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How many kinds of fruit do you think exists in this world? Most of us think we know, or at least have heard of, the majority of the different types that exist here on earth.  You can find most of them at the grocery store, right?  It may surprise you to know that our beautiful blue planet supports a wide variety that many Americans have never even seen. That is why we at Dish have compiled a list of bizarre and exotic, but also delicious fruits from around the world, with flavors suggesting chocolate, cucumber, or an unusual mixture of common fruits we eat every day.

Rambutan

 Native to the Malay Archipelago, the rambutan gets its name from the Malay word for “hairy”.  Like something from another planet, this fruit's outer skin is covered in long, hair-like barbs that must be removed to get to the sweet pulp.  The taste is similar to that of a grape, a little bit sweet and a little bit sour.  It is also described as having a tender, fleshy texture, much different than its outer appearance would have you believe.

Carambola

ARambutanlso known as “star fruit”, the Carambola is usually lined with five ridges, which gives it a star-like shape when sliced.  This uniquely shaped fruit comes from the Phillipeans and other surrounding Southeast Asian countries, as well as  Latin America, the Carribean, and even Florida.  It's flavor is almost as unique as its shape, offering a sweet taste suggesting a cross between pears, grapes, apples, and citrus fruit.  The benefits of star fruit make it a healthy choice, as it's loaded with Vitamin C and Potassium. It also makes a delicious and exotic wine, which might not be as healthy, but surely is delicious.Carambola

African Horned Cucumber

This unusual fruit has both a strange shape and unusual taste.  Its outer skin is yellow and spiky, earning it the nick name “blowfish fruit”.  Once you crack this alien fruit's shell open, you will find a lime green colored and juicy fruit on the inside that tastes like a combination of zucchini and cucumber.  Though it's not as sweet as some of the other fruits on our list, it's jam-packed with essential nutrients, such as Vitamin C and fiber. Though it's obviously native to Africa, this fruit has been successfully cultivation from Australia to Chile.African Horned Cucumber

Durian

This thorny husked fruit hails from Southeast Asia, where it’s known as the “king of fruits.” Along with its spiky shell, its formidable size (up to a foot in length) can make it seem like quite a daunting snack. Famed Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace described the pulp's flavor as a “rich custard highly flavored with almonds.” Sounds delicious, don’t you think? Although it’s described as the “king of fruits,” most people describe its odor as pungent- somewhere between body odor and old onions. To each his own, I guess.

Cherimoya

To look at an uncracked Cherimoya, you might think it was some sort of large nut. But once you crack it open, you'll be surprised to Duriansmell a delicious, sweet, and candy-like aroma.  Mark Twain once called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to man”. This could be because the taste is likened to that of bubble gum (yeah, the pink stuff) or sometimes as a mixture between pineapple and banana.  Though it's native to the Andes, this deceptively sweet fruit thrives in Mediterranean climates. It even seems to do well in the coastal climate of California.

Miracle Fruit

These dark pink berries are one of the most interesting fruits on our list.  Though they themselves are not very sweet, they have the unique ability to make sour fruit juice taste sweet. It’s a miracle, actually, because when you mix the juices together, the juice from the miracle fruit actually makes anything sour taste sweet. This happens because of a molecule called miraculin, which when eaten reconfigures the shape of sweetness receptors on human taste buds. Imagine making lemonade without sugar? That’s the reason  why it has been dubbed a “miracle” fruit.Miracle Fruit

AquajefruitAquajefruit

This dark red, scaly fruit can be found in the Amazon. The red scales must be peeled away to reach the yellow-orange pulp inside, which is sometimes done by scraping the fruit with one’s bottom teeth.  This exotic fruit it is a good source of vitamins A and C, and has many uses other than food. The pulp has been known to treat burns when mashed into a spreadable consistency. It is also commonly fermented into a delicious wine. 

Jackfruit

Have you ever heard of the largest tree-grown fruit in the world? Well, you have now.  The jackfruit is a large, oval shaped melon that can grow as long as 3 feet and weigh as much as 80 pounds! Originating in the southwest rainforests of India, this fruit has been cultivated for 6,000 years.  Though the pulp is gooey, and has a strong odor, climate researchers suggest this fruit could be an alternative to wheat and corn as a primary food source for the earth’s growing population. Jackfruit boasts impressive durability against pests and drought. Also a plus is its massive size.Jackfruit

Cupuaço

This is what happens when mother nature mixes fruit and chocolate- you are welcome, mankind! Related to cacao (chocolate), this sweet fruit gives off a chocolate-suggesting fragrance.  Its juice is said to Capuacotaste primarily pear-like with a hint of banana, and is often used in smoothies and desserts in Central and South America. This tropical tree can be found in rain forests throughout the Amazon Basin, and is widely cultivated in Columbia, Bolivia and Peru.  And because of  Cupuaço's ability to hydrate skin, this unique fruit is often a featured ingredient in various lotions and other beauty products.

So people, the world is full of delicious and healthy surprises! So don’t be a chicken and do what we here at Dish did- go to the specialty stores in your area that features food and vegetables from around the world, and give them a try. We promise, you’ll be in for some (very) special culinary surprises. And if you discover something extra extraordinary, let us know, and we’ll share your finds with the Dish audience, and credit YOU for the favor! E-mail us at Dishmagstaff@gmail.com  and thanks.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 191 - July 2017
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