We’re all trying to eat healthfully, the optimal word is ‘trying,’ but sometimes trying to fit in our daily recommended allowance of fruits and vegetables can be just too, well, boring. I mean how many apples or bananas can a person eat?
Moderately active women of 30 years of age and moderately active men of all ages need 2 cups of fruit per day according to the Food and Drug Administration. While this isn’t a large intake, most of us just grab the usual banana, as mentioned, and go about our day. Luckily, there are a plethora of exotic fruit choices out there that will get you excited about fulfilling your FDA fruit requirements and might even motivate you to search out more tantalizing vegetables (gasp!) to round out your daily nutritional needs.
Here are 10 exotic fruit alternatives that will provide much needed nutrition while adding something different to your “usual” regimen:
1. Buddha’s Hand – Turn away from the common navel orange and instead try some Buddha’s hand citrus fruit. It really does look a lot like a bright orange hand with fingers – makes me think of Cheetos actually…
2. Carambola – Try starting your day with a carambola (aka starfruit), a pretty star-shaped fruit that also compliments poultry, seafood or meat.
3. Cherimoya – How about a cherimoya or custard apple with a custard-like texture and flavor reminiscent of pineapple, papaya and banana?
4. Durian – If the smell doesn’t deter you (and it very well may, as it is described as “a mix of pig feces, turpentine and onions garnished with gum sock…”), you can hack into another custard-like fruit, the durian, a native to Malaysia and Indonesia.
5. Guava – A bit more pedestrian in that most people have heard of it, is the guava. Native to the Caribbean, guava trees are now cultivated in Florida and California for their tropical strawberry/lemon flavors.
6. Jackfruit – Looking very similar to durian but without the deadly odor, is the jackfruit. The jackfruit tree bears the largest tree borne fruit and is the national fruit of Bangladesh.
7. Lychee – Lychee fruit anyone? Lychees are ancient Chinese fruits more commonly found in a can in the United States. The creamy white fruit has a sweet flavor akin to grapes with a hint of cherry.
8. Mango – Mangos are now fairly easy to find year round and are used in everything from drinks and desserts to salsas and salad dressings.
9. Mangosteen – Admittedly difficult to find unless you reside in the Moluccas (Indonesia) or the Sunda Islands is the mangosteen. Low in calories but extremely sweet, the mangosteen fruit is dark red or purple with brilliantly white flesh.
10. Papaya – Like mangos, papayas have gone mainstream. High in vitamin A and C, papaya fruit pairs beautifully with meats, fish and poultry dishes as well as being delicious eaten out of hand.
Now that you’re psyched about the many varieties of exotic fruits out there, don’t stop with this list. Try the aptly named snake fruit, the colorful dragon fruit or langsat, which when uncut looks like a small russet potato, but when eaten a mix of grapes, bananas and grapefruit flavors unfold.