Exotic Fruits

I was walking around my local outlet mall when I noticed a fruit stand. Most of the time these types of stands have your typical fruits, such as strawberries or oranges. This stand surprised me however. A number of exotic fruits were being sold, and I had to try some. I picked up some jackfruit, dragon fruit and rambutan nephelium lappaceum (although that sounds like a spell a witch may use to turn you into a frog, its similar to a lychee berry.)

This a jack fruit before its cut!

This a jack fruit before its cut!

The jackfruit is the first, and the oddest one I bought. The jackfruit comes from South and South East Asia, and is believed to originate in India. The jackfruit can weigh up to 80 pounds, making it the largest fruit any tree produces! As interesting as that is, the health benefits are even better! 1 serving of jackfruit (3.5oz) is about 95 calories, and is a good source of vitamin C, providing about 13mg. The seeds of the Jackfruit are rich in protein, and you can boil them so they’re edible. Fun fact about jackfruit is that its the flavoring Juicy Fruit Gum uses!

The preparation for the jackfruit is pretty easy. If you get a whole jackfruit, (which usually can be bought in pre-cut slices) cut the whole fruit into watermelon like slices. The next step is to remove the spine of the fruit. This spine is a grayish colored part of the fruit, and unlike a typical spine, its rather soft and squishy! Once the spine is removed, there will be the initial set of seeds to remove. I found that just using your finger to push them out is the best method. After that, cut the fruit up and remove any white on the fruit, this is a sap and doesn’t taste too good! In the end you should be left with a fruit looking something like an orange pepper.
Dragon fruit before its cut.

Dragon fruit before its cut.

The next fruit I tried was the dragon fruit! From the outside the dragon fruit looks intimidating, with vibrant colors and spiny looking leaves. However, on the inside its a whole different story. The dragon fruit, low in calories and sugar, is a great source of antioxidants.

 

The dragon fruit with a part scooped out

The dragon fruit with a part scooped out

I compared the texture of the fruit to a kiwi, which is also how you prepare it. The first step is cutting the fruit in half, to expose its magenta insides. Then I used a spoon to scoop the inner part out.

Lychee berries in a basket

Rambutan in a basket

The lychee berry after part of it's shell has been removed.

The rambutan berry after part of it’s shell has been removed.

The final fruit I tried was the Rambutan. This type of berry may look sharp like a sea urchin, but in reality, each of those “spines” are actually little hairs! Rambutan are about 80 calories every 3.5oz. Like other types of citrus fruits, rambutan berries are a great source of vitamin C. 3.5oz of rambutan is a good source of natural sugars, fibers and they also have B-complex vitamins that help the body break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Rambutan are pretty easy to eat, like oranges, the berries are peel and eat fruits. Just watch out for the pit in the middle!

This post just goes to show you not to judge anything by its looks. I’m sure most people would walk right past these fruits in a super market or green market. I know I used to do it, after learning about the health benefits and how good all of these oddities taste, I know I’ll be getting more soon! If you have any exotic or unusual fruits you like, leave a comment with what its called and where you can get it! You can also leave a comment on my @JourneyToSpartan Instagram or tweet to me @Journey2Spartan!

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