Exotic Fruits

Full frame of various fresh fruits, close up

In Western culture, we often of fruits as common fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, and pears. After all, these are plants that people have been eating and trading for a very long time, so they have naturally become an ingrained part of our culture. However, there are many rare and exotic fruits that people are not aware of, or have not had much opportunity to try. Some of these include acai berries, tamarind, longan, jackfruit, passion fruit, papayas, lychees,and star fruit. These foreign fruits are usually grown and eaten in Asia or South America, so Western countries have not had very much exposure to these fruits.

Longans, lychees, starfruits, jackfruits–how many exotic fruits can you name?

Some of these fruits have many health benefits. For example, acai berries, which are tropical fruits that come from trees in Central and South America, are very high in powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants help defend the body against toxins that can cause serious physical harm, and recently, the acai berry has become very popular in America, in the form of smoothies or special drinks. Another exotic fruit that has many health benefits is the passion fruit, which is widely grown in southern Asia and South America. Passion fruit juice is a very good source of Vitamin C, which helps the immune system. People who have high blood pressure might also find that passion fruit can help keep their blood pressure at safe levels.

Southern Asia is the home of many exotic fruits such as longan, lychee, jackfruit, and star fruit. Interestingly enough, the cross-section of a star fruit yields a perfect star, hence its name. Many of these fruits may be foreign to the Western eye, but they are unusually unique and interesting, like the aforementioned star fruit and the passion fruit. On the other hand, though, fruits like the papaya and the tamarind might look plain or nondescript, but they have exotic and wonderful tastes. These fruits are uncommon in Western culture, but they can usually be found at farmer’s markets, or in international grocery stores, like those that can often be found in a regional Chinatown. You may also be able to find them at a local grocery store, though they may cost more than typical produce, since they must be imported from farther away.

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