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Unique Fruits

Dragon fruit is a beautiful fruit grown in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, and Israel. The plant is actually a type of cactus, and the fruit comes in 3 colors: 2 have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, the other red), while another type is yellow with white flesh.

Select ripe fruit. Dragon fruit should be bright red or pink in color. Like a kiwi or a peach, it tastes best when it's fully ripe.

o Press the flesh of the dragon fruit. If it has a little give, it's probably ripe. If it's too soft, that means it's overripe, and the texture won't be as good. If it's quite hard, give it a few days before you eat it. o Avoid fruit that has dark blotches or bruises, brown dry spots, or dry spines.

High in vitamin C, they are rich in phosphorus and calcium and are free radical fighters known to contain phytoalbumin antioxidants and also have been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Best served chilled, I like to make melon balls from them. You eat the flesh and seeds inside skin by cutting the fruit in half first. The flavor is mild and refreshing - a cross between a kiwi and watermelon.

This intensely colorful fruit is packed with all kinds of healthy nutrients. Rich in antioxidants, the benefits attributed to dragon fruit include acting as a cancer preventative, preventing memory loss, reducing blood glucose levels, lowering blood pressure, and preventing the formation of carcinogenic free-radicals (I say lock up the radicals). It isalso packed with vitamin C.

A bit bland in taste, yet custard like on its own, when mixed with yogurt and a sweet fruit such as strawberries, dragon fruit becomes a rich tasting healthy dessert.

Simply cut the fruit in half, scoop the white flesh out with a spoon; then pop it into the blender. Now add some fresh strawberries and one to one and a half cups of vanilla yogurt. Try usingGreek yogurt for a thicker consistency. Blend it quickly. For an impressive presentation pour it back into the hallowed out shell.

The final taste is sweet, rich, and custard-like.

Star Fruit Carambola

The star fruit or carambola (Averrhoa carambola*) is a unique tropical fruit that is gaining popularity in the United States. This fruit acquired its name from the five pointed star shape** when cut across the middle of the fruit (occasionally 4 or 6 ribbed fruit may occur). The 3 to 5 inch long fruit has a paper-thin thin, translucent, waxy, yellow-orange to green skin with tart crisp flesh. Star fruit range in taste from pleasantly tart and sour to slightly sweet with a complicated flavor combination that includes plums, pineapples, and lemons. The fruit is juicy and crunchy, and may be eaten skin, seeds and all or used as a garnish, in salads and in relishes and preserves. When used in cooking, green fruit are frequently used for their sourness. The juicy flesh is mostly water and does not hold up well when heated.

Two varieties are found in markets, one sour and the other slightly sweet. Their flavor is sometimes described as like a cross between an apple and a grape.

Star fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, is low fat, and naturally sodium and cholesterol free. A small whole star fruit will provide approximately 2/3 cup sliced.

Selection

Select firm, shiny skinned, even colored fruit. Star fruits will ripen at room temperature and have lightly brown edges on the ribs and a full fruity aroma when ripe. Avoid purchasing fruit with brown, shriveled ribs. This delicious fruit is also available dried.

Storage

Star fruit bruise easily, so handle with care. Non-ripe fruit should be turned often, until they are yellow in color and ripe with light brown ribs. Store ripe star fruits at room temperature for two to three days or unwashed, and refrigerated, in a plastic bag for up to one to two weeks.

Preparation & Use

Star fruits are great to eat out of hand as these tropical delights do not need to be peeled or seeded before eating. Simply wash the fruit, remove any blemished areas, cut crosswise to get the star shape, and eat.

Kiwano Horned Melon

A member of the cucumber family and not of the kiwi family. Looks like an oval melon with horns and is very decorative. Picked green, the Kiwano Horned Melon tastes like a mix of lemon and banana. It is a tropical fruit so it cannot be stored in the refrigerator.

Once grown only in New Zealand, Kiwano Melons are now grown in California as well. Consumers are drawn to these intriguing, yet versatile tropical fruits whose look easily captures attention. The spiky, orange colored shells of Kiwano Melons encase a soft, succulent bright green flesh. Kiwano Melons are mild in flavor and similar in taste to juicy, seed-filled cucumbers. Once peeled, Kiwano Melons can be tossed in fresh fruit salads or served as a garnish with roasted meats.

Seasonality

Available year-round.

Selection & Storage: Ripe Horned Melons will have a bright orange shell. Avoid any bruising or soft spots. No need to refrigerate. The seeds are edible. Kiwano Melon shells can be used as unique serving bowls for soups, sorbets and desserts. Cut in half and scoop out the translucent jelly-like flesh to create these unique serving bowls.

How to Eat a Kiwano Horned Melon

Instructions

Make sure your Kiwano Horned Melon is ripe. Look for a golden orange color with no bruises or cuts in the rind.

Cut open your Kiwano Melon either vertically or horizontally. Use a spoon to scoop out and eat the gelatinous center and the seeds.

Recipes

Other recipes from Produce Pete.

   

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