- Food and Cooking
Fruit I love and would love to try
I Love Fruit....
I have loved fruit and trying new types of fruit for as long as I can remember. Luckily, I live in the beautiful state of Hawaii, and the fruit I grew up with is considered exotic for most. Mangoes, Papayas, Sugarcane, Lychee (a.k.a. Litchi nuts as most know it), and Coconuts (to name a few) literally grew in my backyard - or in a neighbors.
I remember watching the food network when it had first debuted in early nineties and seeing a whole new world of fruit open up to me. It showed me brand new fruits I'd never even heard of and made me aware of fruits I had seen before but never tried. I'm creating this lens to share my experiences and gain insight on the fruits I want to try through other people's experiences.
Additionally, if any of you have some fruit you would like to recommend trying, I'm all ears!
Mangoes. Who doesn't love mangoes? I grew up with these delicious fruits and the way I love to eat them the most are fresh off the tree when only halfway ripe. We had two mango trees in our backyard and were always picking the fruit off it at all stages (much to my Grandmother's dismay).
Mangoes have a unique flavor, there is nothing else in the world that tastes like them (well, to me anyway). I love everything about them - the chewiness of its skin when ripe, their sweet and succulent juiciness, and even their fibrous texture (that more often then not gets caught in my teeth when eating them).
There were instances where there was an abundance of ripe fruit and my aunt made mango bread, but for the most part, we had them fresh when ripe or half-ripe or pickled in a red sugary brine (often with Ling Hi Mui) when still green (usually sold ice-cold on the side of the road here and called pickle mango). My brothers and I also ate a variation of it called shoyu mango that is made using soy sauce (using a specific brand that is popular in Hawaii called Aloha Shoyu). On a hot summer day, there is nothing quite like ice-cold pickle mango to refresh you!
Links to Mangoes and Mango Products
I personally prefer Hayden Mangoes because that is one of the types of trees we had growing in the back yard. Nevertheless, they are all equally delicious!
My friends and I like this brand, it tastes really natural to us - not soaked in sugar to make it sweet.
Papayas are another fruit that was common while I grew up - and even though we didn't have a tree, we always knew someone who did. The one most often grown in backyards or gardens are the yellow ones but the red fleshed variety are also widely cultivated here as well.
The ripe fruit was a quick breakfast at times and we would often use the unripe fruit in a similar manner as one would use squash. My family is Filipino, so chicken papaya was a dish that was made and consumed often. There is also a salad dressing that is made using the seeds as well.
Some links to Papaya products
Some links to Papaya products
Its nice to not have to reach for the fruit or use a picker.
I love sugar cane! I don't recall how young I was when I tried it, but I can't think of a time when I didn't love it. My grandmother would take my brothers and I to church on Sundays and the house next to the church had a big, beautiful patch of thick purple sugarcane. We would often pay for twisting the stalk we wanted away from the patch (courtesy of the fine needle-like hairs near the leaves) but the sweet and refreshing juice made it worth it. These days, when I want a sugar cane fix I usually just get some from my aunt's job or buy it from the swap meet (flea market) at aloha stadium.
Links to My favorite Sugar Cane Products
My particular favorite, the purple variety
Lychee, Rambutan, and Longan
Although I can't remember the very first time I'd had this, I have fond memories of my Aunt's old landlord in Wahiawa that had a tree in front of his house. He was sweet and generous and always made a point to to share the fruit on his tree with my aunt and I (I'm pretty sure it was mostly for me though, LOL). Lychee has a wonderful and delicate sweet-tart floral flavor that I feel is best enjoyed fresh and chilled. The stuff in the cans are fine if you've had it before, but nothing compares to fruit that is fresh off the tree. I recommend that people try them fresh first before resorting to canned fruit. When its lychee season, the trees are brimming with fresh fruit and many tree owners sell their excess either at the swap meet or on the side of the road.
They've even started to flavor vodka and other spirits with the delicate taste of lychee as well!
Rambutans are similar to lychee in flavor profile but are not as juicy (one of my ex-husbands said it tasted like a grape to him).They resemble lychee, but have a "hairy" looking skin. It might look sharp, but the hairy thornlike protrusions surrounding the fruit are very soft and are easily peeled away with the fingers. Of these three fruits, rambutan would be ranked third as a favorite choice.
Longans are tiny brown fruits that grow in clusters like lychee do. They have a similar texture to rambutans, but are juicier. The taste is similar to that of a lychee, but is sometimes sweeter, without the tang that you get from lychee. Longan is also called "dragon's eye" because the small fruit looks like an eyeball when peeled.
My favorite lychee, rambutan, and longan products
I love Melissa's, they have such a wide variety of fruit (especially those considered exotic) and that helped provide me a taste of home when I lived stateside.
There is nothing like the taste of fresh lychees. Its addicting!
The smell of lychee is a unique - both floral and fruity, yet very light. It makes for a wonderful perfume.
I love fresh longan. Not nearly as juicy as lychee, but just as delicious!
When one pictures Hawaii in their heads, they think white sandy beaches and coconut trees. Well, at least that's what I've heard folks say LOL. I'm from here, so I get a completely different mental picture, but the coconut does remind me of home, no matter where I am.
If I had to rank my favorite fruit and only choose one, the coconut would be it. As far back as I can remember, I have been consuming coconuts. My father is Hawaiian and my mother is Samoan - but it was my Samoan aunt who spent the most time with me when I was growing up and who first introduced me to coconuts. Some of my earliest memories involve her husking the fruit, emptying the water in a cup to give to me, and scooping out the half ripe meat for me into a bowl to enjoy while drinking the water. Sometimes, we would get the mature brown nuts and grate the meat to make coconut milk or to just enjoy shredded. There were times where we would get a rare treat after cracking a mature nut open - a soft, crisp, and spongy coconut growing inside the coconut (this was my particular favorite).
I also love deserts made from this, especially haupia (a coconut pudding that is chilled and cut into squares - available at the luaus here) and faausi (a Samoan treat that tastes like coconut and caramel).
There is a craze going on now with coconut water and its sports beverage like qualities. I do enjoy some of the brands out there, but its always a hit or miss because the fruit was harvested too young, and it doesn't always have the taste I'm looking for. Personally, I prefer the taste of the water from nuts that are a but yellow, when the fruit is starting to mature, not the young green ones. Its all a matter of taste though. Check the products below for some of my favorites.
My favorite coconut products
You'll notice I post a lot of Melissa's products. I often find that this brand had a great deal of fruit that I love and would like to try.
Harmless Harvest is my favorite brand of coconut water. It is very expensive, but it has the most true taste - as if you just got it out of the nut! Don't worry if its pink, the pink ones taste wonderful too! If you try this, be warned - you may not ever want to drink the other stuff you've had before ever again!!!
I love this brand. Twice the bang for your buck!
In Hawaii, the wax jambu is called mountain apple. I have loved this fruit since first trying it as a toddler, and could easily get it because there was a tree in my aunt's backyard. Some common names are rosewater apple or rose apple. The fruit does have a rose-like aroma and its taste is very floral - almost like eating a flower (as described by a friend of mine who tried it for the first time). be sure to pluck them off the tree when they are a deep red, you get them any earlier and they can be a bit bitter.
Mountain Apple Videos
Fruit I want to try....
I first heard about this fruit when I was browsing through a liquor store if you'll believe it. The fruit is used to make a cream liquor called Amarula. I loved the taste of the liquor, so naturally, I tried to find what kind of fruit flavored the tasty drink.
After a chat with a friend of mine about fruit, I was browsing through the net when I came across this fruit. I had tried other sapote fruits, but not this one in particular. The say that it has a flavor profile that is similar to chocolate with a creamy texture - and while I don't particularly care for chocolate, I was curious to see what it tasted like. I am sure it grows around here somewhere, and have been searching to try and find it on island. If not, I think I may have to try and get some shipped to me.
Since I first saw this fruit while browsing the net, I've longed to try it. I even went to a nursery and brought a tree, but alas - I have more of a black thumb than a green one and I've managed to kill every plant I've owned (although, truth be told - it wasn't my fault sometimes). It is described as having a sweet and tart cherry like flavor and is said to contain more vitamin c than an orange!
In Hawaii, the cape gooseberry is called the Poha berry. Some other common names for this fruit are golden berry and giant ground cherry. I had no idea this grew here on the islands, and had never heard about it until a few years ago. Unfortunately for me it is more abundant in the island of Hawaii (I live on the island of Oahu). I look forward to sampling this one day though, fresh from a fruiting plant. If I get really desperate, I'll attempt to grow it, but I'm more likely to kill it than grow it LOL.
Cape Gooseberry (Poha Berry) Videos
I first heard about this nut when watching Bizzare Foods on the travel channel. In the segment, Andrew Zimmerman had a dessert in Brazil that was made from this nut. It is said to taste just like a coconut, perhaps even stronger, since the flavor is concentrated into the small nut. I've been dying to try it since (I really LOVE coconut). I think it grows here in Hawaii, and I've seen the tree before, but if worse comes to worse and I can't locate a tree, I'll be ordering from Melissa's LOL.
Shows the tree and lists the similarities and differences from the coconut. Very informative.
I'll be trying these if I can't find any trees on island.
The first time I heard the name of this fruit I giggled. It sounds like it was made up by a toddler, you know? This fruit grows directly off the trunk and looks like grapes, but can be as big as plum in the right growing conditions. There is a tough outer rind that surrounds the gelatinous white flesh, said to taste similar to grapes. There are trees that are sold here in Hawaii, but it can take anywhere from 5 to 20 years for trees to fruit - and I'm more likely to kill my plant than propagate it LOL. Still, if I work up the nerve to try and cultivate my green thumb, I will definitely give this a go.
Some informative videos about Jaboticaba
Any and all comments welcome... if you have something you'd recommend me trying, I'm all for it as well!