I was playing a game the other day, in which you have to come up with fruit that starts with every letter of the alphabet. Apple, banana, cherry…. and that is about where I hit a blank. My epic failure at this game made me do some research and what I discovered was a whole world of delicious looking fruit that I had never even known about! I was completely shocked to find that there are actually hundreds of different types of fruit (no need to include them all as omissions in the comments), most of which I had never even heard of. This list is not to rank the fruit, but rather just to inform you about them. The only fruit on this list I consider ranked is No: 1, as it deserves the spot, in clearly being the coolest fruit on the planet. How many of these exotically delicious fruit have you tried?
Sugar Apples or Sweetsop, is native to the tropical Americas, but is also widely grown in Pakistan, India and the Philippines. The fruit looks a bit like a pine cone, and are about 10 cm in diameter. Under the hard, lumpy skin is the fragrant, whitish flesh of the fruit, which covers several seeds inside, and has a slight taste of custard.
Mammee Apple, Mamey Apple or Santo Domingo Apricot is an evergreen tree, native to South America, which was introduced to various other regions of the world including West Africa and South East Asia. They can also be found in Florida and Hawaii. The Mammee apple is actually a berry and gets up to 20 cm in diameter. It has a thick outer rind, with soft orange to yellow pulp on the inside. It usually had one seed in the centre, but larger fruit have been known to carry up to 4. The pulp is sweet and fragrant.
Cherymoya, or custard apple, is a deciduous plant found in the high lying mountainous areas of South America. The fruit is vaguely round and is found with 3 types of skin – Impressa (indented), Tuberculate (covered in nodules) or intermediate (a combination of the first two). The flesh inside the skin is very fragrant, white, juicy and has a custard like consistency. It is said that the fruit tastes like a combination of banana, passion fruit, papaya and pineapple. Mark Twain said in 1866 “ the most delicious fruit known to men, cherimoya”
Platonia or Bacuri is a large tree (reaching 40m) found in the rain forests of Brazil and Paraguay. The fruit become the size of a orange, and have a thick yellow peel which oozes a yellow latex when pressed. Inside there is a sticky white pulp, wrapped around several black seeds, which tastes pleasant and has a sweet and sour flavor.
Cocona fruit is another tropical fruit found in the mountainous regions of South America. It grows on a small shrub, and can miraculously grow from seed to fruit in less than 9 months, after which the fruit will take another 2 months to ripen. The fruit is a berry and comes in red, orange or yellow. It has a similar appearance to tomatoes, and is said to taste like a mixture between tomatoes and lemons.
Breadfruit is a large tree, in the mulberry family, found native to the Philippines and all the islands in Southeast Asia. The fruit is similar to bananas, as they can be eaten raw when ripe, and cooked when unripe. The ripe fruit is soft and sweet, while the unripe fruit is harder and starchy, which is where it got the name breadfruit from, as it tastes similar to freshly baked bread when cooked.
Duku or lungsat are two very similar fruits found throughout Asia. They come from the same family, look and taste identical, with one difference. The skin of the lungsat contains a latex substance, which is not poisonous, but causes the skin to stick slightly to the fruit, whereas the duku has no latex and the peel is removed with more ease. Inside, the fruit has 5 segments, some of which has bitter seeds inside. It is a very sweet fruit and can be prepared in a number of different ways, including being canned in syrup or being dried like raisins.
Safou is an evergreen tree found in the humid tropical forests of Africa, as far south as Angola, and as far north as Nigeria. The fruits are also known as African pears and are oblong dark blue to violet fruits up to 14cm in length, with pale green flesh inside. These fatty fruits have been said to have the ability to put an end to starvation in Africa, as 48% of the fruit is made up of essential fatty acids, amino acids, Vitamins and triglycerides. The have estimated that a one hectare plantation would be able to produce 7-8 tons of oil, and all parts of the plant can be used.
Jabuticaba, or the Brazilian grape tree, is a very strange plant native to the South Eastern parts of Brazil. What makes this plant so strange is that it fruits from its trunk. No, I did not make that up, and no the picture has not been photo shopped. Initially, yellowish white flowers will appear all over the trunk and main branches, these flowers will then turn into fruit, about 3 – 4cm in diameter. Inside the thick purple skin is the soft gelatinous flesh of the fruit, along with 1 – 4 black seeds. The fruit is sweet and can be eaten as is or made into a wine or liqueur. Unfortunately, the fruit does not keep long when off the tree and will start to ferment after about 3 or 4 days.
Rambutan is an odd fruit that looks like a furry strawberry from the outside, and much like a lychee on the inside. It is native to South East Asia, but has been spread and a smaller “wild” version can be found in Costa Rica, where it is called a Chinese sucker. The fruit is an oval shape and about 3-6 cm in diameter. Inside the slightly hard, but easily peal able skin, you can find a soft fruit that tastes slightly sweet, with a possible sour tinge.