Globalization isn’t all bad. Thanks to increased trade andcommunication, we’re also discovering and enjoying an ever-growing number of exotic and rare fruits. Read on to discover some exotic fruits you’ve probably never heard of now available near you.
Yuzu: The most popular fruit in Japan, this tart and aromatic citrus is rarely eaten fresh, but the juice and rind are valued in restaurants as a seasoning for sauces and drinks, particularly sweet beverages or alcohol. It’s commonly sold as a juice, vinegar, powder, or frozen puree.
Jujube: This small, crisp apple-like fruit is a successful crop as far north as the snowy hillsides of Korea and Canada to the tropics of Madagascar, where it is now an invasive species. Jujubes are most commonly sold dried as Chinese Dates, Indian Dates, or Korean Dates.
Currant: The word “currant” once referred to a family of petite, juicy berries native to Europe, Asia and North America. These days it’s used in the grape industry to refer to a small variety of grape, but you can still find the original currant at farmers markets and specialty shops.
Cape gooseberry: Native to South American, these bright orange berriesencapsulated in papery “jackets”were popular in 18th century English gardens and traveled the world with the British Empire. Find the fresh fruits at farmers markets or look for the dried fruit in cereals or sold plain as “Golden Berries.”
Mangosteen: Fondly referred to as the “Queen” of Southeast Asian fruits, the high antioxidant levels of this royal purple fruit has led to claims that mangosteens cure everything from acne to cancer. Thanks to the hoopla, mangosteensare now available worldwide as a delicately sweet juice, a dried powder, or in capsule form.
Tamarind: The key to Worcestorshire Sauce, Pad Thai, and Indian chutney is the sour and tangy flesh of this African legume. Removing the sticky pulp from the seeds is laborious, so look for tamarind paste at your local ethnic food store.
Jackfruit: Rumor has it that the snappy bubble gum aroma of the world’s largest tree fruit was the inspiration for Juicy Fruit Gum. Their popularity has led to widespread availability of many jackfruit products as well as the fresh and frozen fruit.
Sugar Apple: Few fruits have been as universally embraced as this scaly, heart-shaped fruit. Originally from South America, sugar apples are now grown on every continent and known by over 30 different names.
Pomelo: These enormous, pale green or yellow citrus look like oversized grapefruits but are actually ancient relatives of the orange. In Chinese traditions they symbolize prosperity and social advancement, so look for them during the month of Chinese New Year, typically February.
Goji Berries: Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve vision and reduce cataracts, these red berries from the Tibetan highlands are high in zeaxanthin, an antioxidant believed to protect the eyes from sun damage. They can be found at most health food store, as well as in muesli, granola bars, or high-end chocolates.