These wonderful exotic fruits are not only healthy and delicious ones – they do have interesting and helpful medicinal properties!
The Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a subtropical evergreen fruit tree native to China. It was introduced into Japan possibly a thousand years ago, and reach California in the 1870’s. Today, loquat trees are also grown in many countries including Mexico, Portugal. Brazil, India, Pakistan, Australia, France, Italy, Israel, Egypt and other Mediterranean countries.
The fruits growing in clusters, are oval about 2.5-5 cm long having smooth yellow or orange skin. The sweet and juicy pulp comes in white, yellow or orange depending on the cultivar. The taste is like a cross between a passion fruit and a guava The fruit may contain three to five large brown seeds. The skin, can be removed easily if the fruit is ripe. The fruit can be eaten raw, preserved dried or stewed. Loquat is rich in vitamin A, dietary fiber, minerals, pectin and anti-oxidants.
The Feijoa (Acca sellowiana) is a flowering plant that is indigenous to South America. The fruit tree, also called pineapple guava and guavasteen was first cultivated in New Zealand in the early 1900s.The pear-shaped feijoa fruits are about .75-3.5″ in long with waxy skin. The fruit emit’s a strong aromatic scent and taste like a cross of guava and pineapple. Just like guava, the fruit pulp has a gritty texture and becomes gelatinous when ripe. How to eat the fruit? Just cut it in half, then use a spoon to scoop out the pulp. The Feijoa fruit is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and proanthocyanins, a highly effective antioxidant.
The Chontaduro (Bactris gasipaes), is a palm native to Central and South America. The fruit growing in clusters are harvested from the top of this palm that grows to 20 m or taller. Chontaduro fruit tastes like a cross between roasted chestnuts and baked potato. It may be eaten raw or can be stewed in salted water. The palm fruit is rich in Vitamin C, vitamin A, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, iron) and proteins.
The Passion fruit (passiflora edulis) is native to Central America where Brazil is the main producing country. This climbing vine with nearly round or ovoid fruit can grow 15 to 20 ft. The fruit, yellow or dark purple in color; has thick outer skin and inside is a thick mucous-like membrane covering as many as 250 small, black seeds. The fruits are edible and the pulp tastes sweet. If eaten raw, cut the fruit in half and spoon out the pulp. Passion fruit is packed with vitamins A and C, a good source of fiber, and contains potassium and iron. It has also medicinal uses such as easing headaches, ulcers, anxiety, urinary tract infections, and heart attacks.
The Black Sapote (Diospyros digyna), also called Black Persimmon, Chocolate-Fruit, is a Tomato-like fruit native in Mexico and Guatemala. It is also grown in Florida, Cuba, Hawaii, The Philippines, and the Dominican Republic. The fruit is shining dark green, about 10 x 13 cm. in size having a firm rind. The edible pulps when ripe are sweet and taste like mild chocolate. The fruit may be eaten raw or use in desserts. Black sapote is rich in vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, potassium and minerals.
The Soursop (Annona muricata) is an exotic fruit native to tropical America. Today, it is cultivated in many countries in South Asia. The fruit comes in many shapes like oval, round and irregular shapes. This prickly fruits has a white, creamy, juicy flesh that contains an average of 60 to 100 black-brown seeds. As the name suggests, the fruit is sour and acidic in taste. It may be eaten raw or squeezed for juice. The pulp is high in carbohydrates, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, potassium, calcium and dietary fiber. Other names for the fruit include: Graviola in Brazil, Guanabana in Spanish and Guyabano in Filipino.
The Guarana is a flowering shrub native to Venezuela and Brazil. The tree grows to 12 m in high. The bright-red fruit growing in clusters is small (about the size of a coffee bean) and round in shape. The powder of the fruit is bitter when consumed alone but takes a pleasant and delicious taste when mixed with water. The guarana fruit contains about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans. Use as a nutritional supplement, it is an effective energy booster. In Brazil, Guaraná syrup is marketed as energy drinks and is used as an ingredient in carbonated soft drinks.
The Lychee (Litchi chinensis), is a medium-sized tropical fruit tree native to parts of China, India, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Indonesia. The fleshy fruits are rather odd-looking; The exterior part of the fruit roughly-textured rind reddish in color, the inside contains a layer of sweet, juicy, translucent white flesh. The flesh is eaten raw or can be added to different dessert dishes. Lychee fruits are low in calories and are cholesterol free. It is rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber and is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and folates.
The Camachile (Pithecellobium dulce), also known as- Guamachil, Madras Thorn, Monkey Pod, Manila Tamarind, Kodukkai Puli/Kodi-kai puli, Kona Puliyankai , Sweet Tamarind, Jungle Jilebi, Bilayati Imli, is nativeto Mexico, Central Asia, Guam, India, Philippines, Caribbean, and Florida. The tree grows to about 5 to 8 m and bears greenish-white, flowers 12 cm (4.7 in) long. The flowers produce an edible, curved or twisted pods about 12 cm long. The seeds are black. The seedpods can be eaten raw or prepared as a beverage. Camachile is used in treating Venereal diseases and is also prescribed for diabetics.
Durian known in southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, is native to Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines and Indonesia. The fruit growing to about 30 centimeters long and weighing from one to three kilograms is oblong to round in shape. The edible pulp emits an indescribable odor. Durian is a highly nutritious fruit because it is rich in vitamin B, C and E and is a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.