The influx of 'alternative' drinks in the late nineties meant bringing a lot of strange but delicious fruits to the table. I remember the first time I heard of 'dragonfruit,' I thought it was made up and then I just figured, "Oh, it must be red," since the drink was too. It's a surprise every time, with all of the different mixes and names. A week ago, I drank something that had Jackfruit in it, and that was just it for me. They have to be making this stuff up.
It was at this point that I went to the lovely, magical beast of the internet, and I asked it some questions about these cleverly named fruits -- and lots of results came back.
In Spanish, the fruit is called 'pitaya,' and it is native to Mexico, Central America, and southeast Asian countries like Mayalasia and Vietnam, and can weigh between one-hundred to six-hundred-fifty grams. The fruit was named 'dragonfruit' to boost sales, and my guess is that the name came from its somewhat bestial appearance, and it's not always red. There is also a yellow pitaya. Its taste is characterised by mild sweetness.
The guava fruit is sort of like an orange, not by flavour, but how it grows. Native to Mexico, the Carribean, Central and Northern South America, a guava is pear-shaped and grows to be about three to ten centimetres and is often prepared as a dessert, though it can be eaten whole and is commonly. Highly unusual for fruit, Guava has a high amount of calcium, but it is also rich in many other vitamins. The colour range of the bitter-tasting rind runs anywhere from red to pink, green to yellow, and white to orange, but on the inside, the fruit is undeniably sweet in both taste and its tell-tale aroma.
With its colour ranging from orange to red, and the insides being white, guarana has been used as lately as an energy supplement and has been taken as a means to promote weight loss. The plant has natural caffeine, although it is sometimes called "guaranine," and is highly integrated with Brazillian culture. Unless mixed with sugar, guarana powders can be quite bitter.
These things are huge. Reaching sizes of up to thirty-six kilograms, and ninety centimetres long, Jackfruit is surprisingly a species of mulberry, of which only reach two-to-three centimetres in length. Jackfruit, the name, comes from a word spoken in Mayalayam, a language of southern India, 'chakka.' The yellow to green-yellow fruit is grown throughout south and southeastern Asia, parts of central and eastern Africa, Brazil, and Suriname. It has been noted for tasting cloyingly sweet, and is used in many curries.
Also called 'carambola' and 'belimbing,' starfruit is popularly named so because, as you might have guess, when the fruit is cut, if is star-shaped, though it can sometimes have six or seven points instead of five. Native to Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the fruit is popular in Mayalasia and east Asia. It is grown in Brazil, Peru, Ghana, Guyana, Tonga, and French Polynesia as well as commercially grown in Florida and Hawaii. Its colours range from bright yellow to green-yellow, the plant surprisingly doesn't need much sunlight. Crunchy and slightly tart, the sweetness of this fruit comes in one of two varieties, the other being rather acidic.
Native to tropical regions of Central and South America, Açai grows mainly in swamps and flooded plains. A very deep purple or green, the fruit is about an inch in diameter, resembling a grape. Açai has typical berry flavour with a hint of chocolate, and has less pulp than grapes.
Had any weird fruits lately?
Have any favourite fruits that aren't typically at your grocer?