Seven Strange Fruits: Buddha's Hand, the Notorious Durian and Other Exotic Produce
A Video Recipe for Buddha's Hand Preserve
From the elegant Buddha's hand to the repelling durian, enjoy these photos and videos of seven unusual fruits. Each strange fruit is especially delicious, funny-smelling or aesthetically appealing. Check out the videos to learn how bad a durian smells and how to prepare exotic fruit desserts and salads.
1. Buddha's Hand
Buddha's hand originated along the border of India and China. It grows on a thorny tree. Imagine each "finger" as a small banana -- except when you peel the skin, you get a sweet citrus wedge.
Buddha's hand is sweeter than other citrus fruits and is therefore popular in candies and salads. It's also a traditional offering given in Buddhist temples and is used in syrups to relieve respiratory discomfort. In China and Japan the fragrant fruit is commonly used to perfume the air and attract good luck.
In the video shown to the right, the chef combines Buddha's hand with local honey, cloves and other ingredients to create preserves. She recommends serving the preserves on top of warmed strawberries or pears. She also combines the Buddha's hand preserves with hot water to make a remedy for colds. Finally, she ends the video with a recipe for salad sweetened with Buddha's hand dressing.
I learned about the cherimoya or ice-cream fruit while living in the Andes. The name is derived from the Quechua word chirimuya, which means "cold seeds." Cherimoyas originated in chilly high-altitude areas but are now cultivated throughout South America.
A cherimoya is about the size of a grapefruit and is best eaten when somewhat soft like an avocado. This sweet fruit has a creamy white flesh that you can eat with a spoon. It's also known as custard apple.
Durian is regarded as “the king of fruits" in Southeast Asia because of its large size and intimidating thorny husk.The name comes from the Malay word for "thorn," duri. Durians typically weigh between two and seven pounds. They grow up to a foot long and six inches in diameter. The inside tastes sweet and is reminiscent of a banana-almond custard. Unlike a cherimoya though, a durian is usually cut into slices.
This fruit tastes much better than it smells. Durians are pollinated by bats and therefore have an unusual odor. Some people describe the durian's smell as pleasant and almond-like but most liken it to turpentine, sweaty socks or worse. In the video below, a man somewhat scientifically compares the smelliness of a durian with a dirty gym shoe covered in dog poo.
How Smelly is the Durian?
A Video About Kiwano
The kiwano or horned melon is native to the Kalahari Desert. The fruit has long been a popular snack in Zimbabwe, where people consume the entire fruit including skin, seeds and pulp. Now it's also grown in Australia, California, Chile and New Zealand.
Depending on when it's harvested, the kiwano tastes like a cucumber-kiwi hybrid or similar to a banana. The flavor can be enhanced with salt or sugar. People also use the melon as decoration.
Kiwanos are rich in Vitamin C and fiber.
Pitaya refers to the fruit of several cactus species in Asia. It's also known as dragon fruit and strawberry pear. The fruit is eaten raw and is sour and juicy, which makes it a favorite thirst-quencher of hikers.
The pitaya's skin ranges from yellow to pinkish red. The flesh is gelatinous, white and peppered with black seeds.
The monstereo has many nicknames: monstera deliciosa, monster fruit, fruit salad plant, Swiss cheese plant, window plant and more.The older leaves of the monstereo plant have lovely lacy windows. The fruit measures about a foot long and looks like a big green ear of corn.
When you eat this fruit, you feel a tingly sensation in your mouth. That's from calcium crystals having a party. It's important to only eat monster fruit when it's mature so you don't irritate your throat or suffer more serious complications such as rashes and death. (The death reaction is rare.)
The flesh is juicy and tastes like banana-pineapple. It's popular just as a tasty fruit but is also used as an arthritis remedy.
The tamarillo or tree tomato is enjoyed raw and in sweet dessert sauces. Try serving it warm on top of ice-cream. The tamarillo tastes like a combination between a passion fruit and a Roma tomato.
Tamarillos originated in the Andes but are now grown in Australia, China, New Zealand, South Africa and the US. The fruit is rich in iron, Vitamin C and magnesium.
You can learn lots more about tamarillos in this YouTube video.
Video of Tamarillo Trees & Tamarillo Ice-Cream
Exotic Fruits on Amazon
Fruit & Veggie Links
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- The Durian: King of All Fruits
Having written an article on
- Beautiful Images of Strange Fruits - Discover Magazine
The Discover Magazine website shows the scarlet pimpernel and other beautiful fruits.