Home > Fruit Basics > Unusual Fruits from Around the World

Unusual Fruits from Around the World

By: Elizabeth Hinds - Updated: 1 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Unusual Fruit Physalis Dragon Fruit

Today as the world seems to get smaller, we’re seeing more and more unusual fruits in our supermarkets and specialist greengrocers. We take a quick look at some of those unusual fruits gaining in popularity: physalis, dragon fruit, sharon fruit and ugli fruit.

Physalis

With its heart-shaped papery outer covering over a bright golden ‘bulb’, it’s easy to understand why physalis fruits are sometimes called Chinese Lanterns.

Also known as Cape Gooseberry, physalis originated in Brazil. It was known in England in the eighteenth century, and soon spread around the world, via Africa, Australia and the Hawaiian islands before reaching north America.

The fruits are produced in late summer and have a sweet-and-sour taste. They’ve been described as a cross between a tomato and a gooseberry. When ripe they can be eaten raw or added to fruit salads; they also make good sorbets and wine.

Chef Lesley Waters suggests a quick jam to serve with freshly made scones. Cut 8 physalis fruits in half and place in a saucepan with 1 oz butter, 2 oz caster sugar and 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial. Boil gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool before serving with clotted cream.

Dragon Fruit

The dragon fruit is a relative newcomer to our supermarkets and greengrocers. A hand-sized oval that’s bright pinky-red in colour, with a few scales (leaves) on its sides, it does bear a striking resemblance to our idea of a picture-book dragon.

It seems to have originated a long time ago in Central or South America. The Aztecs certainly knew about it: dragon fruit is mentioned in some of their writings, going back to the thirteenth century. Today it’s spread and is cultivated in warm countries all over the world.

The fruit of a cactus, a dragon fruit’s flesh is watery, slightly sweet and very mild. It may be white or purple and dotted with tiny seeds. It works best when combined with mango or made into a sorbet with other tropical fruits. Scoop the flesh out of the non-edible skin using a teaspoon. Try mixing it with thick Greek yoghurt, fruity muesli, and honey for a lazy Saturday breakfast.

Sharon Fruit

Sharon fruit is the trade name for a seedless variety of persimmon that was originally grown on, and named after, the Sharon Plain in Israel. The fruit varies in colour through all shades of orange from a pale yellowy to a rich red. They’re high in vitamin A and one Sharon fruit will give you your day’s requirement of vitamin C. And twice as much fibre as an apple!

Most persimmons have a high astringent quality and will leave your mouth dry if you try to eat one that isn’t soft enough, however Sharon fruit can be eaten, like a peach, when firm. When very ripe and soft the flesh will be a thick jelly-like pulp. They can be eaten fresh, cooked or made into a smoothie. Try adding chopped firm Sharon fruit to salads, rather like tomatoes, or blend soft ones with yogurt or double cream for a fool.

Ugli Fruit

Somebody really needs to rethink the name of this grapefruit/tangerine cross. It might be an accurate description of the fruit with its rough blotchy skin but it doesn’t make it very appealing to today’s brand-conscious public!

Said to have been found originally growing wild in Jamaica, the ugli fruit is now cultivated in both Jamaica and Florida. It has the easy-peel benefit of the tangerine while being closer to the size of a grapefruit. The taste varies from slightly sharp to sweet.

Peel and use as you would oranges or grapefruit: eat as it is, for breakfast or in fruit salads, or juice for a refreshing drink at any time of day.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Hello i was wondering if you could find out about the ugli fruit cause it wud be good for school research
WeeHiggy - 23-Sep-12 @ 9:57 PM
Trying to find a delicious tasting fruit which I ate in Israel recently. Is a similar shape to a flattened out medium size banana, very dark colour about 1.5 cms thick and has very hard stones inside about every 5 cms which can do serious damage to your teeth. It has the flavour of a sweet banana and a pleasant texture. Can you tell me what the name is and where I could find some in England as I can't find any in Leeds, been in all the Asian and caribean shops. Thankyou Doug Brown.
billy - 29-Jun-12 @ 10:12 AM
Hi there, Am looking for importers of unusual fruits all around the world to import from me Aframomum fruits. These fruits has very high levels of minerals and can help reverse many sexual related problems.
kadala - 3-Jun-12 @ 7:02 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Joe
    Re: Cherry Trees
    I have a cherry tree in my garden called MARILO. Is it edible, if so is it sweet or sour
    18 December 2018
  • Joe
    Re: Cherry Trees
    My wife purchased a cherry tree called MARILO and never recorded what type it was before she passed away. Could you tell me if it is edible and if so…
    18 December 2018
  • Dekzion
    Re: Growing Goji Berries
    We've had the standard red Goji for years, it's in full sun, just one plant, never gets pruned (unless there's bits sticking out and get in…
    16 December 2018
  • gordan
    Re: Growing Avocados
    hello to you, i,m growing up to 20 avocado's but one of them as some leave starting to go brown why is that it gets good feed wone's a week but…
    12 December 2018
  • Beth
    Re: The Health Benefits of Eating Fruit
    I think fruits and vegetables are really healthy and that everyone should eat it or at least eat whichever fruits or…
    7 November 2018
  • Pottie
    Re: Growing Avocados
    My avo trees have been moved indoors and are doing well buy looks like someting is having a feed on it at night and then the leaves turn brown. I…
    3 November 2018
  • Katrina
    Re: Growing Berries
    Why are blackberry bushes flowering in October. Would be grateful if you could tell me the answer. Thanks Katrina
    26 October 2018
  • Trullimad
    Re: Plum Trees
    I bought a mature plum tree from a nursery a year ago. I say "mature" because its trunk is approx. 8 inches in diameter. It produced one plum this summer…
    15 October 2018
  • Mana
    Re: Orange Trees
    About a year ago we bought a house in Scottsdale, AZ where there is an orange tree.Last season there were many oranges on the ground with a hole on…
    2 October 2018
  • Kaycee
    Re: Growing Grapes
    Please I would like to know if there are Nigerian grape farmers here and I'll like to meet you. Thanks.
    29 September 2018