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Exotic tropical fruit

Updated on January 28, 2015
Exotic Tropical Fruit
Exotic Tropical Fruit | Source

The five most delicious fruits from the Tropics

Have you ever tried tropical fruits? I don't mean pineapples, bananas or mangoes, but fruit that's decidedly different from the everyday selection. Deliciously different too.

To bump up my fruit intake I've been trying new and exotic fruits and discovered the wonders of five delectable fruits growing almost on my own doorstep.

Why not try these tropical fruit delights? Even if you don't live in the tropics, the modern wonders of refrigeration and fast transport can bring even the most exotic tropical fruit to your table.

Lychee
Lychee

Lychee

You've probably seen lychees in cans but, with the miracles involved in modern transportation, they could turn up, fresh, at your supermarket.

I've tried the tinned variety and they're not too bad. Then there's lychee wine, I've tried that too, ice-cold, to accompany a seafood salad. Refreshing, a quaff for a hot night but not something I'd drink frequently.

A lychee is a most attractive fruit with translucent, pearly white flesh and a hard brown seed.

Peel the rough crimson skin before eating and keep the seed for the compost. For quick eating just bite the top off, squeeze the fruit straight into your mouth and spit the seed out. Simple. Not an overpowering taste.

Rambuten
Rambuten | Source

Rambutan

Rambutans are a lot like lychees, just not so sweet. A lot hairier too!

They have an almost- tart, refreshing taste, just lovely on a hot day. Put them in a salad, or use as an after-dinner fruit. Simply peel away the skin to expose the flesh then enjoy!

Make a fresh and colourful fruit salad by peeling and removing the stones from rambutans, then tossing together with sliced strawberries, sliced green kiwifruit and cubed rockmelon.

.Rambutans can also be poached in a syrup or added to stir-fries.

How to Prepare Rambutan and Lychee

"King of Fruits'

Durian
Durian

Dine on a Delicious Durian

The King of Fruits

Durian is a strange, bumpy-skinned thing known as "the King of Fruits", and notorious for its odd spiny shape and pungent smell.

You really have to try one to appreciate its exquisite flavour. I approached my first durian with some trepidation (it smells funny) took a tiny bite and now I'm hooked!

These jungle rainforest trees are enormous, as high as 40m. They take 8-10 years to fruit. It's worth the wait!

Durians are packed with goodness. Very low in cholesterol and sodium, and a good source of thiamin, vitamin B6 and manganese. It's also packed to the spines with vitamin C.

Orang Utan and a Durian Dinner
Orang Utan and a Durian Dinner | Source

Watch out for the smell

On the nose

Orangutans love durian, they don't mind the whiffy aroma (some people could say durians stink) for the smell means nothing when it comes to chomping into a beautiful tasty durian.

It amazes me how any human came to eat a durian in the first place - it must have been for a bet! - for once cut open, the fruit smells frightful.

Many hotels ban tourists from taking durian to their rooms. The trick is to eat it fast! You have about 10 minutes before the smell gets too much. (You can devour a durian in less than 5 minutes if you really set your mind to it).

Durian from Tree to Table

How to eat a Durian

It's a race against time!

To determine if durian fruit is ripe, people smell the bottom of the stem. If the smell is strong, it's ready to eat. By the time a durian has been exported and reached you, the stem smell has faded, and you would then use the tapping method.

This is achieved by hitting the fruit with a stick and listening for a slightly-hollow "thunk".

Wipe down your largest chopping board or lay a newspaper out on the floor and chop the durian in half using a cleaver. It opens to reveal four seeds covered in pale yellow flesh. You dig out a giant seed and proceed to suck the creamy flesh.

Beware, it's very sweet, very filling, and you don't have much time!

Largest Tree Borne Fruit in the World

Jackfruit on the tree
Jackfruit on the tree | Source

Jackfruit

A sort of large family size durian

Another fruit with a prickly outside, jackfruit looks a bit like durian in a large economy size. It's also a little bit on the nose.

The jackfruit is indigenous to India, but spread early throughout Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and now grows in northern Australia.

The amazing jackfruit tree bears the largest tree-borne fruit in the world. A single fruit can weigh as much as 36 kilograms and be a metre long!

To bear this weight, the flowers and fruits of jackfruit don't grow on branches but grow directly on the tree forks or tree trunks.

How to Prepare a Jackfruit

Versatile Jackfruit

A vegetarian substutute

Crack open a jackfruit and you will find the pods or "bulbs". We call them the seeds in Australia, but they are actually a kind of fleshy covering for the true seeds or pits, which are round and dark like chestnuts.

Jackfruit can be eaten green, cooked in various forms, as well as eaten ripe. The fruit has a creamy sweetness with hints of pineapple and banana. The seeds, with their nutty taste and texture, are just gorgeous.

Jackfruit is very similar in texture to chicken, making an excellent vegetarian substitute for meat.

Mangosteen - "The Queen of Fruits"

If durian is the King of Fruits, then mangosteen is the Queen.

Mangosteen is round and purple, somewhat smaller than a tennis ball. To eat it, you can crush the brittle yet moist rind with your palms to reveal the pure-white delicacy inside. The bitter rind is inedible, and the fruit comes in the form of variously sized wedged segments, the largest of which may hold a solitary seed.

It's said that Queen Victoria offered knighthood to any subject who could bring her a mangosteen fruit in prime condition.

Sadly, because of the impossibility of preserving the fruit during the weeks-long journey no one received the prize. It's been suggested that, thanks to the Queen's quest, the fruit achieved the title of "Queen of Fruits," but mangosteen lovers will tell you it has nothing to do with Victoria and everything to do with its taste.

Mangosteen tastes like ice cream

In different flavours

The mangosteen tastes more like icecream than anything else besides icecream. And you never know what flavour of icecream.

Sometimes a mangosteen can taste like strawberry icecream, sometimes vanilla. And sometimes you would swear you are eating a peach. Whatever the individual taste of each fruit, it's delicate and divine.

I sympathise with anyone who can't get a fresh mangosteen.

Handy Tip

taryneast passes on a handy tip she picked up in Thailand.

How to tell if a Mangosteen is ripe -. If it's solid as a rock it's not ripe. You want one that has a peel that you can press your thumb into.

Xanthones

What are they?

Xanthones are powerful phytonutrients found in few plants and are composed of stable carbon-structure molecules. It's easier to say that xanthones have been shown to be potent antioxidants and to inhibit inflammation.

The mangosteen fruit is believed to contain one of the highest concentrations of xanthones in any one edible source.

I'm not a scientist, I eat mangosteens because they taste so good.

Are you into exotic fruit?

Have you ever eaten a ....

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© 2008 Susanna Duffy

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    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      Ive never been brave enough to try Durian either. Just can't get past that stink!

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 4 years ago

      You are very brave to try Durian... I just can't bring myself to do it. I love Cherimoya... smooth, like custard. And passionfruit (which qualifies as exotic where I am from)

    • profile image

      Helene-Malmsio 5 years ago

      Why have I never seen a mangostein in the supermarket? I must try to find one. The other utterly delicious exotic tropical fruit that deserves a mention, because no one would guess it from the look of it is the Custard Apple - ugly looking sucker, but it has creamy sweet custard smothering its big seeds!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Durian smells so bad that they have banned people from taking it on an airplane in Asia. There is durian candy - and I avoid it like the plague. Can't get my head around the intensely smelly-ness. Although some people swear it tastes good... BUT - I love mangosteen. It is light fragrant, a bit like lychees. Yum!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Mango is as exotic as I get.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Looks interesting.

    • MadHaps LM profile image

      MadHaps LM 5 years ago

      Very enjoyable lens, I see you have done many. I'm just getting started with my lens 'Orchids of the Americas.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The fruits sound exotically intriguing & something I would enjoy trying but where do you buy them? They aren't in the stores in California. Do you have any special places to buy the?

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 5 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Oo, I'd love to try a mangosteen!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      I have a similar lens but didn't include any of these three. Good luck eating more fruit! Great lens.

    • profile image

      River_Rose 5 years ago

      I have never seen these fruits before.....I did the mangosteen juice before.... it was good.

      Enjoyed this lens !

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      These fruits certainly sound exotic, and I'm really tempted to try them all. Blessed

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I have eaten all three of these wonderful fruits. My favourite out of them is definitely Durian, which we buy frozen mostly from Woolies or the markets, but you can get fresh ones sometimes that are grown in the Northern Territory. My wife went to Thailand last year and said the durian there was incredible compared to here.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I have eaten all three of these wonderful fruits. My favourite out of them is definitely Durian, which we buy frozen mostly from Woolies or the markets, but you can get fresh ones sometimes that are grown in the Northern Territory. My wife went to Thailand last year and said the durian there was incredible compared to here.

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 5 years ago

      you make these fruits sound too tasty to be true!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Mangosteen is a fruit from heaven! The one advantage of living in a tropical country is that you will have abundant supply of fruits! Never tried a Durian though. Sound exotic for sure! :)

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like Durian, but the kids think it smells like dirty socks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very interesting! I watched a program once where this guy eats anything and everything, but he couldn't stomach a Durian. Ha ha! The smell turned him off, but he still tried a bite and got sick.

    • RetroMom profile image

      RetroMom 6 years ago

      Wow that Durian looks dangerous to eat :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I like your lense tittle..

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      love to eat durian with mangosteen.. but dont eat durian with water melon..your body heat will unbalance..

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      All three of my favourite fruits. But the best is still durian the king of fruits.

    • RoundTrip profile image

      RoundTrip 7 years ago

      Durian is nasty! Love mangosteen! Ever since I came back from Thailand I haven't been able to find any that aren't hard as rocks, it makes me sad.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 7 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      I've eaten all three, but mangosteen was the hands-down favorite among them. Durian is NOT a favorite. Yuck. But oddly, I love avocado which has often been compared to durian.

      DURIAN and MANGOSTEEN are both not in my spell check program. Ha ha! Come on speller, these are fruits!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      I'm not a big fruit eater, but I would love to at least try these.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I really, really want to have an opportunity to try these fruits -- some day!! Wonderful article.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      all these fruits are heaven. and FYI durian is indonesian/malay fruit as apparent from the name durian which means prickly. (duri means prick in indonesian)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Durian-taste like heaven but smells like hell. How to get rid of the smell? After finish eating it, rub the remaining seeds to your hands. And it is better to eat mangosteen after durian coz durian will make u feel hot inside and mangosteen will cool it down.

    • LetaRussell LM profile image

      LetaRussell LM 8 years ago

      Haven't tried the jackfruit yet, but the other two are definitely divine. You continue to come up with the most delicious lenses, Susanna. I always enjoy coming back to your list and checking out those I haven't read yet. And at the rate you are churning them out, it's hard to keep up!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image
      Author

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      [in reply to taryneast] Bewdy! Thanks for the tip!

    • taryneast profile image

      taryneast 8 years ago

      Great lens! I agree - Mangosteen are divine!

      But you didn't mention how to tell if a Mangosteen is ripe - I learned this is Thailand. If it's solid as a rock it's not ripe. You want one that has a peel that you can press your thumb into.

      Now I just wish I could get it here all year round!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 9 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Susanna, you are a wealth of information. I've never heard of any of them and now I want to try all three, even the smelly one! SquidAngel blessings on a very nice lens!