Jackfruits have a little bit of everything.
- Jackfruits are a variety of bulky exotic fruit, most likely originating in the rainforests of southwestern parts of India, and later introduced to a number of tropical areas of southeast Asia.
- The scientific name of the tree that produces jackfruit is Artocarpus heterophyllus and it is from the family Moraceae, the family of figs and mulberries.
- Jackfruits’ are also known as ‘jakfruits’, ‘jack trees’, ‘jaka’, ‘jaca’, ‘jaks’, ‘jacks’ and ‘nangka’; and Bangladesh has named it its national fruit.
- At dimensions of up to 91 centimetres (36 inch) by 50 centimetres (20 inches), and weighing 4.5 to 50 kilograms (10 to 110 pounds), jackfruits are known as the largest fruit produced by a tree.
- Jackfruits are quite sweet and fruity, with a mixed taste of bananas, apples, and pineapples when ripe, and the taste is somewhat like meat when unripe and cooked.
- From 100 to 500 individual jackfruits are produced annually by a single tree, and the ripe fruit tends to have an unpleasant odour, and releases latex sap when cut.
- Jackfruits are a versatile fruit and can be eaten fresh or cooked; canned, dried or candied; used as a fruit or vegetable; added to dishes like curries; or made into jam, condiments, pickles, ice-cream, noodles, alcoholic beverages, and flour; while the seeds can be eaten like tree nuts.
- Jackfruits have a yellow to green skin colour when ripe and are bumpy in texture; and the yellow flesh grows in segments, each containing a seed, while each fruit can contain from 100 to 500 seeds.
- While in years past, India has been one of the top producers of jackfruit in the world, in many areas the fruit has gone to waste or has been underutilised, due to public perception; effort of preparation of the fruit due to the latex; and lack of demand.
- Jackfruits consist of a wide variety of nutrients, and are high in vitamin C, magnesium, copper, potassium and manganese.
The salak will surely snake its way into your fruit basket.
- Salaks are a species of exotic fruit with over 30 varieties, and is native to Indonesia in Southeast Asia.
- ‘Salak’ is also known as ‘sala’, ‘snake fruit’, ‘yingan’, ‘salacca fruit’, and ‘snakeskin fruit’; and it grows on a specific type of palm tree.
- The scientific name of the plant salaks grow on is Salacca zalacca and it is from the family Arecaceae, the family of palm trees.
- Salaks are of a fig-like shape and are roughly 5 to 7 centimetres (2 to 2.7 inches) in length, and the fruit usually contains one to three seeds.
- Salaks are a mixture of sweet, sour and acidic flavours, comparable to pineapples and apples, and is often quite juicy.
- The skin of salaks is a brown colour resembling snake skin, hence its alternate names; and the skin can have small spines.
- Salak flesh is typically divided in three segments and is cream coloured with a texture that can be firm, spongy or crispy, or sometimes dry and crumbly.
- Salaks typically bunch on the palm tree, towards the base of the trunk, in groups of ten to forty individual fruits.
- It is traditional for salaks to be eaten fresh just as they are, or in fruit salad, but they can also be pickled, sugared, canned or made into wine.
- Salaks are high in iron and are a good source of vitamin C, and they contain many other vitamins and minerals.
Banana passionfruit is the perfect fruit for a passionate fan.
- Banana passionfruit are a variety of tropical fruit native to South America.
- ‘Banana passionfruit’ is also called ‘curuba’, ‘tasco’, ‘tumbo’, ‘bananadilla’ and ‘banana pōka’.
- There are two species of banana passionfruit, both very similar in appearance, and they have the scientific name Passiflora tarminiana and Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima, and they are from the family Passifloraceae, the family of passionfruit and other flowering plants.
- Banana passionfruit are of a rounded cylindrical or somewhat ovoid shape, and are 5 to 14 centimetres (2 to 5.5 inches) in length.
- Banana passionfruit has a light or whitish yellow to orange skin colour when ripe, and is a green colour when unripe, while the flesh is a translucent orange that surrounds numerous black edible seeds.
- The vines of banana passionfruit typically produce 150 to 300 individuals fruits a year.
- Banana passionfruit can be eaten fresh or added to desserts such as ice cream and fruit salads; or used as a flavouring, especially in beverages; much like other species of passionfruit.
- In countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Hawaii, banana passionfruit is considered an invasive species, as it grows prolifically and chokes out native plant species.
- The flavour of banana passionfruit is typically sweet and tart, comparable to other passionfruit; and the fruit is high in vitamin C and fibre.
- The vine of banana fruits can reach a length of roughly 6 to 7 metres (20 to 23 feet), and they often use tall trees as a support.
Mamey sapote is an exotic name for an exotic fruit.
- Mamey sapote is a variety of tropical fruit, native to parts of Central America, and Mexico in North America.
- ‘Mamey sapote’ is also known as ‘marmalade plum’, ‘mamee sapote’, ‘marmalade fruit’, ‘zapotillo’, ‘zapote’, ‘sapote’, and ‘mammee apple’, among other names.
- The scientific name of the mamey sapote tree is Pouteria sapota and it is from the family Sapotaceae, a family of flowering trees and shrubs.
- Mamey sapote can be ovoid or almost spherical in shape, and the fruit is usually between 7.5 and 23 centimetres (3 to 9 inches) long.
- The skin of Mamey sapote fruit is generally somewhat rough to touch and brown in colour, while the flesh is soft when ripe, and pink, orange or red in colour.
- The taste of mamey sapote is reminiscent of sweet potatoes, peaches, pumpkins and apricots.
- Mamey sapote can be eaten fresh or frozen, used to flavour dairy-based products such as ice-cream or milkshakes, and can be made into jams and preserves.
- A single mamey sapote fruit can weigh from 0.4 to 2.3 kilograms (0.9 to 5 pounds) in weight.
- Despite its large size, mamey sapote is botanically considered a berry, and the fruit usually contains one large brown seed, though some varieties may have up to four.
- Mamey sapote fruit are high in vitamin B6 and vitamin C, and contain many other vitamins and minerals.
Sapote, 2016, Purdue University, https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/sapote_ars.html
Will you brave the exoticness of the santol?
- Santols are a species of exotic fruit native to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaya, of Southeast Asia.
- The scientific name of the santol tree is Sandoricum koetjape and it is from the family Meliaceae, the family of mahogany.
- ‘Santols’ are also called ‘lolly fruits’, ‘cottonfruits’, and ‘ wild mangosteens’, and they are also known under a variety of local names.
- Santols generally have a peachy orange coloured skin, that has a somewhat furry texture, sometimes with a slight red or yellow appearance, with flesh that is typically coloured white, while the rind surrounding the flesh is usually an orange colour.
- The rind of santols can be thick or thin, depending on the variety, and the fruit has a fleshy, juicy centre that surrounds the seeds; and both the pulp and the rind are usually edible.
- Santols can have a sour or sweet taste, often depending on whether it is the red leaf variety or the yellow leaf variety, with the red leaf generally having a sour taste and a thicker rind, while the yellow leaf will typically have a sweet flavour and a thinner rind.
- Santols can be eaten raw, preserved, made into a jam, candied, spiced, cooked in curries or alongside meat, or used to make a beverage.
- The relatively large brown seeds of santols are not edible, and they should be avoided as they can get stuck in or even puncture the intestines.
- Santol fruit range from 4 to 7.5 centimetres (1.6 to 3 inches) in diameter, and a single tree is said to be able to bear thousands of individual fruit in a single year.
- Santols contain pectin, and are a good source of phosphorus and calcium, and they contain other vitamins and minerals.
The Cape gooseberry is not a gooseberry, nor is it from the Cape district in South Africa!
- A Cape gooseberry is a species of tomato-like fruit, that originated in South American countries including Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Columbia.
- ‘Cape gooseberries’ are also known as ‘Physalis’, ‘giant groundcherries’, ‘golden berries’, ‘Aztec berries’, ‘African ground cherries’, ‘Peruvian groundcherries’, ‘husk cherries’, ‘Inca berries’, ‘Peruvian tomatoes’, ‘Peruvian cherries’, ‘poha berries’, and many other names.
- The plant that the cape gooseberry grows on has the scientific name Physalis peruviana, from the family Solanaceae, the family of nightshades; and it is similar to other edible fruits that grow in a similar form in the Physalis genus, like the tomatillo, husk tomato and other groundcherries.
- The Cape gooseberry fruit is contained inside a dry, leaf-like receptacle known as a ‘husk’, that is something comparable to a lantern in shape.
- Cape gooseberries typically have smooth, glossy skin that is orange or yellow when ripe, with juicy flesh the same colour; and they are green when unripe.
- The Cape gooseberry can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked, often in Mexican cuisine; made into jams, pies or other desserts; and added to salads.
- Cape gooseberries have a sweet to tangy taste with a fruity flavour, and a sweetness that is greater than tomatoes; though they should not be eaten when unripe, as they tend to be poisonous.
- The shape of a Cape gooseberry is spherical, and the fruit generally ranges from 1 to 3 centimetres (0.4 to 1.2 inches) in diameter, and the pulp contains many small edible seeds.
- Cape gooseberries are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and niacin, and they contain a number of other vitamins and minerals.
- Cape gooseberries generally fall to the ground before they are ripe, and they can be stored for many months in their husk.