There’s a world of exotic fruits to try. Lindyl Crabb scours the globe for 10 of the best.
Though they might look peculiar exotic fruits are nature’s sweet treats. Packed with nutritional goodness, they’re rich in antioxidants and will introduce you to a world of new and exciting flavours.
Here are 10 varieties that will tantalise your tastebuds.
10 Exotic Fruits
With their creamy texture and sweet flavour, custard apples are divine eaten fresh or in desserts. They contain vitamin C, fibre, magnesium and potassium and have significant levels of antioxidants. Although native to South America, you can buy Australian-grown varieties which pair well with other fruits and spices. Use the flesh in smoothies, on toast or eat it with a spoon.
Refreshing and subtly sweet, dragon fruit are indigenous to Central and South America. The fruit is part of a cactus and eating it may protect against diabetes-related complications, increase antioxidant activity and promote the growth of good bacteria in your body. Halve the fruit and scoop the flesh out with a spoon, or cut it into quarters and eat like an orange.
Related to the custard apple, this fruit is creamy and has a strong, tangy flavour. Native to South-East Asia, Central and South America, traditionally the leaves were used as a sedative and pain reliever, and research shows soursops may also have the potential to help regulate blood sugar levels. As the fruit ripens the skin softens and yellows and they’re great fresh or in desserts.
The longan is nature’s palate cleanser – its translucent flesh tastes sweet with a hint of nuttiness and musk. Related to the lychee and rambutan, the fruit grows well in Australia’s subtropical climate but originated from China where it’s traditionally used to treat fevers, improve digestion and relieve insomnia. Squeeze the fruit at the base and the orb of flesh will pop out.
Don’t let this fruit’s unappealing odour stop you from giving it a try. Known as the‘king of fruits’, the creamy pulp has a unique flavour that’s savoury and mildly sweet. Durians are grown across South-East Asia and come packed with phytonutrients which help your body fight disease and support your immune system. They give off a pungent smell when ripe and are available fresh, dried and canned.
When sliced crossways each piece of this fruit takes the shape of a star. Several varieties are grown in Far North Queensland and are described as a cross between grapes and apples, with crisp, juicy flesh and edible skin. Star fruit are low in kilojoules, rich in vitamin C and are a source of fibre, potassium and antioxidants.
A mouthful of jelly-like feijoa tastes of strawberry, pineapple, guava and lemon. They’re a flavoursome way to amp up your intake of antioxidants, fibre, folate and vitamin C, and while the peel isn’t usually eaten, it’s also a source of antioxidants.
You can buy Australian-grown feijoas and enjoy them fresh by scooping out the flesh with a spoon, blended in juices or in sweet and savoury cooking.
Small and bristly, rambutans are related to the lychee, although you’ll find their pearly-white flesh is slightly more acidic. Indigenous to Malaysia, they’re most refreshing when eaten raw and are a delicious way to increase your antioxidant intake. Eat them by making a shallow cut in the rind and pulling it apart to reveal the ball of flesh.
Native to India, this large fruit has fragrant, juicy bulbs of flesh and a flavour similar to pineapples and bananas. Jackfruits provide antioxidants, called carotenoids, and vitamins essential for healthy vision, skin, cells and immunity. When ripe they give off a sweet aroma and the exterior softens. Cutting the fruit releases sticky latex, so rub oil onto your hands before you start.
The mangosteen’s reputation as ‘queen of the tropical fruits’ hints at its melt-in-your-mouth flavour. Best eaten fresh with your hands, the sweet segments taste of strawberry and peach. Originally from South- East Asia, they’re rich in vitamin C, fibre, potassium, magnesium and B vitamins. Early research shows that the fruit may have anti-inflammatory benefits, which means it could help lower your risk for a number of major diseases.