Where do your fruits come from?
If you answered “the grocery store,” then this post is for you. Although the invention of the grocery store has given us all access to a wide variety of produce not readily available in our own towns, nothing beats the taste of fruit fresh from the vine. It’s time to expand your horizons and discover the destinations with the very best fruits!
The Rambutan fruit is definitely one of the more exotic fruits you’ll come across in Malaysia. It’s red in appearance with a white inside, oval, and two to three inches in length. The fruit has a thin skin with tube-like spikes covering it, making the Rambutan look like a sea urchin. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Rambutan is the trees in which they grow from. While all trees have genders, the Rambutan tree has males, females, and self-pollinating hermaphrodites.
The Durian is another fruit worth mentioning because it has a major reputation as the smelliest fruit on earth. It’s scent is rich, pungent, and sulfury. In fact, they are banned from public areas in Singapore because of their incredible stench. But what does a fruit that smells like rotten eggs taste like? According to those daring enough to try it, the Durian has an oddly sweet, garlicky, caramel whipped cream taste. All the power to you if after that description you still want to give it a try.
© Frank Fox
2. Southeastern Brazil
Acai is the world’s most popular superfruit, filled with iron and antioxidants that our bodies need to be strong and healthy. It’s a small, round, dark purple fruit, similar to a grape but smaller and less pulpy. Often these fruits are used to make acai bowls, smoothies, juices, cosmetics, and supplements. There is no end to the amazing benefits of this little berry.
Brazil is a country of vibrant vegetation, and their succulent grape tree species jabuticaba adds to the beautiful flora. This sweet and juicy fruit is unique in that they grow on the bark of the tree, not on it’s branches. Each tree looks like an art piece with the grapes cascading down the bark in various stages of ripeness. They genuinely look like a child’s drawing of imaginative polka dot trees.
© Marcos Dias
In English, the ciruela fruit is called either the Red Mombin or the Hog Plum. They are the size of the standard plum, and red or yellow on the outside with a golden yellow center. Interestingly enough, the ciruela tastes very similar to regular plums despite the two not being closely related at all. They can be eaten raw, but can also be mashed with water and sugar to create a Kool-Aid-like sweet drink.
Medlars have been labled “The Best Fruit You’ve Never Heard Of” because they taste pretty much like apple pie. The rare fruit does come with a catch though: they are eaten when rotted. Rusty brown in color and no larger than a peach pit, these fruits must go through a process called “bletting” where they are rotted through and mushy. But it only takes one bite to realize that rotten = absolutely delicious.
Pitaya, or better known as dragon fruit, are beautiful looking fruits that are native to Mexico. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to come across one at a farmers market, you’d know that the neon pink fruit with the spotted insides are versatile and sweet. The dalmation interior is sometimes compared to kiwi or watermelon when it comes to the texture of it’s flesh, but with a much more subtle flavor. Just a little sweet with a floral aroma, dragon fruit is refreshing and one of the best ways to top off a meal.
The guava fruit may be one that many are a bit more familiar with, however taking a trip to Mexico to taste one freshly picked may be more worth it than you realize. While the ones we come across in our grocery stores are frequently the size of a golf ball or baseball, they can be closer to the size of large pears in southern Mexico. Guavas are either white or pink, and made into cocktails and other drinks because of their light and pungent flavor. When is the best time to grab some guavas? Anytime, as these wonder fruits are available year round.
© Guian Bolisay
5. West Africa
Africa is home to one of the most incredible and unique fruits that most people have never heard of. The miracle berry grows in the tropical areas of Africa, brightening up the vegetation with its vivid red skin. The berry is not sweet itself, however when the fruit is eaten and the fleshy pulp coats the taste buds of the toungue, an unusual effect occurs. Go ahead and eat a slice of lemon, and you’ll find yourself not wincing one bit. The aroma and sweetness of the citrus remains but the sourness of the lemon is masked, and this effect will last up to 30 minutes after eating the miracle berry.
In addition to the unique berry, African soil grows many of the tropical fruits we know and love with familiarity. Because of it’s proximity to the equator and high moisture, West Africa has a long growing season capable of producing many fruits such as mango, melons, coconuts, citrus, grapes, avocado, and pineapple. Taking a stop at a roadside vendor can buy you a mango or a pineapple that was picked fresh within the hour. Dried fruit is also presented as desserts, cooked into rice dishes, or mixed into drinks. Africa also has a large plantain business, plantains being similar to bananas in appearance but much less sweet and far starchier. Whether enjoying these mashed or as chips, Africa has it all.
© Ly Thien Hoang