It wouldn’t surprise you to know that bananas, apples and strawberries are the most frequently bought fruits in the U.S., but sometimes I like to expand my palate by trying exotic fruit from around the world. FRESH has a great selection of seasonal exotic fruit that changes often. You can find Feijoas from New Zealand, Passion Fruit from Brazil and Dragon Fruit from Ecuador. It’s a fun lesson in food, culture and geography to try with your family and explore some new flavors.
Here are just a few of the exotic fruits available now. The choices vary depending on seasonality and availability.
Ugli Fruit: Grown exclusively in Jamaica, don’t let the bumpy, rotten looking exterior fool you. Ugli Fruit is a hybrid between the Sevilla orange, grapefruit and tangerine families. Despite its appearance, this fruit is both tangy and sweet. Simply peel like an orange to enjoy the burst of citrus flavor.
Sapote: A soft fruit that is native to Mexico & Central America. It is often used in milkshakes and ice cream and is known for a smooth flavor that is a mix of sweet potato, pumpkin, honey, peach, cantaloupe, cherry and almond.
Passion Fruit: Native to southern Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, passion fruit has a tropical sweet tart flavor with nuances of pineapple, papaya, mango and citrus. Passion fruit are prized for their jelly like pulp which can be used raw or cooked in a number of dessert or beverage preparations. Simply cut in half and scoop flesh out with a spoon.
Quince: The interior and exterior of a quince is like an apple or a roundish pear, and they taste a little like both. Quince is rarely used in its raw form, and when cooked, the flesh turns from light pink to almost purple. The flavor is very astringent when raw but becomes softer and sweeter when cooked. A favorite for baking and preserving because of its sweet-sour flavor and high levels of pectin.
Blood Oranges: With varying degrees of orange to red exterior, the peel of the blood orange becomes redder as it ripens. When cut open, the juice and flesh of the orange is dark red and has a sweet flavor, similar to strawberries, that is less tart and acidic than typical oranges.
Goldenberries: Originally cultivated in the Andes where they grow at 7500 to 10,000 feet, they are in the same family as tomatillos and grow inside a husk. These flavorful bite-sized fruits can be eaten whole in desserts, jams, pies, chutneys and sauces.
Kumquat: A member of the citrus family, these tiny orange-like fruits can be eaten whole. Despite their small size, kumquats are filled with a burst of sweet-tart flavor. Their paper-thin skin is sweet while the flesh is sour. They are often candied or used in stuffing, cakes or muffins.
Papaya: Available in several varieties, such as golden, maradol and strawberry, papayas are from Mexico or Hawaii. The skin is green to yellow and the flesh ranges from golden yellow to orange and red. They vary in size from small, like a pear, to almost 10 pounds. Choose papayas that are soft like a peach with skin that is more yellow than green.
Horned Melon: Native to New Zealand, this melon has a spiky golden-orange shell that encases a soft, seed-filled emerald green interior. It has a sweet and tart banana-lime flavor that is enhanced when chilled. Cut in half and scoop out the jelly-like flesh or add the seeds to salads, salsas or smoothies.
Dragon Fruit: Available in pink, purple or yellow, dragon fruit is a cactus fruit with a delicate, sweet flavor with the aroma of jasmine. Its flesh has a melon-like texture with tiny edible seeds, similar to a kiwi. Can be eaten by cutting in half and scooping the flesh out with a spoon.
Cherimoya: With a lizard-green pinecone exterior and a custard white flesh, when opening a Cherimoya, you’ll notice a very floral sent of vanilla and banana. The flavor is reminiscent to pineapple, pear and strawberry. Be sure to remove the seeds before eating. They are poisonous.
Feijoa: Also known as pineapple guava, these egg-shaped fruits have a soft succulent flesh that is similar to a pear with jelly-like edible seeds. This lime green fruit is native to South America, but primarily grown in New Zealand. Its flavor is reminiscent to a pineapple, quince and lemon. Serve sliced into salads, blend frozen for a sorbet or use in cakes and crumbles.
Note: Featured in photo clockwise from top-left includes blood orange, golden papaya, passion fruit, feijoas, golden dragon fruit
Feijoa Cake with Ginger
1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups peeled and diced feijoa
1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish
Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Cool slightly then beat in the sugar and egg. Fold in the flour, baking powder and ground ginger. Stir in the diced feijoa and candied ginger. Pour the batter into a greased, 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool slightly and remove from the pan. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream.
Recipe courtesy of Quinta Feijoas, New Zealand