The world is such an amazing place, and every single part of it has something special to deliver. Today we’ll explain some of the rarest exotic fruits that are amazing to look at. They all come from different regions. Some are even poisonous, which is a fact that should make you think twice before eating something you’ve never seen or heard of before.
Mangosteen is an exotic tropical fruit with a slightly bittersweet flavor. It is native to Southeast Asia but can be found in various tropical regions of the world. The fruit is sometimes referred to as purple mangosteen because of the deep purple color that its rind develops when ripe. Mangosteen is a plant used to make medicine. The fruit rind is most commonly used, but other parts of the plant, like the seeds, leaves, and bark, are also used.
Mangosteen is highly regarded for its juicy, delicate texture and slightly astringent flavor and is usually eaten fresh, canned, or dried. The plant is used topically in traditional medicine and has been promoted as an alternative treatment for cancer, but clinical studies in humans are lacking. Mangosteens have a thick, hard, deep red rind surrounding snow-white flesh, which is in segments resembling those of a mandarin orange. Seedlings take 8 to 15 years to bear fruit. Individual trees have been reported to yield more than 1,000 fruits in a season, but the plants usually produce good crops only in alternate years.
2. Red bananas
- Scientific Name: Musa acuminata ‘Red Dacca’
- Origin: South East Asia
Red bananas are shorter, plumper and heartier than the average banana. It should only be eaten when ripe as an immature Red banana taste’s like a dry and chalky starch. When ripe, it will have a thick, brick red peel and ivory-hued semi soft flesh. Its flavor is sweet and creamy with raspberry highlights.
They’re particularly rich in potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 and contain a fair amount of fiber. Another important mineral for blood pressure control is magnesium. One small red banana provides about 8% of your daily needs for this mineral. Beta carotene is another carotenoid that supports eye health, and red bananas provide more of it than other banana varieties. One small red banana provides 9% and 28% of the RDIs for vitamins C and B6, respectively. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that feeds your beneficial gut bacteria. Like yellow bananas, red bananas are a great source of prebiotic fiber.
3. Australian finger lime
- Scientific Name: Citrus australasica
- Classification: Citrus
Finger Lime trees are erect trees growing up to 10 metres. The fruits can be green and cylindrical in shape, up to 100mm long and only about 20-30mm in diameter. They do have prominent thorns and do contain some seeds.They have a thin skin that ranges in colour from green, yellow, red, purple to even a black.
The oil cells on the rind are small giving the fruit a great glossy appearance. The fruit contains an acid juice similar to that of a lime and has been rated by famous chefs as ‘superior’ to other limes.Juice vesicles are compressed and burst out (staying in one piece) when the skin of the fruit is cut, enabling them to be used in creative ways. Used in chutneys, jams, marmalades, savoury sauces and refreshing drinks. In great demand for culinary use as it displays well as a garnish.
4. Hala fruit
- Scientific Name: Pandanus tectorius
- Classification: Screwpine
The fruit can be eaten both raw or cooked and even used as dental floss. Wedges are made into necklaces, while the leaves are useful for mending and are said to have medicinal properties. The hala fruit has a slightly sweet tropical flavor that is a cross between a mango and a pineapple with a distinctive banana undertone. Some people compare the taste to jackfruit. It has an attractive floral aroma that most people enjoy.
Like many tropical fruits, if left too long to ripen, the sweet aroma turns into a pungent, unpleasant odor. This is how the fruit earned its nickname “stinky nut” in Hawaii. The skin of a hala fruit is inedible, while the orange-red meat has a pulpy, hard and extremely fibrous texture. The berries barely have any edible flesh and are not worth the effort. In the center of the hala fruit is a reddish brown seed that can be eaten. It is usually roasted before being eaten. Although hala fruit is delicious eaten on its own, its sweet, tropical flavors pair well with meat dishes and curries. It combines well with coconut, papaya, and other tropical fruits and vegetables.
5. Buddha’s Hand
- Scientific Name: Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis
- Classification: Citron
Buddha’s hand looks more like a decoration than an edible fruit. Like most citrus, this fruit needs a warm, or at least temperate, the climate in which to grow. Where lemons and oranges can grow, so too can Buddha’s hand. Also like other citrus fruit, it ripens and is harvested starting in winter and may be available to buy into spring. It tends to come into season a bit more in-line with grapefruit than oranges, so we may be well into winter before you’ll see it piled up at markets.
Buddha’s hand is used mainly for its zest and peel. To use Buddha’s hand: break off a “finger” from the hand and grate or peel the bright lemon exterior. As with all citrus peel, you only want the brightly colored part, not the bitter white pith beneath. In China, the fruit is displayed for good luck. In Japan, Buddha’s hand is a popular New Year’s gift as a token of good fortune. Buddha’s hand fruits are highly fragrant and are mainly used in China, Malaysia, and Japan to scent rooms and personal items such as clothing.
- Scientific Name: Blighia sapida
- Classification: Blighia
Ackee, also spelled akee, tree of the soap family native to West Africa, widely cultivated in the tropics and subtropics for its edible fruits. Ackee and salt fish are a popular dish in the Caribbean and the national dish of Jamaica. When ripe, the reddish woody shell of the fist-sized fruit opens to reveal three white arils, each with a large, shiny black seed. The soft, bland arils are eaten as a vegetable, although they are poisonous and even fatal if they are not ripe.
Ackee fruits derive from large green leafy trees of West African origin and are consumed either raw or after boiling in milk or water and served on their own or in meat or fish dishes, such as ackee and salt fish. Ackee fruit is a substantial part of the diet in poor, agricultural areas and its taste resembles that of hazelnut or avocado.