy and jelly-like, and closer to the skin it becomes drier and lumpy. You can eat this fruit whole, but few dare to do it. The fact is that the skin of the feijoa is sour and rather tough. This fruit is especially loved in New Zealand, where it is grown even on home plots. Feijoa is used to make compotes, jams and yoghurts. It is believed that regular consumption of this fruit is a good prevention of thyroid diseases. Feijoa contains, in addition to iodine, fruit acids, as well as vitamin C.
Papaya. The papaya fruit has a size comparable to that of a large pear. The peel of the fruit is orange or green, the pulp contains many small seeds. It is known that papaya is very rich in vitamins, in particular, it contains the enzyme papain. By its effect on the human body, it resembles gastric juice, which stimulates the digestion of food. Papain can dissolve proteins, which is especially appreciated when softening tough meat.In hot exotic countries, small pieces of papaya are even added to stews and soups.
The fruit is usually eaten raw, after peeling and removing the seeds. Unripe fruits are used to prepare sauces for salads and are stewed. The beneficial properties of papaya are also used in the food industry in some countries. So, in America every year about millions of servings of steaks processed with a natural enzyme appear on the shelves. And in Florida, people even use papaya leaves for washing clothes, so this plant is even called "Negro soap" here.
Mango. This fruit has quite a few varieties, each with its own unique properties. In general, the fruits are oval, their length reaches 20 cm. The peel can be dark red and light green, often a whole mixture of red, green and yellow. When the fruit is ripe, the skin becomes slightly whitish. The pulp inside has a rich yellow color. The mango has a small, tough and elongated bone. The fruit has a strong and pleasant smell, reminiscent of a mixture of spruce and peach. Some varieties even have notes of turpentine. The taste of mango also resembles a peach, only the flesh is more juicy, but also fibrous. The fruit is generally sweet, but there is a slight sourness and astringency.
Mangoes are eaten at almost all stages of their ripening. Even small ovaries are used. Young fruits are used for salads, while more mature ones are used as vegetables. The fruit is used for the preparation of compotes, jams, confiture. Marinades, sauces and condiments are made from green mangoes. Some even eat seeds that are ground into flour. In addition, fat is released from them, which is used for soap, for fertilizing the earth in a mixture with mineral fertilizers. This substance is edible, in the Philippines and Indonesia it is used as a substitute for cocoa butter in the confectionery industry. These countries also eat young leaves of mango trees, which are prepared according to traditional local recipes.
Avocado. The shape of this fruit also resembles a pear. The rind can range from dark green to blackish brown. It is smooth in places, but it can be covered with wrinkles. Avocados are usually marketed in a firm and dense state, ripening within a few weeks. After that, the fruit becomes soft enough that pressing on it with your fingers leads to a dent. That is why, when purchasing an avocado, the first step is to pay attention to the condition of the peel. It must be clean, free from damage, cracks or dark spots. After all, they indicate an overripe fruit.
The oily pulp of avocado is high in fat. But there is practically no sugar and fruit acid here. Avocado with its pleasant taste resembles a walnut, only with a taste of mold. The fruit is known for its nutritional properties. The fruits are very rich in vitamins, proteins, vegetable fats. For the body, such nutrition is not burdensome, it is easily absorbed even by convalescent patients and small children. That is why avocados are considered to be a dietary product. It also contains substances that can break down excess cholesterol in the blood. The ripe fruit pulp is often used in cold salads, snacks, and sandwiches.