Fruits of Hawaii
The following fruits aren't listed in any specific order. These fruits are found in Hawaii, though not necessarily native to the area or used in traditional Hawaiian cuisine.
What it is: Ananas comosus is a tropical fruiting member of the Bromeliad family native to Brazil and Paraguay. In Hawaii, pineapples are primarily associated with the Dole Pineapple Plantation, which can be found there on the island of Oahu. What appears to be a single fruit is actually many smaller fruits pressed together.
Is it Hawaiian?: The pineapple is not native to Hawaii and was not known to Ancient Hawaiian civilization. It is however commonly found in modern Hawaii. Three common varieties found in Hawaii are as follows;
'Smooth Cayenne': 2.5–3 kg (5-6 lb), pale yellow to yellow flesh. Cylindrical in shape and with high sugar and acid content. Well adapted to canning and processing. The most easily obtainable in U.S. grocery stores.
'Hilo': A compact 1–1.5 kg (2-3 lb) Hawaiian variant of 'Smooth Cayenne'.
'Kona Sugarloaf': 2.5–3 kg (5-6 lb), white flesh with no woodiness in the center. Cylindrical in shape, it has a high sugar content but no acid.
Best places to find it: Oahu and Hawaii are the best islands to find this fruit. Most restaurants will serve the Hilo and Smooth Cayenne varieties. Kona sugarloaf pineapples can be obtained inexpensively from open markets on the island of Hawaii.
What it is: The Psidium genus is native to Mexico and Central America. This genus is propagated in the wild through endozoocheris ornithocary, or the dispersal of seeds through birds digestive cycles. Guavas are extremely nutritious, being high in fiber, diertary minerals, vitamins A and C, and omega 3 and 6 acids. One guava contains four times as much vitamin C as a single orange.
Is it Hawaiian?: Guavas are not native to Hawaii. Guavas have become invasive species in native ecosystems, particularly rainforests. Wood from guava trees is used in local crafts and in meat smoking, and fruits are harvested for consumption.
Best places to find it: Guavas can be found on all the main Hawaiian islands. Ask around local markets to find meat smoked with guava wood, as this is a treat hard to find outside of Hawaii. Local companies Hawaiian Sun and Aloha Maid make several juices flavored with guava.
What it is: The Passiflora genus is native to South America. Externally, this fruit is similar in appearance the the guava. This plant is extremely invasive in native Hawaiian ecosystems. In Hawaii, this plant is called lilikoi.
Is it Hawaiian?: Though it has a Hawaiian name, this plant was not known to pre-contact Hawaiians. This fruit is popular in modern culture and used to make syrups, butters, jellies, glazes, and sauces. It is a popular flavoring for shaved ice.
Best places to find it: This fruit and flavorings derived from it can be found on all the main Hawaiian islands.
What it is: Carica papaya is a tropical fruiting tree native to the Central and South America. Fruits are yellow-orange externally when ripe. Green and yellow papayas flesh is used in culinary arts. The black seeds inside the fruit are also edible, used in ways similar to black pepper. In the 1990s, two varieties of papaya, SunUp and Rainbow, that had been genetically-modified to be resistant to the papaya ring spot virus, were introduced into Hawaii. By 2004, non-genetically modified and organic papayas throughout Hawaii had experienced widespread contamination from the genetically-modified varieties.
Is it Hawaiian?: Papayas were unknown to pre-Contact Hawaiians. Fruits are commonly used in Thai, Hawaiian, and Filippino cuisine in the Islands. Fruits are served fresh in continental breakfasts and as side dishes in restaurants.
Best places to find it: Most restauraunts serve papaya halves with lime slices. Papaya fruits can be bought whole in most open markets.
What it is: Mangoes are native to the Indian Subcontinent. Mangoes are eaten whole, used as flavorings, and used to make chutney and sweet salsas. Mangoes are high in antioxidants and dietary minerals. Some people are allergic to the sap of mango trees, reacting with dermatological symptoms similar to poison ivy.
Is it Hawaiian?: Mangoes are a recent introduction to Hawaii. Many locals love to eat fresh mangoes and products derived from this fruit can be found in almost any store selling food items.
Best places to find it: Kauai and Hawaii have some of the best locally grown mangos in the state. Mangos can be purchased whole in most open markets and grocery stores.
What it is: Species of the genus Vitis are native to the Central Asia and the Mediterranean. Early Egyptian hieroglyphics show the cultivation of grapes. Wine grapes are species of grapes grown specifically for producing wine. White wine and red wine grapes are both grown all over the world.
Is it Hawaiian?: Grapes did not appear in Hawaii until after Western contact. Wine grapes have been grown at sea level in Hawaii using deep sea water cold agriculture technologies.
Best places to find it: The Volcano Winery on the island of Hawaii boasts an impressive vineyard and carries many exotic flavors. Wines produced in Hawaii can be purchased in large grocery stores and at the winery.
What it is: The Litchi genus is native to Asia and Northern Africa. These fruit have red outer shells and translucent whitish flesh similar in consistency and flavor to a grape, only sweeter. There are over 30 different cultivars of lychee. The Lychee contains on average a total 72mg of Vitamin C per 200 grams of flesh. Lychee are low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium.
Is it Hawaiian?: Lychee cultivars were brought to Hawaii from Asia with the migration of people from China and Japan. Lychee is a favorite flavor for shaved ice as well as candies.
LFruits are also eaten fresh and raw.
Best places to find it: Fruits can be purchased at grocery stores and open markets.
What it is: This tropical fruiting plant is native to Brazil. The dark purple-black fruits
grow directly off of the trunk of the tree. The flesh of these fruits is similar in
appearance to that of a lychee. Several potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
anti-cancer compounds have been isolated from the fruit.
Is it Hawaiian?: This plant is not native to Hawaiian and was brought in for use in wine and
Best places to find it: Occasionally, sapling trees can be found at open markets. Open
markets usually carry fresh fruits. Wine made from fruits can be found at the Volcano Winery on the Island of Hawaii.
What it is: Tomatoes are a fruit and part of the nightshade family (like potatoes and eggplants), but they are served and prepared as a vegetable, which is why most people consider them a vegetable and not a fruit. Native to South America, and brought to Europe by Spanish explorers, the tomato took some time to be accepted because tomatoes were thought to be poisonous, like other members of the nightshade family.Tomatoes come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.
Is it Hawaiian?: Tomatoes are not native to Hawaii. The Kamuela area of the island of Hawaii is known for growing tomatoes, some being grown hydroponically. These tomatoes are large and known for being fresh tasting.
Best places to find it: Locally grown tomatoes can be found at open markets. Kamuela tomatoes can be found in the State of Hawaii at various grocery stores, and of course within Kamuela.
What it is: Garden strawberries are a common variety of strawberry cultivated worldwide. Like other species of Fragaria (strawberries), it belongs to the family Rosaceae. Technically, it is not a fruit but a false fruit, meaning the fleshy part is not derived from the plant's ovaries. The Garden Strawberry was first bred in Europe in the early 18th century via an accidental cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America, which was noted for its flavor, and Fragaria chiloensis from Chile, which was noted for its large size.
Is it Hawaiian?: Strawberries are a post-contact fruit. Flavorings and derivatives, as well as fresh fruits, can be found commonly throughout the islands. Like wine grapes, strawberries have also been grown using deep sea water cold agriculture technologies.
Best places to find it: Strawberries can be found in grocery stores and open markets. Waimea on the island of Hawaii is the main producer of strawberries in the State, and is known for having large and especially sweet strawberries.
What it is: Usually deep red in color, pear shaped,
with a waxy skin, about the size of an apple. Some varieties have white
or pink skin. Used as a food crop. Native to Malaysia.
Is it Hawaiian?: Although native to Malaysia, the Mountain apple was brought to Hawaii by Polynesians and was used by them as a food crop. The Hawaiian name for this plant is ohia 'ai.
Best places to find it: Open markets, especially on the island of Hawaii. Occurs in the wild.
What it is: The true origin of Bananas, world's most popular fruit, is found in the region of Malaysia, where all plants in the Musa genus are native. Americas first commercial sale of bananas was at a celebration held in Pennsylvania in 1876 to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The banana plant is not a tree. It is actually the world's largest herb!
Is it Hawaiian?: Bananas were brought from Malaysia to Hawaii by Polynesians. The banana was one of the 13 staple crops brought on the first journey from the South Pacific to Hawaii.
Best places to find it: Every grocery store and open market will have bananas available. Apple bananas, a variety commonly found in Hawaii, are worth the buy.