Specialty stores and even regular supermarkets are constantly expanding their exotic or obscure fruit selections. However, there are still plenty of uncommon fruits out there that have yet to be fully introduced to the American food scene.
Here are 15 of the best exotic fruits that you may not even know exist!
#1 African Horned Cucumber
Spiky and yellow on the outside but green and juicy on the inside, this exotic fruit is sometimes called the “blowfish fruit.” It tastes like a cross between a zucchini and a cucumber. The African horned cucumber is very rare in the US but can sometimes be found in specialty produce stores.
#2 Star Fruit
Star fruit, which is also known as carambola, is a star shaped fruit with a sweet and sour taste. Star fruit is low in calories but high in vitamin C and dietary fiber which makes it a healthy snack. This exotic fruit still isn’t very popular in the US but some supermarket chains do occasionally carry it in their produce section.
Jackfruit is enormous and prickly on the outside and filled with pods on the inside. Jackfruit is sometimes used as a vegetarian substitute for meat because when the pods inside are green and unripe, they have a texture that resembles chicken. Jackfruit isn’t just delicious it is also known to cure ulcers and indigestion! If you want to find jackfruit in the US there have been people known to grow it in Florida.
Before the ackee opens up it looks very similar to a human brain, but after it opens up you will see three or four very large seeds surrounded by a cream-colored section. The seeds and red lining are then removed until you are left with only the flesh. Once the flesh is cooked it is creamy in texture and quite bitter in taste. Fresh ackee is generally not available in the US but can sometimes be found in Jamaican specialty food stores.
Pepino is a very unique fruit because when it is fresh and only a few days off the plant it will taste sweet, and then a few days after that it will taste more like a vegetable, similar to a cucumber. Keep refridgerated to maintain sweetness. Pepino melon is becoming more popular in the US and can often be found in organic food markets or specialty produce stores.
The flesh of a capuacu is often used in desserts because of its chocolatey pineapple flavor. The exocarp of a capuacu is very hard and may have to be sawed open in order to get to the sweet and tangy pulp on the inside. Since the capuacu is commonly found in South America, you can sometimes find it in Latin American food stores in the US.
When you open up a langsat you will notice a small translucent orb-shaped fruit on the inside. An unripe langsat is extremely sour but a ripe langsat tastes very similar to a bittersweet grapefruit. As of right now the best place to find these in the US would be Hawaii. Aloha!
Miraclefruit got its name due to its ability to make sour fruit taste sweet when their juices are mixed together. Miraclefruit berries are very sweet and highly perishable which is why they are often frozen of freeze dried. This exotic fruit is very hard to find in stores but can be ordered from many websites in several different forms.
At first glance a jaboticaba might look like a pimple on a tree, as it appears to grow directly from the tree’s bark. Jaboticaba is often compared to grape because of its grape-like texture and sweet flavor. Often used in wines and liqueurs, the jaboticaba can be found in the US state of California.
When you peel away the outer skin of a rambutan you will notice that the inside is white with a gummy-like texture. The inside of a rambutan is often described as sweet but tangy. Rambutan originated from Southeast Asia but now is commonly cultivated in Hawaii.
The taste of a cherimoya is best described as a cross between a banana and a pineapple. The best way to eat it is to open it up and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Cherimoyas can be found on the west coast in Hispanic markets or farmers markets in California. If you don’t live on the west coast a quick Google search will return quite a few retailers that sell them online.
Durian is one of the most unique fruits in the world because its outer shell resembles that of a porcupine or puffer fish. Durian is said to taste similar to pineapple and buttermilk but is often described as an acquired taste. Durians are still hard to find in the US but some Asian market may carry them.
A few years ago mangosteens were banned in the US because they were falsely believed to carry the Asian fruit fly. Now that mangosteens are available again, the best place to find them is at an Asian market. The rind of the mangosteen is very bitter but the white pulp is juicy, tangy and sweet. They also make for a great juice cocktail.
#14 Dragon Fruit
Dragon Fruit is one of the most unique-looking fruits on the planet and not many people know that it is a cactus-bred fruit. When you open up a Dragon Fruit, you will notice a texture similar to kiwifruit due to its crunchy black seeds. It is one of the wildest fruits to look at and its taste is often described as having a mild sweetness. Dragon fruit is starting to become more popular in the US and you can sometimes find it in produces stores located in larger cities like New York.
#15 Goji Berries
Goji berry is a bright orange-red berry and is normally found growing on shrubs in China. Odds are you’ve probably drank something with goji berry in it, because the berry is a common ingredient in tea, wine, juice and various medicines. Goji berry is known to reduce high blood pressure, fevers and even prevent diabetes. Goji berry still isn’t very popular in the US but it can be ordered online in a freeze dried form.