10 fruits that you do not know!

Be like a pineapple – stand tall, wear a crown and be all sweet inside!

For many, the smell of fresh fruit, a fruit cocktail or a fruit salad are as much a part of summer as the sun and warm temperatures. Europe has a great selection of local fruits like apples, strawberries, plums and cherries. Exotic fruits such as pineapple, mango or papaya, as well as lychees and kiwis, are now also available in most German supermarkets. Occasionally, however, you can find offers in our supermarkets that only a few consumers know about. Pomelo and persimmon, for example, are now increasingly common, but still puzzle one or two supermarket visitors.

Yet the selection of fruits that can be bought in Germany is only a small sample of what the fruity universe has to offer.

In the world, there is a huge selection of exotic fruits that you can discover as a traveler. However, not all of them taste really good – so much in advance. 

Join us on a small culinary journey through the world and discover with us great fruits that are not usually known in Germany. 

Fruit Longan

The Longan fruit resembles the lychee originating from southern China, both visually and in taste. However, instead of the reddish and uneven surface, longans have a smooth, light brown skin. Inside the longan is a pit that is a bit bitter and not edible. In addition to China, the fruit can be found in Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand (main growing area), Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Asian fruit is used for soups, sweet and sour dishes and desserts, but can also be eaten dried. In Asian restaurants, longan is sometimes found on the dessert menu under the name “dragon’s eye”. Unfortunately, the fruit is usually canned;

By the way, the longan is not the only relative of the lychee that can be found in the Asian region. The rambutan, which can hardly be distinguished from longan and lychee in terms of taste, is the most common fruit tree in Malaysia. The rambutan looks like a lychee, is also pink, but it has thick protruding hairs. 

The small brown round fruit called longan originates from Asia

Fruit Lucuma

Lucuma is a subtropical stone fruit that can be enjoyed mostly in Peru, Chile and Ecuador. The Peruvians revere the very sweet lucuma as a national fruit and love especially the ice cream made from it. With us one knows the fruit probably rather in the form of a powder.  The sweet fruit can be used well as a sugar substitute. Although it is a small calorie bomb, it contains many vitamins and minerals. The powder impresses with its intense caramel note and thus gives desserts its very own flavor. The fresh Lucuma – fruit reminds taste a little of a sweet potato. 

The green fruit of the lucuma visually reminds of an avocado

Fruit Cherimoya

The cherimoya is native to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. Today, it is cultivated in all regions where a subtropical climate prevails. Plantations can also be found in Europe, for example in Spain (Costa del Sol), Italy (Calabria) or Madeira. The cherimoya is usually eaten raw, but can also be processed into juice or ice cream. The taste  of the cherimoya is very sweet, slightly creamy and slightly acidic. The large brown seeds should not be eaten, then they are slightly toxic. The skin, however, can be eaten. The cherimoya has a lot of minerals and vitamins. 

Culinary tip: Enjoy the sweet cherimoya with salty ham and horseradish together!

The green fruit of the cherimoya catches the eye with its large scales

Fruit Cactus Fig

A real eye-catcher, this exotic delicacy is native to Mexico and South America. Today, you can also discover them traveling through South Africa, Australia, California and many Mediterranean countries. The jelly-like flesh of the prickly pear tastes refreshingly sweet and sour and slightly mealy. The seeds can be eaten without hesitation. A special delicacy is also the liqueur, which is obtained from the fig. The juice of prickly pears can sometimes be bought in German health food stores. It is said to have a positive effect on cholersterol and insulin levels. However, in many prickly pear-flavored soft drinks, you won’t find the fruit in the list of ingredients. The taste is often imitated with flavoring and apple juice. Anyone who has ever tasted a real prickly pear will notice a distinct difference. 

Prickly pears actually grow on a cactus

Fruit Kiwano

The kiwano is also known as “horned melon” or “horned cucumber.” The large spines of the skin, which remind of small horns, are virtually their namesakes. Tastewise the horned cucumber reminds of a combination of banana, passion fruit and lemon. Inside the kiwano is a green flesh that somewhat resembles the consistency of a very slippery tangerine and the inside of a cucumber. Eating a kiwano can be a bit of a challenge. It is best to simply spoon them out. The small seeds, comparable to cucumber seeds can simply be eaten along with it. 

Originally the fruit comes from Central Africa, but now it is also grown in Israel and New Zealand. Occasionally, the kiwano can even be found in German delicatessens; here, care must be taken when buying that the skin has an orange color. Who has a green thumb, which can grow the horn cucumber even in Germany itself. 

An orange spiny fruit of the kiwano, also called horned cucumber

Fruit Loquat

The fruit is also known as Japanese loquat, biwa, pipa  or woolly loquat. Visually, loquat are very similar to apricots on the outside, but the skin of the fruit is more shiny. The taste of the Loquat is fresh sweet and sour. Depending on the variety, the fruit flesh is firmer or softer. Often the loquat is steamed and then processed into fruit salads or jelly. The loquat can be eaten with peel. 

Originally, the Loquat comes from China and Japan, but is widespread throughout the Southeast Asian region. Loquat that can be bought in Germany are partly even grown in Germany in the areas of the Rhine rift valley. However, the fruits often come from Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Spain and France.

Loquat are related to apples. You can see this when you cut them open. Unlike the similar apricot, loquat has a core with several seeds. 

The bright orange fruits of the loquat look like peaches with chestnuts in the core.

Fruit Mangosteen

The mangosteen, or mangosteen, is about the size of a tomato. In taste  the mangosteen resembles the lychee and the mango. Its white flesh consists of several segments, but is easy to remove from the skin. It is best to score the skin at the equator with your fingernail and then simply twist the fruit open. The mangosteen is rich in antioxidants and xanthones. However, it is certainly not the panacea it is sometimes advertised to be. 

The mangosteen tree is originally from Malaysia. The fruits ripen there in November and December. In the meantime, however, the mangosteen is also planted in the wider Asian region and also in Central America and Brazil. The smaller fruits are usually better tasting than the larger ones. 

A good place to buy mangosteen in Germany is the Viktualienmarkt in Munich. Here there are some dealers where you can buy the Mangosteen. However, the prices there are really high.

Note: The peel of the mangosteen fruit you should pick up! From it, a tea can be obtained.

The purple fruit of the mangosteen has a small green hat made of leaves

Fruit Tamarillo

Tamarillo, also called tree tomato, can be yellow, orange, red or purple inside. The fruit, which originated in Argentina and southern Bolivia, is now grown mainly in New Zealand. The tamarillo does not taste really sweet. Therefore, it is often re-sugared for raw consumption.However, its somewhat tart flavor makes it a good base for sauces and hearty dishes

The skin of the tamarillo should be removed before eating. It is rather firm and does not taste good. 

Bright red tamarillo hanging from a branch, looking a bit like very large oval cherries

Fruit Salac fruit

Salak fruit is also called snake (skin) fruit in German because of its brown scaly skin, which resembles the skin of a snake. In terms of taste, this Southeast Asian palm fruit lies somewhere between pear, lychee and jackfruit

Visually, the interior of the snake fruit is somewhat reminiscent of a tulip bulb. In the light yellow or pink flesh, however, are large seeds that should not be eaten;

On the markets in Indonesia you can find different varieties of the snake fruit. Thereby, the smaller varieties are often more expensive, as they are considered sweeter and tastier.

The fruits of snake fruit are brown and scaly

Fruit Pepino

The pepino is also known as the melon pear and is originally from South America. There you can buy it in local markets under the name of pepino dulce (sweet cucumber). Visually, the pepino is reminiscent of a melon or a pumpkin.The taste is, as the Spanish name suggests, that of a sweet cucumber and is somewhat reminiscent of honeydew melon.  The peel can be eaten along, but is somewhat hard. Most therefore spoon out only the inside of the melon pear. In addition to the fresh pulp itself, especially the pepino jam is highly recommended.

To buy there is the Pepino dulce in Germany rather rarely. In the plant trade, however, you can buy the plant for home cultivation. Often it is sold there under the name balcony melon. 

The pepino is an orange fruit with dark purple stripes

Summary: exotic fruits

The world holds many exotic fruit varieties for travelers to discover. However, some of these fruits are also available in selected delicatessens in Germany.  Some of the fruits can even be grown in Germany if you have an outdoor flower pot and a bit of a green thumb.

But part of the true taste experience is strolling through farmers’ markets in faraway countries and tasting fruits you’ve never heard of in Germany. Besides, fruits taste much better when they are freshly picked and served on the plate.

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