You’ve been eating fruit since you were a kid. Strawberries, apples, grapes — you know the usual suspects. But you can go beyond the banana and find a whole new world of sweet, fibrous fruits out there.
Because of their known health benefits — like reducing the risk of diabetes and some cancers — fruits are popular around the world. Many fruits are only available in certain regions of the world because their delicate skin can easily bruise or the product, once harvested, can quickly turn rotten. But that doesn’t have to stop us from admiring their exotic appearances. If you ever come across any of these fascinating fruits, you should definitely give them a try.
Mangosteen are grown primarily in Southeast Asia and southwest India. The white, pulpy edible segments inside are tangy, cool, and slightly sweet, while the dark purple hard exterior needs to be pulled away.
This citrus fruit is native to South and Southeast Asia, but it’s also grown in the Caribbean and the southern U.S. The peel ranges from pale green to yellow when ripe, and the inside fruit segments taste like a milder grapefruit.
It’s easy to see how this freaky looking fruit gets its name. The bunches of finger-like sections of yellow fruit don’t contain any pulp or juice, unlike other citrus fruits, but make for great zesting. It tastes like a non bitter lemon peel with a strong flowery fragrance. Buddha’s hand originates from the Himalayan region and is eaten throughout East and Southeast Asia.
You either love or hate this custardy fruit. The spiky appearance is striking, but not nearly as striking as its legendary stench. In fact, it smells so strong, that it’s forbidden to eat in many public places throughout Southeast Asia.
Also known as the custard apple or the sugar apple, this custard-tasting fruit can be found growing wild in Jamaica, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and in some regions of North Queensland, Australia.
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Do you know anyone going through chemotherapy? This berry might possibly help them deal with some of the side effects of chemotherapy treatments for cancer. This is miracle fruit, sometimes called miracle berry, native to west Africa. Many people know this fruit for its remarkable sweetening effect: for about an hour after eating one of these red berries, sour foods taste sweet. But that's not the only trick these fruits can do. In the 1990s, Ed Kraujalis was a rare fruit enthusiast living in South Florida, well known for his ambitious tropical fruit-growing projects. Then Ed got cancer, and in the ensuing months, he experienced one of the many debilitating side effects of chemotherapy treatment: food tasted awful. Called "chemo tongue", this effect made even Ed's favorite food, pizza, taste like rubber, with a metallic, chemical taste lingering constantly in his mouth. His appetite crashed, and he wasn't eating much. Then Ed discovered the other remarkable trick that these red berries from Africa can perform – for an hour after he ate a miracle fruit, food tasted better. The lingering chemical flavor in his mouth went away for that hour, and foods tasted much closer to their normal flavors, so much so that Ed was able to restore his appetite. Ed reported this dramatic effect in Tropical Fruit News, and then many other chemotherapy patients experimented with miracle fruit. Medical journals have published studies on this effect. Apparently it doesn't work for everyone, but miracle fruit does help many people experiencing "chemo tongue" to taste their food better. Of course, miracle fruit is not a treatment for cancer, but it can sometimes help ease the side effects of cancer treatment. Look online for sources of miracle fruit. There are businesses selling the fresh fruits, and also freeze-dried miracle fruit, and miracle fruit tablets. My miracle fruit plant has a crop right now. I'm not offering them by mail, but if you're in the area (I'm between Gainesville & Ocala, FL), message me if you want to drive out to my place & get some miracle fruits. No charge if it's for someone going through chemo. 😘 #miraclefruit #miracleberry #Synsepalumdulcificum
These red berries get their name from the fact that they contain miraculin glycoprotein because, it will cause sour foods eaten directly after to taste sweet. But eaten alone, the berries themselves aren’t overly sweet, and they have a bit of a tangy taste.
This sub-Saharan native fruit is also known by the name African horned cucumber, horned melon, or spiked melon, along with a handful of other monikers. The kiwano has a slimy lime green interior surrounded by spiky orange skin. The edible fruit tastes like a cross between cucumber, kiwifruit, and zucchini, though as it ripens, it tastes morel like banana.
Ackee is a native of tropical West Africa, but it migrated to Jamaica with explorers in the 18th century and is now the national fruit of Jamaica. While it’s extremely popular in neighboring Caribbean nations, ackee is illegal in the U.S. because it contains a poison called hypoglycin that can lead to coma or death if that fruit isn’t prepared properly.
The wood apple is known by other names around the world including monkey fruit and elephant apple — the latter because it’s a favorite food of elephants. It’s considered sacred by Hindus and is widely popular in India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The boiled-raisin tasting fruit is often blended up as juice or used in a shake.
While native to Australia and the Pacific Islands, haha fruit is now grown in Hawaii, as well. Inside the hard, fibrous exterior are dozens of colorful wedges, known as keys, that each have seeds. Haha fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. The plant’s leaves are often used for thatch roofs, grass skirts, mats, and baskets.