11 Delicious exotic fruits you need to try right now!
Fruit has never been tastier! With these mouth-watering fruits from all over the world, getting your five-a-day in is no chore at all
Cherimoya (custard apple)
A heart-shaped green or purple fruit with either smooth or scaly skin, cherimoya has sweet creamy flesh with large inedible seeds. It can be eaten spooned from the skin or used to make creamy desserts.
A good source of vitamin C, a guava can be round or pear-shaped. It is ready to eat when it is yellow and has a fragrant aroma. To eat the fruit, cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh and edible seeds with a teaspoon. Eat it with cream, or poach it in sugar syrup, enhancing the flavour with a little lemon juice.
Kiwano (horned melon)
Kiwano's subtle flavour resembles a blend of banana, lime and passion fruit. When ripe, the skin is golden orange.
"Kiwano's subtle flavour resembles a blend of banana, lime and passion fruit"
To serve kiwanos, cut them into quarters lengthways and eat the flesh straight from the skin, as you would a slice of watermelon, or cut them in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. The seeds are edible. Kiwanos contain a lot of juice, which can be extracted in the same way as passion fruit juice, then sweetened to taste and drunk or used for desserts.
Lychee and rambutan
The prickly shell of a ripe lychee can be reddish-brown, deep pink or white depending on the variety. The aromatic pearly white flesh tastes sweet yet slightly acidic. Rambutans, which have soft red or orange spines, are similar to lychees but have less flavour.
To eat lychees, peel away the rough prickly skin with your fingers and eat them like a cherry, discarding the stone. You can serve fresh lychees or rambutans with ice cream and sorbets to add an aromatic flavour, stone them and add them to exotic fruit salads, or liquidise the flesh to make a delicately perfumed drink.
One of the most delicious tropical fruits. The thick, dark purple skin conceals segments of juicy, sweet white pulp. Mangosteens are ripe to eat when their skin turns deep purple, almost black. Slice off the top of the mangosteen with a sharp knife, then cut down deeply through the skin on either side from stem to calyx. Pull the skin carefully away to expose the fruit inside and eat the segments like a small satsuma. Alternatively, the mangosteen may simply be cut in half and the flesh scooped out with a spoon.
Papaya (paw paw)
Papaya vary in size, colour and flavour depending on the variety. The dense, firm flesh is highly perfumed, juicy and sweet—something between a melon and a peach. The flesh may be orange, orange-yellow or red. The skin becomes yellow as the fruit ripens. Green fruit has a poor flavour.
"For extra flavour, you can score the cut flesh with a knife and sprinkle lemon or lime juice over it before eating"
To eat papaya, cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the black seeds, then eat the flesh straight from the skin with a spoon. For extra flavour, you can score the cut flesh with a knife and sprinkle lemon or lime juice over it before eating. Papaya can also be peeled and cut into slices or cubes to make a sweet addition to a fruit or vegetable salad. The flesh can also be liquidised to make a rich, sweet drink. Papaya can also be used as a marinade to tenderise meat, as it contains an enzyme which breaks down tissue.
Passion fruit and granadilla
Passion fruit and granadilla come from the same botanical family. Purple passion fruit has a powerful flavour, yellow granadilla is more subtle and sweeter. Both are ripe when the skin begins to wrinkle.
To eat passion fruit or granadilla, slice off the top and spoon out the flesh with a teaspoon, or bite through the skin and suck out the flesh and edible seeds.
Passion fruit juice is very sweet (some would say cloying), and it often used to make drinks, ice creams, sorbets and other desserts. To extract the juice, scoop out the flesh into a stainless-steel or nylon sieve placed over a bowl, and push it through using the back of a wooden spoon, discarding the seeds. If you are putting the flesh into a liquidiser, you must pick out the seeds first, as they have a bitter, unpleasant taste when crushed.
Physalis (cape gooseberry)
Pale and papery husks conceal shiny berries with a sweet-sharp flavour. When ripe, the berries are golden-orange.
"Physalis are almost better used with their leaves curled back as a pretty garnish"
To eat physalis, simply pull back the outer husks and bite off the whole fruit. But physalis are almost better used with their leaves curled back as a pretty garnish for cakes and desserts. They look prettier still, and taste even more delicious, if they are dipped first in a caramel, chocolate or fondant coating.
The pomegranate has a tough, brightly coloured skin containing translucent, deep-pink kernels which has a specially refreshing sweet flavour. To eat a pomegranate, slice off the top and bottom and score through the skin from top to bottom in four places with a sharp knife. Gently pull the pomegranate apart, still in its skin, to expose the kernels and eat them with a spoon. Whether you swallow the seeds or spit them out is up to you, but the internal membrane separating the fruit into sections is not pleasant to eat. You can also use the brilliant ruby flesh as a garnish for sweet or savoury dishes.
To extract the juice, gently squeeze the whole pomegranate in your hand to crush and break down the kernels within. Then make a deep cut through the skin into the flesh and pour out the pomegranate juice into a bowl.
Shiny and five-sided, the star fruit has a translucent pinkish-yellow colour and tart flesh. To eat star fruit, wash and dry them and trim off the top edge of the ridges with a potato peeler. Then cut them crossways into thin, star-shaped slices. Star fruit is quite tart, so poach the slices gently for about 30 seconds in sugar syrup before adding to fruit salads or using as a garnish.
A shiny gold or red oval fruit, the tamarillo, or tree tomato, has yellow flesh like a plum and purple edible seeds. The sweet-sour flavour is rather an acquired taste, at its best when the fruit is ripe and soft to the touch. Cut it in half width-ways and eat it with a spoon, but do not eat the outer skin.
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