Outside the produce aisle at your grocery store, there are actually thousands of interesting fruits to be found all over the world! Many of them you’ll never get to try, but should you comes across one of these five you should definitely go out of your way to give them a taste!
Rambutan is native to the Malay Archipelago. “Rambutan” comes from the Malay word meaning “hairy,” if you Google an image of the rambutan you can see why! It kind of looks like something your cat might cough up. But once the hairy exterior is peeled away, you’re left with tender, fleshy, delicious fruit that is sweet and sour, much like a grape. In fact, it almost looks like a grape with the skin peeled off.
Also known as the gooseberry or ground cherry, the physalis peruviana is indigenous to South America. The fruit is a smooth, yellow berry, about the same size as a cherry tomato. It’s sweet, but has a tartness to it as well (again, much like a tomato), making it perfect for pies and jams if you’re looking for something extra special! Some restaurants use it as sauces for savory dishes as well. Each individual gooseberry comes in a “bladder” (a calyx), that is actually just a papery husk (much like a corn husk), that protects the fruit for up to 45 days if you store it at room temperature.
In Southeast Asia, durian are known as the “king of fruits.” It’s a large fruit that is easily recognized by its thorn-covered husk and incredibly pungent odor, which has been likened to the smell of gym socks or rotten onions. Some people really love it though, and say the flesh is much like eating an almond-flavored custard.
Mark Twain once referred to the cherimoya as “the most delicious fruit known to men.” The flesh of the fruit has a similar consistency to a ripe pear (almost like a custard), and is wonderfully sweet. It tastes like a cross between a banana and a pineapple, but it’s a totally unique fruit that everyone should try at least once!
Mangosteens are sweet, tangy, citrusy, and peachy flavored. They are native to Southeast Asia, and were so prized by Europeans that Queen Victoria is said to have offered a reward of 100 pounds to anyone who could bring her a fresh one. For those that aren’t great at geography, Southeast Asia is a long boat ride away from England! And while you might be able to find the other fruits at specialty markets, mangosteens were put on sale in New York City in 2008 for $45 a pound.