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Exotic And Tropical Fruits: Properties And Benefits

We show you a list with 13 weird fruits, how to eat them and what benefits they provide us with.
Find out about these tropical fruits and their benefits.

 

When we go to the supermarket, we sometimes see weird fruits with strange names that we have never heard before. These are tropical or exotic fruits that generally come from Asian or tropical countries. 

They are abundant in their countries of origin, and we can find them more and more every year in Europe, in supermarkets, and Asian shops, so they are making their way into our diet. One of the first exotic fruits to reach some European supermarkets and which is now part of our regular consumption is mango.

Tropical fruits have many health benefits and are essential for maintaining a healthy diet in tropical regions. Many nutritionists and physicians praise the ability of these foods to prevent numerous medical conditions and to keep the overall health and well-being of those who enjoy eating them.

We have created a list with 13 tropical fruits so you can identify and recognize them when you see them in the supermarket.

13 weird tropical fruits

The most common tropical fruits are bananas, pineapples, and kiwis. However, many other exotic species come from all over the world and can be found fresh in supermarkets or specialty stores. Although we sometimes consider them rare because of their color, shape, and name, they are fantastic fruits to consume in salads, juices, and desserts.

If you have hesitated to buy tropical fruits because you don't know precisely what they are, how to consume them and because they may seem weird to us, from now on you have no excuses, since we have elaborated a list of exotic fruits with their main characteristics, so that next time you see them you will be encouraged to buy them.

1. Star fruit

Oval star-shaped, this greenish-yellow fruit has an edible rind with a waxy texture. The flesh inside has a mild apple flavor. This tropical fruit contains large amounts of potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure.

Besides, it is an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that stimulates the immune function and fights infections.

To eat star fruit, we can cut it and eat it naturally or put a few slices in whatever flavor yogurt we like.

2. Passion fruit or maracuya

This small tropical egg-shaped fruit contains edible seeds and juicy, bittersweet pulp. The outer shell may be dark purple or light green. The inner pulp and edible seeds are orangy-green, sweet and sour.

The passion fruit pulp is an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, and phytosterols that reduce blood cholesterol levels. This fruit also contains a large amount of vitamins C and E. To enjoy it; we can remove the pulp directly from the skin, pour it into a fruit salad or squeeze it to add a touch to our morning drink.

3. Young coconut

They are coconuts that are not entirely developed yet, that is why they are green on the outside. When you open one, we find coconut water surrounded by tender and sometimes jelly-like flesh. 

This exotic fruit has magnesium, potassium, iron and the pulp is a good source of proteins. In addition, coconut water is one of the highest sources of electrolytes we can consume. So after working out or some exercise, we can replace some of these electrolytes with a coconut water shake or juice, or cut the flesh to eat it with yogurt.

4. Dragon fruit or Pitaya

This exotic looking fruit and one of the rarest we can find in Asian food stores is easy to distinguish because of its oval shape with a green end and pink peaks in the shape of a flame. Inside it, we find a white and tender flesh like the one in a melon, sprinkled with black edible seeds.

This fruit comes from a cactus and is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber. This helps us reduce cholesterol and improve our digestive health, and the fiber makes us feel satiated for longer.

A good option when consuming this fruit is making a milkshake, as its main component is water and it is easy to mix. We could also chop the pulp and put it in a fruit salad. 

The dragon fruit is one of the most peculiar fruits in this list.

 

5. Tamarillo

This bittersweet tropical fruit, also called tree tomato because of its appearance and taste, often has red skin on the outside. Inside, the flesh is orangy-green with black seeds. The tamarillos do not need to be peeled; we have to wash them, chop them and enjoy them.

Tamarillos are rich in vitamin C and low in fat and calories. We can add slices to sandwiches instead of tomatoes, or use them to accompany cheese boards or salads.

6. Acai berry

These berries are similar to blueberries. Although they are often said to aid with weight loss, these berries are consumed for their antioxidant properties.

They are a source of protein, fiber and omega 6 + 9 (which improves heart health and lowers cholesterol). Acai berries are not usually eaten fresh, so it's best to buy them in dry powder form, or by drinking the juice alone or mixed in a shake.

7. Guava

This tropical fruit has an edible green rind with bright salmon-colored pulp inside. The seeds are edible, and the flavor is often described as a mixture between pears and strawberries. Guava contains five times more vitamin C than an orange.

It is also high in dietary fiber, especially if we eat the seeds. This exotic fruit contains lutein, essential for eye health, potassium, fiber, calcium and iron. It can be eaten like an apple, or we can also be used to make an exotic sauce.

8. Mango

This exotic fruit is well known by everyone. We can find it in different varieties of colors that include yellow, red, green and even purple. A mango is mature and ready to eat when it gives off a pleasant smell, the area around the stem is swollen, and we notice that it is slightly tender when we press it.

Its juicy flesh has a sour and exotic taste, and it is considered one of the tastiest tropical fruits. We can have mangoes peeled, chopped or eaten with the skin. They are also very nice in juices, fruit salads, purees, and sauces. 

9. Kumquat

This small fruit looks like a little orange, but it has a sweet and edible external peel that covers a sour flesh inside it. They are rich in vitamin C and contain potassium. They also provide a small amount of fiber, which helps prevent constipation and lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and stabilize blood glucose.

We can consume them alone, only by washing them and eating them whole with the skin. They also go well with green salads or as dessert, dipping them in melted dark chocolate.

In a balanced diet, we can combine tropical fruits and other types of fruit.

 

10. Persimmon

Persimmon is similar to tomato, but it's bright orange. This fruit has a flavor that reminds us of a soft mango. Persimmons are a good source of fiber and vitamins A and C. A right choice to consume them is to puree them to add them over pancakes or mix them with natural yogurt. And while we can eat them fresh, they are also delicious baked in cakes and muffins or smoothies.

11. Papaya

Papayas have a soft green or greenish-yellow skin. Ripe papaya should be tender when pressed. The flesh of papayas ranges from orangy-yellow to salmon, and has a peach flavor, with a sour note. To eat this exotic fruit, we must remove the dark seeds, peel it and eat it the same way we eat mangoes.

12. Cherimoya

Another exotic fruit with a strange name is the cherimoya or custard apple. They are ready to eat when they are so soft that we can make a hole through its peel, which is not edible, by the way. 

Cherimoya flesh has a creamy texture, and it tastes like pineapple, banana, and strawberry. Cherimoyas are easy to eat. We cut it in half with a knife and eat the pulp directly from the fruit in spoonfuls as if it were a kiwi. We can also spread it on a slice of bread and make a different and tasty sandwich. The seeds are not edible, so they have to be removed.

13. Kiwano or horned melon

The horned melon tastes more like a vegetable than a fruit. When it has a goldish-orange color, and it is hard as a cucumber it means it is at its highest maturity point. Its flesh also tastes like cucumber, with a sweet and sour touch, so we should eat it just like we would eat a cucumber.

We can make cold soups with the seeds and its edible pulp. We can also mix the seeds and pulp in a fruit salad for a refreshing bittersweet touch.

References

Baquero, G. D. C., Paternina, G. S. A., & Cadavid, M. V. (2016). Frutas tropicales: fuente de compuestos bioactivos naturales en la industria de alimentos. Ingenium, 17(33), 29-40.

González Vega, M. E. (2013). Chirimoya (Annona cherimola Miller), frutal tropical y subtropical de valores promisorios. Cultivos Tropicales, 34(3), 52-63.

Looney, N. E., & Jackson, D. I. (2003). Producción de frutas de climas templados y subtropicales (No. 634.04 P964p). Zaragoza, ES: Acribia.

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