Quince

Who would have known that a sour quince could become so sweet?

  • Quinces are a variety of fruit that originated in south-western Asia and the Middle East; and they contain a large proportion of pectin, enabling the cooked fruit to easily set into jellies and jams.
  • The scientific name of the tree that quinces grow on is Cydonia oblonga, from the family Rosaceae, the family of roses, and it is a close relative of pears and apples.
  • Quinces grow to an irregular shape spanning 7 to 12 centimetres (2.8 to 4.7 inches) in height, commonly with a slightly smaller diameter.
  • Most quinces are extremely bitter until being cooked, and combined with their tough texture, the fruit is generally quite impractical to eat raw.
  • The skin of quinces is a bright yellow, with flesh of a cream colour that generally becomes pink when cooked.

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  • Quinces are often made into preserves, baked desserts, sauces or jellies, as they are flavourful, and with a small quantity of sugar or other sweetener added, they develop a sweet taste.
  • Consuming a large quantity of quince fruit seeds at one time can cause a toxic gas to develop in the stomach, as the seeds react with stomach acids.
  • Quinces are scented with a pleasant fragrance and flavour, that is described as a combination of citrus, apples and vanilla.
  • Each hectare (2.5 acres) of quince trees typically produces from 25 to 35 tonnes (27.6 to 38.6 tons) of fruit, and Turkey was the largest producer in 2012 with around 135,000 tonnes (149,000 tons), which was more than 20% of the world’s production.
  • Quinces are good source of vitamin C and have significant quantities of copper, fibre and potassium.
Bibliography:
Campbell J, Quince Growing, 2001, NSW Government – Agriculture, http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/content/agriculture/horticulture/pomes/quince-growing
Durand F, Quince: The Tough Fall Fruit With a Secret Reward, 2014, Kitchn, http://www.thekitchn.com/quince-tough-fall-fruit-with-a-secret-reward-ingredient-intelligence-73041
Quince, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince

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Tamarillo

Meet the long lost cousin of the tomato – the tamarillo!

  • Tamarillos are a variety of fruit, comparable to the tomato, and they are native to South America.
  • New Zealanders gave the name ‘tamarillo’ to the ‘tree tomato’ fruit, a name it is also known by, in 1967 for commercial purposes, and the fruit is also called ‘tamamoro’, ‘tomate dulce’, ‘tomate granadilla’ and ‘tomate de árbol’ among other names.
  • The tamarillo grows on the plant with the scientific name Solanum betaceum, and it is from the family Solanaceae, the family of nightshades.
  • Tamarillos are somewhat ovoid in shape, and typically reach a length of 4 to 10 centimetres (1.6 to 4 inches) and have a diameter of 3.8 to 5 centimetres (1.5 to 2 inches).
  • The skin of tamarillos can be yellow, red, orange, or purple, while the flesh is often a similar colour to the skin but it sometimes differs.
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  • Tamarallos grow on a tree with a height generally between 3 to 5.5 metres (10 to 18 feet); and a single tree can produce 20 to 30 kilograms (44 to 66 pounds) of fruit each year.
  • A tamarillo’s flavour varies with the colour, with red variants generally having a tart flavour, while the yellow varieties are typically sweet, having a flavour combination of kiwi or passion fruit and tomato.
  • While tamarillos can be eaten raw, often with a utensil that is used to spoon out the flesh, the tough bitter skin is usually left uneaten unless cooked; and the fruit is also popularly made into spreads, stews, curries and other sauces.
  • Tamarillos are very high in vitamin C and are good sources of vitamins A and E, as well as iron and pyridoxine.
  • Tamarillos have been cultivated in parts of Asia and Africa, and they have also been commercially grown in New Zealand since the 1920s, after which demand increased during World War II, due to the fruit’s vitamin C content.
Bibliography:
History, NZ Tamarillo Growers Association, 2008, http://www.tamarillo.com/history/
Tamarillo, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamarillo
https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/tree_tomato.html

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Apple Strudel

Apple strudels with their juicy apples and crispy pastry are mouth-watering delights.

  • An apple strudel is an apple-filled pastry popularly eaten as a dessert or snack, and it is most commonly served warm, though it is also eaten cold.
  • ‘Apple strudel’ is also known as ‘Apfelstrudel’, which is the German term for the dessert, while ‘strudel’ is German for ‘swirl’ or ‘whirl’.
  • Apple strudels consist of a light and very thin unleavened pastry, rolled and filled with an apple mixture that commonly includes cinnamon, raisins, sugar and breadcrumbs, with the crumbs helping to soak up excess liquid during the cooking process.
  • While apple strudels are the most popular strudel, other fruits and nuts may be used, and savoury strudels can also be made that can include meat, vegetables and herbs.
  • Apple strudels are believed to have originated in the territory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and they were being made by the 1800s, while various strudels were produced as early as the 1500s.
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An Apple Strudel with Custard
Image courtesy of LHG Creative Photography/Flickr
  • Although it can be eaten plain, ice-cream, custard or cream are common apple strudel accompaniments, and the strudel is usually sliced into pieces to serve.
  • Once apple strudel dough is kneaded and stretched out to be extremely flat and thin (so writing is visible under it), the filling is placed on the dough and then encased and wrapped by it, after which it is cooked in an oven.
  • Apple strudels were the United State’s Texas’ official state pastry from 2003 to 2005, as it is thought to have been one of the first pastries cooked in the state.
  • The shape of an uncut apple strudel is typically a flattened cylinder, and the pastry is crispy and golden brown when cooked.
  • Due to the accessibility and quantity of apples during hard times, apple strudels were perhaps one of the earliest strudel types.
Bibliography:
Apfelstrudel, or the “Apple Whirlpool”, 2014, The Palate, https://uchicagopalate.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/apfelstrudel-or-the-apple-whirlpool/
Apple Strudel, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_strudel
Apple Strudel, n.d, ifood.tv, http://ifood.tv/european/apple-strudel/about
The History of Strudels, 2015,  Kitchen Project, http://www.kitchenproject.com/german/recipes/Desserts/Strudel/Strudel-History.htm

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Miracle Fruit

Miracle fruits are marvellous game-changers.

  • Miracle fruits are berries of a species of shrub-growing plant, that is native to western Africa.
  • ‘Miracle fruit’ are also known as ‘sweet berries’, ‘miracle berries’, ‘taamis’, ‘miraculous berries’, and ‘agbayuns’.
  • The scientific name of the miracle fruit is Synsepalum dulcificum and it is from the family Sapotaceae, a family of evergreen flowering trees and shrubs.
  • Miracle fruits are small and are an ovoid shape, and they are roughly 2 to 3 centimetres (0.8 to 1.2 inches) in length.
  • While the miracle fruit does not have much flavour itself, a protein named miraculin found in the fruit’s flesh, causes sour foods to taste sweet when the flesh is consumed.
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Miracle Fruit
Image courtesy of Forest and Kimm Starr/Flickr
  • The shrubs that bear miracle fruit grow to a height of 1.8 to 4.5 metres (5.9 to 14.8 feet), and the fruit is produced throughout the year.
  • The impact of the miracle fruit on one’s sense of taste lasts for around 30 minutes, or occasionally longer, and the fruit is eaten raw, typically immediately before sour tasting food.
  • Miracle fruits have a bright red skin colour and they have flesh that is a translucent white colour, which includes one seed.
  • To maintain the flavour alterating properties of miracle fruit, berries must be eaten promptly after picking, as their effectiveness decreases the longer they are stored.
  • Miracle fruit has been designated as a food additive in its history; and while research has been undertaken to determine the possibility of the fruit being used to change the taste of food to make it sweeter, as yet, it has not been a commercially viable option.
Bibliography:
Miracle Fruit, 1996, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc., https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/miraclefruit.html
Miracle Fruit, 2013, Trade Winds Fruit, http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/content/miracle-fruit.htm
 Miracle Fruit, 2015, Cape Trib, http://www.capetrib.com.au/miracle.htm
Synsepalum dulcificum, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synsepalum_dulcificum

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Noni

You’ll be able to tell when some noni is in your fruit salad!

  • Noni is a species of exotic tropical fruit that is native to northern Australia, Southeast Asia,  and a number of the Pacific islands.
  • ‘Noni’ is also known as ‘Indian mulberry’, ‘hog apple’, ‘great morinda’, ‘koonjerung’, ‘canary wood’, ‘beach mulberry’, ‘tokoonja’ and ‘cheese fruit’.
  • The scientific name of the tree that produces noni is Morinda citrifolia and it is from the family Rubiaceae, the family of madder and coffee.
  • Noni skin changes from green, to a pale yellow, then a creamy white colour when ripe, and is made up of many polygon shapes; while the flesh is also similar in colour.
  • The irregular shape of the noni fruit ranges from 4 to 18 centimetres (1.6 to 7 inches) in length; and it contains many seeds, which can be roasted and eaten.
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Noni
Image courtesy of Keith Roper/Flickr
  • Noni is edible both raw and cooked, often eaten with salt or cooked in curry, and it is commonly made into juice; while jams and pickles can also be made from the fruit.
  • Generally, noni emits a strong, undesirable smell, comparable to that of smelly cheese or even vomit; and the unripe fruit is commonly cooked as a vegetable.
  • Typically noni has a flavour resembling sour pineapple possibly with some sweetness, though it can be bitter and unpleasant; and the fruit has been historically used in times of famine.
  • Various illnesses including asthma, arthritis and cardiovascular issues have all be treated with noni, by using traditional medicine methods.
  • Noni has significant quantities of potassium and vitamin C, particularly in its juice, and has other vitamins and minerals.
Bibliography:
Morinda citrifolia, 2016, Australian Native Plants Society (Australia), http://anpsa.org.au/m-cit.html
Morinda citrifolia, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morinda_citrifolia
Morinda citrifolia – Noni: Life Sustaining Plant, 2016, Top Tropicals, https://toptropicals.com/html/toptropicals/plant_wk/noni.htm
Noni, 2016, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, https://nccih.nih.gov/health/noni

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Jackfruit

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.
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Some Jackfruit
Image courtesy of Lee Wu/Flickr
  • 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.
Bibliography:
Kuzoian A, We Tried Jackfruit — the Huge Tree Fruit that Supposedly Tastes Like Pulled Pork, 2015, Business Insider Australia, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/barbecue-jackfruit-pulled-pork-taco-taste-test-2015-9
Jackfruit, 1996, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc, https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/jackfruit.html
Jackfruit, 2006, Northern Territory Government, http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Content/File/p/Fruit/FF7_jackfruit.pdf
Jackfruit, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackfruit
Jackfruit, n.d, Purdue University, https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/jackfruit_ars.html/
Suchitra M, The Jackfruit Will Definitely Become the Most Sought-After Fruit in the Coming Years in India, 2015, Down to Earth, http://www.downtoearth.org.in/interviews/-the-jackfruit-will-definitely-become-the-most-sought-after-fruit-in-the-coming-years-in-india–50450

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