Choosing the top 5 exotic fruits is a challenge since which variables do you use for judging? Sure a fruit has to taste great, but there are other factors at work, like other uses they may have. On the flip side questions as to whether they are impossible to collate or eat easily, then surely this is a deduction? Well we opted for a simple and yet effective criteria:
1. How good it tastes
2. What else is good about it
3. What to watch out for
With that in mind we searched through all the photos of the fruits we tried, and we really did try most out there. Any time we came across a fruit we had not seen before we embarked on trying it and persuading the market seller to show us how the locals ate it. This avoids potential problems likes the “prickly pear incident”, where I began rubbing off the hairs before eating one. I suddenly realised they are highly irritating and gained a very uncomfortable itch, plus swollen hands for a few days after. Lesson learnt!
So without further ado the top 5 in reverse order…
The top 5 exotic fruit from around the world
How good does it taste? Pretty damn sweet. There are two varieties. In Brazil this is called “mole” (soft) and “dura” (hard). We preferred mole as it is sweeter, creamier and more intense. It is a very rich white-yellow coloured fruit that is sweet and yet has an earthen undertone.
What else is good about it? Well just about everything. They can grow so large that one can weight 10kg. One of ours fed 8 people until they were stuffed and the fruit had not been finished! On top of this one tree can grown loads of Jackfruit, making it a solid food source where they are available and are cheap as a result. The skin gives off a white glue that literally can be used as wallpaper paste. The seeds inside the Jackfruit can be boiled, skinned and then crushed with garlic and oil to make Jackfruit houmous.
What to watch out for? Anything you use to cut Jackfruit is rendered useless because of the glue and the spines at pretty aggressive, especially when dropped on toes with their inherent weight.
How good does it taste? Similar to lychees and dragonballs, but with more fruit and less seed. They are really juicy and refreshing. The perfect balance between sweet and sharp that makes them incredibly addictive. The bite sized portion is also massively useful.
What else is good about it? They just look really cool! I am sure toys and the bouncing ornaments in cars were based on Rambutan!?
What to watch out for? Nothing except kids trying to steal them from you.
3. Custard apple fruit
How good does it taste? Like a blob of custard and a sweet, golden delicious apple have been blasted together in a Hadron collider. The net result is the creamiest fruit we have ever tasted.
What else is good about it? Not a whole lot, but the fact that the fruit is built like scales, with small segments overlapping each other. This makes eating a custard apple fruit very therapeutic.
What to watch out for? The segments can fall apart easily, especially when really ripe. This makes the custard apple a poor packed lunch companion.
2. Cashew fruit
How good does it taste? Incredible. It is so hard to describe how amazing cashew fruit is to eat. It is also in fact better and more commonly drank as a juice. It is a cream colour, thick and very sticky. It has a kind of slight perfume flavour and errr tastes like the definition of exotic fruit itself!
What else is good about it? Surely the fact that the cashew tree also produces one of the world’s favourite nuts counts for a lot?
What to watch out for? The problem with cashew is that the seed (cashew nut) is encased in a skin that is packed full of acid strong enough to burn the skin on your hands. This acid often rubs off on the skin of the fruit, so it must be washed thoroughly. The fruit is also very delicate and bruises easily, which makes it decompose quickly also.
1. Cacao fruit
How good does it taste? Intensely sweet. Perhaps the sweetest, stickiest thing I have ever tried. No wonder it is called cacao nectar. The fruit is actually the thin sack that surrounds the cacao (the very same seed that makes all the chocolate in the world) seed. After the seeds have been removed from the pod, a press squeezed the seeds to extract as much of the juice as possible. The result is a very thick and sickly-sweet honey-like juice. It is immense in how rich it is and the after taste just keeps on giving! This is one for people with a sweet tooth or in need of a hit of energy.
It is incredible that the vast majority of people do not realise that there is a fruit that comes from the same plant that gives them chocolate, especially one that tastes so intense and incredible. A clear winner.
What else is good about it? Chocolate!
What to watch out for? The black and highly poisonous banana leaf spider that loves hiding in fallen leaf matter, including discarded cacao pods…