We all know an apple a day keeps the doctor away but what about a daily mangostan? What? You've never heard of mangostans? How about miracle berries? More importantly, where can you find some of the fruits that are enjoyed by people all over the world for their flavor and nutritional value?
Apples may be full of vitamin C but there are superfruits from far off continents brimming with good flavor, and nutrition. Some are even imported and can be found at your local market. Keep reading to discover 10 of the rarest fruits from around the world and where to find them.
Sapodillas are a tropical fruit with a flavor reminiscent of mango. They are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Scoop out the pulp of the ripe fruit and make a sapodilla smoothie, or use it to make a pie. Just be sure to let it ripen fully before eating it as eating the unripe fruit can have some unpleasant side effects such as mouth ulcers.
You'll find these fruits growing in tall trees in places like Mexico, and Belize where they most likely originated but sapodillas can also be found all across the tropics and are imported into the US.
9 Water Apple
Water apples are most commonly found in tropical climates but originated in southeast Asia. Their flavor is similar to a pear, and the flesh gets sweeter closer to the core. Ironically, they neither taste nor smell like an apple.
The tree will bear fruit twice a year and grows to almost 40 feet high. Water apples can be enjoyed right off the tree but are sometimes cooked with sugar and cinnamon to create a kind of water applesauce, or diced into preserves to enjoy year-round.
8 Miracle Berry
The miracle berry is just that – like a miracle. This remarkable berry will make tart and sour foods taste sweet after they're eaten. Miracle berries were discovered in west Africa in the 18th century however, you won't find them in supermarkets in the US.
The USFDA has banned its import due to lack of safety testing despite them being enjoyed widely in Japan. Some surmise that the sugar and artificial sweetener industries saw miracle berries as a threat and used their power to shut down the importation. The good news is that these plants can be grown indoors under the right conditions.
7 Hala Fruit
Hala fruits look like something you would expect aliens to deposit before speeding back to their home planet. This strange looking fruit tastes like pure sugar cane and is enjoyed in myriad ways by South Pacific Islanders. Its pollen has been used as an aphrodisiac, the roots are medicinal, and the leaves can be used to make useful products.
The fruit itself is consumed by removing a segment and sucking the nectar out. You'll want to eat the hala right after you open it, however because the fruit starts to smell bad once it gets old earning this Hawaiian delicacy the monikar of "stink nut".
6 Australian Finger Lime
Also known as caviar lime, the Australian finger lime is a microcitrus that contains tiny globules inside. These globules, known as pearls, provide a burst of tartness when chewed with a taste similar to lime.
The Australian finger lime is grown in – you guessed it – Australian where it is native to the rainforests there, but due to its popularity it is now available in some US markets. Finger limes are commonly used to add a tart flavor to seafoods but feel free to use it to have some fun making finger lime mojitos.
This grape-like fruit grows creepily along the trunk and branches of the jabuticaba tree. Jabuticaba fruit originally came from Brazil but can now be found growing in many tropical areas. The taste of the fruit, according to Gastro Obscura, can differ widely among distinct varieties but all are "bursting with flavor". They are eaten by squeezing the juicy flesh out of the skin and into your mouth.
Don't look for these in your local market, however. They are very perishable and start to rot soon after picking making them impossible to export.
Mangosteens are native to southeast Asia but are now grown easily in other tropical climates. Not only is the inside of this fruit nutritious but the peel itself has been proven to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
Pry the peel away with your thumbs and you'll find a white, juicy, slippery fruit inside that tastes both sweet and sour. Only one segment contains a seed in most mangosteens and turning the fruit over will reveal a raised design that tells you how many segments are inside. Canned mangosteens can be found in some Asian food markets but contain added sugar in the syrup,
The prickly outside of this fruit may make you fearful of touching it but once you hold a rambutan you'll see its spines are quite soft. Slice the skin down the middle to reveal a globe-like fruit that is similar to a skinned grape but with a sweeter taste. Don't eat the seed as it contains a toxin that destroys red blood cells.
Some specialty food markets will carry rambutans but they're indigenous to southeast Asia. They are now grown in great quantities in the tropical climates of central America where you'll find them sold in bags on the side of the road as mamones chinos.
Poor durian fruit gets a bad rap all the time. Known for its strong, offensive smell which has been known to clear a room its odor actually grounded an Indonesian flight when a shipment of the fruit was in the cargo hold.
A native of southeast Asia, durian is considered a superfruit for its naturally high levels of nutrients that improve strength, complexion, and lower blood pressure. One serving contains an entire daily requirement of fiber. So, go easy on the durian fruit and feel free to enjoy...in private.
Ask a vegan about jackfruit and they'll tell you about all the ways you can make this versatile fruit into meat-like meals. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where both the ripe and unripe versions are consumed.
You'll find two varieties of canned jackfruit – packed in brine, or packed in syrup –in Asian markets in the US . The brine-packed is the unripe version and is useful in making mock meats, such as pulled "pork". However, don't be afraid to try the ripe fruit packed in syrup which has a taste similar to canned apricots.