Have a hankering for fruit? Sure bananas and apples are delicious but every once in a while you may have a craving for something just a little bit…different. Strange fruit isn’t just an iconic Billie Holiday song, it constitutes a group of fruity delights that come from all over the world but may not look or sound familiar. Next time you want to make a smoothie or need to detox consider throwing in some cempedak from Southeast Asia. These fruits could make their debut in the United States any day just like the Acai berry hit the market hard and has quickly become one of the most popular detox fruits.
Learn more about how to take control of your diet and start on the path of healthy eating in this course.
Kiwano Melon or African Horned Melon
Known as the African Cucumber, this fruit tastes like a delicious mixture of banana, lemon and cucumber. Its appearance resembles a melon with horns which is why it’s sometimes referred to as the African Horned Melon. The flesh is frequently used in smoothies although its prevalence in the states is scarce. Some people eat the skin, or shredding due to it being a great source of Vitamin C and fiber. If you’re into juicing, the Kiwano Melon can be a great addition to your morning boost. In Weight Loss Juicing Ideas you can learn about other fruits and vegetables that can complement your diet and help you get healthy!
Buddha’s Hand is a multi-fingered fruit that grows in the Himalayans. It’s not a traditional edible fruit as it contains no juice and no pulp but its citrus rind makes this fruit popular for many dishes. The rind is used for its zest and is often used as a lemon zest replacement. When dried, the peel of an immature fruit is used as a medicinal tonic.
Most popular in Southeast Asia, this spiky fruit is known as the king of fruits locally. It’s a strange fruit with a creamy flesh and an odor of stinky cheese. Surprisingly the taste of Durian also tastes like an aged Limburger cheese as well; however, you will only find this flavor from the trees that bear Durian in places like Sumatra and Borneo. When you purchase Durian in Western countries the taste isn’t the same and would be more related to that of a wine or grapes. The flesh is of a custard consistency and is pale yellow to red depending on the variety. The smell is reminiscent of garlic which just adds another level of complexity to this odd fruit. The cheese like flesh can be used as a vermifuge (destroys parasitic worms) and the leaves are used for people suffering from jaundice or skin diseases. Durian has a significant amount of Vitamin E and the leaves contain hydroxyl-tryptamines.
Also known as the jacktree or an ugly relative of the jackfruit, cempedak is a small yellow-green fruit full of soft sweet flesh. It’s mostly found in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam where it grows in abundance due to the tropical climate and heavy rainfalls. This fruit is over 50% water and is full of fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Natives use the bark of this fruit to produce yellow dye and the fleshy part of the fruit is used in desserts and can be deep fried for cempedak fritters. The bark is also known to be used as an antimalarial preventative medicine.
Native to the Philippines and South America, Jicama is a frequent flyer in many traditional Mexican dishes. It looks like a turnip but tastes like a sweet fruit and has no relation to the turnip family. If the Jicama is over ripened the sugars are converted and the flavor changes to a deep woody flavor. The root is the edible part of the plant and has a crunchy sand like texture. The rest of the fruit is inedible and actually toxic because of the high content of rotenone. It’s high in carbohydrates but it mostly comprised of water (85%+). Oligofructose inulin is the natural sugar of the Jicama. These sugars do not metabolize well which makes this a good snack for those who are diabetic or on strict diets. Not all diets are going to work with your body but knowing what options are available to you will help guide you as you create your own health regime. Learn what foods to eat and what to avoid in this Eaters Guide to Health.
Sapodilla or Sapota, is a refreshing nutrient-filled fruit for smoothies, salad additions or dessert toppings. It’s a tropical growing fruit that is full of calories, vitamins and tannins which are anti-oxidant. As far as strange fruits go, the Sapota is probably the most popular of the group with its mango and jackfruit taste. The outside of the fruit is much like a kiwi in texture and the flesh is a brown, sandy color that is full of minerals and vitamins like potassium, iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It’s native to South and Central America, but is now being cultivated worldwide.
Noni is native to Polynesia but has gained a lot of popularity around the United States for it’s medicinal properties. The fruit is often used in juices but can also be found at health stores in supplement forms and as a tea. The fruit is rich with immune boosting and anti-oxidant nutrients and is being studied as a cancer fighting fruit as well. There are precautions when taking Noni as a supplement for people with kidney problems due to the high content of potassium. Most recently Noni is being used as an agent for managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The fruit is not the most appetizing to eat or look at but its health benefits are incredible which is what makes it a strange yet popular fruit. Noni is typically about the size of a potato with bumpy skin and a bitter and pungent creamy white flesh. When mixed with other fruits like mango, banana and berries the noni fruit’s taste can be masked and the nutrients can still be obtained.
Fruits are a great way to boost your immune system and enrich your diet – but they aren’t the only food that does this. Herbs and spices are largely overlooked for their health benefits. Don’t be left out, learn all about Ayurvedic Cooking in this course.