The Latin word “frui” which means to enjoy, gave rise to another Latin word “fructus” which means enjoyment of produce. From “fructus,” we get the word “fruit.” In a study, it was found that those people who ate almost no fruit and then increased their fruit intake to about eight portions a day experienced an increase in the level of life satisfaction that was almost equal to what one feels when taking up a new job after unemployment. Fruits are known to be great sources of vitamin C and sometimes vitamins A and K as well. Consumption of fruits is recommended by almost every medical professional. You might have eaten a lot of fruits, but here is a list of 15 fruits you probably have never tried.
1. Pawpaw Fruit
The largest edible fruit native to North America tastes like both mango and banana. It is pollinated by flies because its flowers smell like rotting meat.
About 5-16 centimeters long and 3-7 centimeters wide, the pawpaw fruit is an edible berry that is yellow or brown when ripe and green when unripe. It weighs around 20-500 grams and has a large number of seeds. The pawpaw fruit is very rich in protein and has a higher protein content than most fruits.
The fruits are used in making ice cream and other desserts and are also eaten raw. Their custard-like flavor varies from cultivar to cultivar and can sometimes taste like a cantaloupe, banana, mango, pineapple, or a combination of these tastes. Blowflies or carrion beetles are responsible for the pollination of the pawpaw flowers and are attracted to the plant as its flowers smell like rotting meat. (1, 2)
This is a fruit that acts as an instant energizer and can help reduce anxiety and fatigue. However, its smell is like rotten onions or raw sewage which is why it is banned on public transport in Singapore, Thailand, and other countries.
Dubbed as “the world’s smelliest fruit,” durian is banned on several types of public transport in countries like Thailand, Japan, and Hong Kong. It is banned on all types of public transport in Singapore along with taxis that have a specific sign against the carrying of the fruit. Ironically, it is the official fruit of Singapore. Its smell tends to linger on long after the fruit has been removed from the place.
High in carbohydrates and calories, the fruit is known to energize a healthy individual almost instantly. It is claimed that its high potassium content can help in reducing anxiety and fatigue. It is also rich in fiber, iron, and vitamin C. There are around 30 different types of durians. (1, 2)
3. Miracle Fruit
When consumed, this fruit causes your taste buds to not detect a sour taste for nearly 30 minutes. This means that all sour foods taste sweet. It has been used to treat diabetes.
Having several names like “miracle berry,” “taami,” “asa,” etc., it contains a glycoprotein molecule called “miraculin” that causes sour foods like lemons to taste sweet. The miraculin is what binds to the taste buds of the tongue resulting in the sweet taste. At a low pH level, the miraculin activates the sweet receptors in the tongue. Its effect lasts for about 30 minutes which is the time it takes for the saliva to wash the molecule from the tongue.
Low in sugar content, the fruit has a mildly sweet tang. People take this fruit as a treatment for diabetes and to also correct the taste disturbances that are caused due to chemotherapy. However, there isn’t enough evidence to prove its effectiveness. (1, 2)
4. Peanut Butter Fruit
Like its name, the peanut butter fruit tastes like peanut butter. They are small and reddish-orange in color. The tropical tree that bears the fruit smells like peanut butter.
The plant Bunchosia argentea that bears the peanut butter fruit smells like peanut butter. It is native to Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, and Suriname. Its leaves appear silvery on the underside.
The fruit tastes and smells very much like peanut butter and is eaten raw along with being used in the preparation of jams and jellies. About the size of an olive, the flesh of the fruit is sticky. It is high in carbohydrates and rich in calcium and vitamin C. (1, 2)
5. Black Sapote
Also known as “chocolate pudding fruit,” it tastes like chocolate pudding, is low in fat, and has about four times more vitamin C than an orange.
A fruit that tastes and has a consistency like chocolate pudding when ripe, black sapote measures about 5-10 centimeters in diameter and looks like tomatoes in appearance once cut. When the fruit is not ripe, it is inedible as is its skin. In the Phillippines, the fruit is used as a fish poison because when unripe, it is irritating, astringent, and bitter. Cultivars of the fruit are found in Australia, Philippines, and in Florida, USA. (source)
6. Monstera Deliciosa
Its name literally translates as “delicious monster.” If not 100% ripe, it can cause throat and skin irritation. Once ripe, it tastes like a mix of pineapple, banana, and coconut.
When not ripe, the fruit contains a high amount of oxalic acid, and if eaten, it causes severe skin and throat irritation. When ripe, the hexagonal scales of the fruit lift up and can be removed. The fruit’s ripe taste is described to be delicious. The leaves of this plant are very large and look like the hands of a monster. This is why it is called a “delicious monster.”
Native to Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Mexico, it has tropical flavors like that of pineapple, banana, and coconut making it ideal for desserts and jams. It is also eaten on its own. Once the scaly skin is peeled off, the fruit will look like an ear of corn. (1, 2)
7. Blue Java Banana
The fruit is a hardy, cold-tolerant banana which has a flavor similar to vanilla and has a consistency like ice cream.
Also known as “ice cream banana,” the fruit has a sweet aroma and vanilla-like custard flavor. Grown as ornamental and shade plant, these fruits are unique to look at because of their bluish coloration when unripe. Each fruit is about 18-23 centimeters in length. The banana is cold-tolerant and is a triploid hybrid (ABB) of two, seeded banana species, Musa balbisiana (B) and Musa acuminata (A). (source)
8. Snake Fruit
Scaly as snakeskin and prickly like a cactus, this fruit tastes as sweet as honey and as sour as a pineapple once peeled.
Just like the skin of the snake, the snake fruit has reddish-brown, scaly skin and is about the size of a ripe fig. The palm tree it grows on is called “salak.” When peeled, the fruit is white almost looking like peeled garlic with three lobes and an inedible seed. It has an apple-like texture that can either be crumbly and very dry or be moist and crunchy.
Salak pondoh is a variety of this fruit found in the Yogyakarta province of Java and is popular among the locals. Salak Bali is another variety that is popular with the people of Bali and has a flavor somewhat similar to a pineapple and lime juice. Gula pasir is the most expensive salak and the most expensive cultivar of Salak Bali. Sometimes, it is fermented and made into a wine. (source)