Test Your Exotic Fruit IQ!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Elizabeth Brion

You've probably seen them in the produce section: an array of intriguingly shaped and colored fruits that might taste like anything, really. Perhaps you've tried some of them already; perhaps you were dissuaded by the price, or the mystery, or both. We're here to help with at least a few of them. Expanding your palate beyond bananas, citrus, and apples is a great way to add variety to your diet—and a fun way to keep your grocery store's cashiers on their toes! See if you can match each name with the fruit's description.
  1. Jackfruit: Spiky yellow fruit weighing up to 50 lbs. When ripe, this fruit boasts a sweet, mild taste that's sometimes compared to banana bubble gum—and it also boasts an unsettling stench (emanating from the outside part, so hold your nose and dig in). The young green fruit is so mild that it's gaining popularity among vegetarian chefs as a meat substitute. No, seriously—it works. The seeds of the jackfruit are edible and nutritious as well.
  2. Mangosteen: Small, purple-skinned fruit with opaque white flesh. People get excited about mangosteens (no relation to mangoes). Really excited. For instance, some believe that the fruit prevents many diseases. Wouldn't that be great? I think it's appropriate to use this 1878 quote from traveler T.W.K. to sum it up: "It has a taste which nobody can describe any more than he can tell how a canary sings or a violet smells, and I know of nothing more forcible than the statement of a Yankee skipper who pronounced the mangosteen the 'bang-upest fruit' he had ever seen."
  3. Ugli fruit: Discolored, wrinkled, oddly shaped citrus fruit. Yeah, that one was kind of a given, wasn't it? Although the term "ugli fruit" is used generically, the nice people at Cabel Hall Citrus Ltd. would like you to know it's really UGLI® fruit. It's a tangy, juicy variety of tangelo—and yes, it got its name exactly the way you think it did.
  4. African cucumber: Horned yellow fruit with bright-green, seedy pulp. Some people describe the flavor of this impressive-looking fruit with words like banana, tropical fruit, and lime. Others mention cucumbers and grass. Perhaps this indicates that African cucumbers vary. Perhaps it indicates that people vary. Either way, you've got a guarantee with this one; if you don't like the lime-Jell-O–looking insides, you can make a spectacular centerpiece out of the rind.
  5. Soursop: Pinecone-like green-skinned fruit with creamy white pulp. The flesh of this fruit tastes like a sourer cross between strawberry and banana and is most often described as "refreshing." But there's a catch—that delicious pulp is studded with 50 to 100 seeds, and they're not easy to remove. For that reason, this fruit is most often found in juice and ice cream rather than whole. If you're patient and like having something to do with your hands, though, the whole-fruit experience can be well worth the effort.