Breadfruit

Breadfruit is as much a staple as bread itself.

  • Breadfruit is a species of exotic fruit believed to be native to New Guinea and other nearby Pacific islands; and the fruit has yellow to light green skin when ripe, with a texture that is generally rough.
  • Numerous varieties of breadfruit have been developed, and the fruit grows on a tree with the scientific name Artocarpus altilis, from the family Moraceae, the family of figs and mulberries.
  • Depending on the variety, breadfruit is generally an oblong, round or ovoid shape, and can be 10 to 40 centimetres (4 to 16 inches) in length, between 7.5 to 33 cm (3 to 13 inches) in diameter, and can range in weight between 250 grams to 6 kilograms (0.5 to 13 pounds).
  • The texture and smell of breadfruit when cooked, is suggestive of bread, hence the fruit’s common name.
  • Breadfruit is typically cooked, in the form of roasting, boiling, baking, frying and the like, and is often mashed, or made into chips; or processed into flour; though some varieties of the fruit are eaten raw or used in dessert dishes or baked goods; and the seeds are also used as a food.
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Breadfruit
Image courtesy of Philip Tellis/Flickr
  • The tree of breadfruit can bear large quantities of fruit each season, generally from 50 to 200 individual fruits, which is somewhat determined by growing conditions and variety.
  • Breadfruit is found widespread in tropical areas today, spreading from its native home across the Pacific by islanders, and to the Caribbean by conquerors.
  • The flesh of breadfruit is usually a white to yellow colour, with a flavour that is much like that of a potato, and it is quite starchy and somewhat bland, though when very ripe, it is typically soft and sweet.
  • Breadfruit is very high in potassium and vitamin C, is a good source of carbohydrates and fibre, and has many other vitamins and minerals.
  • Breadfruit was once used to inexpensively feed slaves, and it has been cultivated as a staple food due to its versatility, significant energy content, and large yield capacity.
Bibliography:
Breadfruit, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breadfruit
Breadfruit, n.d, Australian Tropical Foods, http://www.australiantropicalfoods.com/index.php/exotic-fruits/breadfruit/
Siler J, ‘Food of the Future’ Has One Hitch: It’s All But Inedible, 2011, The Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203752604576645242121126386
Breadfruit, 2016, National Tropical Botanical Garden, http://ntbg.org/breadfruit/breadfruit/
Breadfruit, n.d, Purdue Agriculture, https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/breadfruit.html

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Durian

Can you brave the stench of a durian?

  • Durians are a species of exotic fruit, originating in Southeast Asia, and due to their overwhelming smell and appearance, ‘durians’ are known as the ‘King of Fruits’ in their native area.
  • Durians grow on a genus of trees with the scientific classification of Durio, from the family Malvaceae, the family of mallows, and while there are around 30 species in the genus, only about 9 of those have edible fruit – the most commonly cultivated one has the scientific name Durio zibethinus.
  • The length of the typically ovoid to spherical durian is generally between 15 and 30 centimetres (6 to 12 inches), with a diameter of 12 to 15 centimetres (5 to 6 inches), and they usually weigh between 1 to 8 kilograms or more (2.2 to 17.6 pounds).
  • The odour emitted by durian flesh is generally considered pungent, most commonly compared to excrement, onions and turpentine fuel, and other unpleasant smells, although some find the smell agreeable.
  • The smell of a durian can be quite difficult to remove from enclosed areas after exposure, leading to its ban in some public spaces like buses or other public vehicles, and in tourist accommodation, in much of Southeast Asia.
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Durian
Image courtesy of Kazue Asano/Flickr
  • Depending on the species, the spiky skin of durians can be a green, yellow, orange, or red colour, with a yellow, orange or red coloured flesh; while 70 to 85% of the fruit’s mass is inedible.
  • Durians have an exquisite taste compared to a combination of custard and almonds, if one can get over the smell, which can alter the actual taste to be oniony.
  • Durian is commonly eaten raw and chilled, and in sweet foods such as cold desserts, cakes and biscuits, as well as with rice or in curry, and despite being quite expensive, durians are very popular among the locals.
  • The spikes of a durian are thorny, so care needs to be taken when handling one; and when the fruit is ripe, it drops from the tree, which can be potentially fatal if it lands on a person’s head.
  • Fifty known compounds contribute to the smell of durians, four of which were first discovered in the fruit; and the fruit is high in vitamin C and thiamin, and is a good source of manganese, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, copper and fibre, and contains many other vitamins and minerals.
Bibliography:
Durian, 2006, Northern Territory Government, http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Content/File/p/Fruit/FF5_durian.pdf
Durian, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durian
Stromberg J, Why Does the Durian Fruit Smell So Terrible, 2012, Smithsonian, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-does-the-durian-fruit-smell-so-terrible-149205532/?no-ist

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Rambutan

Rambutans are sweet balls of flame and fire.

  • Rambutans are a tropical fruit that grow on trees that are native to Southeast Asia, especially areas of Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • The scientific name of the rambutan fruit tree is Nephelium lappaceum, and it is from the family Sapindaceae, the family of soapberries.
  • The term ‘rambutan’ is derived from the word ‘rambut’ of the Indonesian and Malay languages, and is translated as ‘hair’.
  • Rambutans are a spherical or slightly ovoid shape, typically 3 to 6 centimetres (1.2 to 2.4 inches) in length, with protruding thick spiky hairs.
  • Usually ripe rambutans have a red skin colour, though yellow or orange varieties are available, and they have a flesh coloured white, sometimes with a pink tint.
Rambutan, Red, Fruit, Spiky, Trivia, Food, Culinary, Ten Random Facts Rambutan
Image courtesy of Frank Fox/Flickr
  • Rambutans feature a single seed that some have suggested is poisonous, and while the seed is bitter tasting when raw, it is suggested that once roasted or cooked, it is safe to eat.
  • Rambutan fruit is green before it ripens and should stay on the tree until ripe; and the fruit is popularly cultivated in tropical areas, across Southeast Asia, southern Central America, parts of Africa and the Caribbean.
  • Rambutan fruit have a fresh taste that is quite sweet, similar to lychee and longan fruit.
  • It is common for rambutans to be eaten raw, however they can be made into a jam, or prepared in a salad or dessert.
  • The nutritional content of rambutans is quite small, though varied, though it is a good source of vitamin C, fibre, copper and manganese.
Bibliography:
Rambutan, 2006, Northern Territory Government, http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Content/File/p/Fruit/FF13_rambutan.pdf
Rambutan, 2015, Cape Trib, http://www.capetrib.com.au/rambutan.htm
Rambutan, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan
Yingling K, What Is the Difference Between the Lychee, Rambutan and Longan?, 2014, Huffpost Taste, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kimlai-yingling/lychee-rambutan-and-longan_b_4690073.html

Achacha

Not many fruit pop like an achacha does.

  • Achacha is a variety of tropical fruit that originates from the Bolivian Amazon region of South America.
  • Achacha fruit grow on a trees with the scientific name Garcinia humilis, from the family Clusiaceae, a family of mostly tropical shrubs and trees.
  • ‘Achacha’ is known as ‘achachairú’ in its native area and has the literal translation of ‘honey kiss’.
  • The colour of the skin of achachas is generally a bright orange colour when ripe, often with a red tinge, while the flesh itself is white, and typically contains one large seed.
  • Achachas are shaped like an ovoid, and can reach 6 centimetres (2.4 inches) in length and have a diameter of 4 cm (1.6 inches).

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  • Achachas can be eaten fresh or in a salad, made into a dessert, or pureed and served as a cold beverage.
  • The rind of achachas is bitter, though it is often used to flavour drinks, while the flesh is a sweet and tangy flavour.
  • An achacha can be opened by making a slit in the skin and squeezing the fruit between your fingers, which causes the skin to pop off the flesh.
  • To store achachas, they should be kept at room temperature, and will usually keep longer if kept in a humid environment like a sealed container, so that the skin doesn’t dry out.
  • Achachas are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, folate and potassium, and they have low levels of sugar compared to many other fruits.
Bibliography:
About the Achacha, 2013, Achacha, http://achacha.com.au/
Achacha, 2016, Body + Soul, http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/health+foods+az/achacha,23975
Garcinia humilis, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garcinia_humilis

Australian Finger Lime

Your Aussie bush tucker will surely include an Australian finger lime.

  • Australian finger limes are a species of citrus fruit that are native to rainforests of the central eastern coast of Australia.
  • The scientific name of the Australian finger lime is Citrus australasica and it is from the family Rutaceae, the family of citrus.
  • Australian finger limes are long and cylinder-like in nature, reaching 3 to 12 centimetres (1.2 to 4.7 inches) in length and they generally have a diameter of 1 to 3 centimetres (0.4 to 1.2 inches).
  • The skin colour of Australian finger limes can be yellow, pink, red, purple, or green, and the fruit may have no seeds at all, or they may have many.
  • With numerous individual globules, the flesh of Australian finger limes resembles caviar, and it is a translucent red, green, pink or yellow colour.
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Australian Finger Limes
Image courtesy of Malcolm Manners/Flickr
  • Australian finger limes have quite flavourful juices, particularly tangy, especially when the pulp itself is chewed.
  • Australian finger limes have become more popular in recent times for culinary use – on the rise since the late 1900s, especially in the restaurant industry.
  • Generally, Australian finger limes are used to flavour a dish, both as a garnish or with its juice, and they can be used to to make marmalade, sauces, and condiments, while the skin is also useful as a flavouring.
  • The thorny plant that Australian finger limes grow on can range from a shrub to a small tree, reaching 2 to 7 metres (6.6 to 23 feet) in height.
  • Australian finger limes were traditionally a form of bush tucker, and they are now cultivated for the food industry and export markets.
Bibliography:
Citrus Australasica, 2007, Australian Native Plants Society (Australia), http://anpsa.org.au/c-aust.html
Citrus Australasica, 2015, Australian National Botanic Gardens and Centre, https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/interns-2013/citrus-australasica.html
Citrus Australasica, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus_australasica
Growing Australian Native Finger Limes, 2010, NSW Department of Primary Industries, http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/320272/growing-australian-native-finger-limes.pdf

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Horned Melon

Horned melons are a beast of a fruit.

  • Horned melons are a variety of melon that are native to much of Africa, though not in the northern regions.
  • The scientific name of horned melons is Cucumis metuliferus and it is from the family Cucurbitaceae, the family of gourds.
  • ‘Horned melons’ are also known as ‘kiwanos’, ‘melanos’, ‘hedged gourds’, ‘jelly melons’, ‘African horned cucumbers’, and ‘African horned melons’.
  • Horned melons are a cylindrical/ovoid shape and range from 6 to 15 centimetres (2.4 to 6 inches) in length and 3 to 6 cm (1.2 to 2.4 inches ) in diameter.
  • The yellow to dark orange coloured skin of a horned melon, is covered in sharp spikes of a horn-like appearance, hence its common name.
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Horned Melon
Image courtesy of ccharmon/Flickr
  • Horned melons have flesh of a translucent green colour with a jelly-like consistency, similar to the innards of a cucumber.
  • Horned melons have a sweet to sour taste, and are compared to zucchinis and cucumbers in regards to flavour, perhaps with a hint of banana and lime or lemon.
  • The water content of a horned melon can be up to 90 percent, and the fruit is generally available in the summer months.
  • With its flesh and numerous seeds being edible, horned melons are an exotic fruit that can be eaten both raw, often in fruit salad, and cooked; and the flesh is sometimes used as an accompaniment to meat.
  • Horned melons have a high content of iron and magnesium, and they have significant quantities of vitamins B and C, as well as phosphorous and zinc, and they contain other vitamins and minerals.
Bibliography:
Cucumis metuliferus, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucumis_metuliferus
Welman M, Cucumis metuliferus, 2009, SA National Biodiversity Institute, http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantcd/cucumismet.htm
Health Benefits of Horned Melon (Kiwano), n.d, Health Benefits, http://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/health-benefits-of-horned-melon/

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