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Lick the Produce: Strange fruit

Once a month I try new fruits and vegetables. Sometimes I even know their names.

Cherimoya

Cherimoya

Sometimes I do not know their names. Thank you to everybody who told me that the strange, green fruit I picked up at the grocery store is a cherimoya. They are a very popular fruit that have several web sites dedicated to them and Mark Twain called them “deliciousness itself.” Still, I’d never seen or heard of them before. I’m evidently out of the fruit loop. I don’t recognize any of the musicians in the Top 10 anymore and I cannot identify a somewhat popular and beloved custard fruit. I am old and out of touch with the world.

The cherimoya is described as having a creamy, custard flavor and it lived up to its reputation. It was very yummy, sweet with a tart after taste. My only complaint is that there are a lot of hard brown seeds that I had to pick out. As shown in the picture below, after I ate all the white stuff they took up one fourth of the remaining shell.

Cherimoya

Sometimes if I’m feeling lazy, I will just eat the seeds in a watermelon or a grape, but biting into these seeds would have cost me some serious dental work. Someone should task the genetic engineers to breed a seedless version.

Dragon Fruit – Kiwano

Dragon fruit

The dragon fruit looks like a doggy toy. Or a strange aquatic creature. And the Google image search for “dragon fruit” makes me wonder if what I ate was a real dragon fruit. I conducted a fruit autopsy and the insides look fairly different.

My dragon fruit

The dragon fruit is also supposed to be mildy sweet, but when I stuck a spoon into its guts and put it in my mouth it tasted like – slimy, cucumber, seeds! It was like someone had taken the most tasteless part of a cucumber with the most disgusting texture and injected it into a doggy toy. I actually threw this out without eating the whole thing, a first in Lick the Produce history. I don’t know if what I ate was a dragon fruit or not, but I’m never eating it again.

ETA: Thanks to Lesley and Tracy for revealing this is actually a kiwano!

Feijoa

Feijoa

When I did a search for “fiejoa” I returned almost no results, making me wonder if I’d picked up some completely obscure fruit. Then I realized that I’d spelled it wrong because “feijoa” is evidently too good to obey the “I before E” rule. What a rebel. According to Wikipedia, it is also known as a Pineapple Guava or a Guavasteen.

The feijoa is a tiny, has soft flesh and a sweet smell. So it’s the fruit equivalent of a supermodel. It was very fragrant and tasted as good as it smelled, like a cross between a banana and a pear. I don’t eat supermodels, but I’d eat a feijoa again.

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32 Comments

Melanie • November 29, 2007 at 8:38 am

Wow, I’m the first commenter for this post. Do I get a prize? :) Good for you for trying some of these little known, obscure treats. I have never heard of them, let alone eaten them. You’ve inspired me to think outside the peel (sorry, I know that was bad) and try something new.

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emily • November 29, 2007 at 8:45 am

All the dragonfruit I’ve ever eaten has had amazingly, vibrantly PINK skin, and been white with black seeds. However, it doesn’t taste like much. Pretty, though!

Have you eaten fresh lychee yet? yum!

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emily • November 29, 2007 at 8:48 am

oh, and wikipedia says

The fruit comes in three types, all with leathery, slightly leafy skin:

Hylocereus undatus, white flesh with pink skin

Hylocereus polyrhizus, red flesh with pink skin

Selenicereus megalanthus, white flesh with yellow skin

So, there was something wrong with your dragonfruit!

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Meagan • November 29, 2007 at 9:23 am

Maybe the dragonfruit wasn’t ripe yet? Or was possessed by the spirit of an angry cucumber.

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jessica~ • November 29, 2007 at 9:24 am

Too bad about the dragon fruit! I just watched a show on interesting fruits at the produce section and it all looked so yummy. I’m going to try some of the ones you liked, and lychee, which is supposed to be sweet.

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Loey • November 29, 2007 at 9:36 am

I’m not certain that actually was a dragon fruit. I’ve done some traveling through Asia, and in my experience dragon fruit is kinda like a pink artichoke with either dark pink or white flesh with tiny little black edible seeds imbedded in the flesh. (disclaimer: I am by no means a fruit-ologist or whatever, so maybe this is variety of dragon fruit.)

Here’s a link that shows a pic.

http://www.murrayhill5.net/blog/inmykitchenblog/archives/000639.html

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Amy • November 29, 2007 at 9:53 am

Hey PQ, just wanted to tell you how excited I was to see you on Elastic Waist today! I think every weight loss sight out there links to your blog and rightfully so. Please keep up the good work! You are so inspirational to many many people.

a.s.

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Lesley • November 29, 2007 at 10:06 am

I believe that is a kiwano, not dragon fruit. Never had either, though, so maybe I’m wrong.

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Tracy • November 29, 2007 at 10:18 am

Hey PQ, what you at is actually called a Kiwano melon, sometimes called the African Horned Melon. I bought it a while back because it looked awesome and it tasted terrible. You live, you learn.

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JEM • November 29, 2007 at 11:07 am

Your getting really brave! I like it. I have never had any of those fruits!

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Carrie • November 29, 2007 at 11:19 am

You are too funny! And brave…I love someone else giving me a description of foreign foods before I delve into them myself. I’m a chicken!

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Migraineur • November 29, 2007 at 11:19 am

Feijoas come from Brazil, and Portuguese doesn’t have “i before e” rule.

I’ve tried cherimoyas before, but my experience has been that a) like a lot of fruits they are shipped slightly underripe, b) they are almost but not quite tasty underripe (they have a slight starchiness that I didn’t like much), and c) they don’t ripen well off the tree. So I’ve sort of given up on them, unless I happen to be in a tropical country where I can get one ripe off the tree.

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Jane • November 29, 2007 at 11:21 am

have you ever come across rambutans? they are very like lychees in having a large hard stone, very sweet juicy scented white flesh and a tough outer skin, but rambutans are very hairy and yellow/brown whereas lychees are pink/red and sort of scaly. I think they are better than lychees. If you have a good chinese/oriental market near you you might be lucky. Also mangosteens- my husband raves about them although I don’t rate them that high (we honeymooned in indonesia where all these fruits are everywhere..)

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Jenny • November 29, 2007 at 11:29 am

I love your “Fruit Porn” posts.

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Fat Grl Slim • November 29, 2007 at 11:56 am

As with some of the above comments, your dragon fruit was nothing like the dragon fruit I ate in Asia. They looked more like this: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu02/images/mizrahi-2.jpg

I think what you ended up with was a horned melon:

http://images.jupiterimages.com/common/detail/26/00/23230026.jpg

Lychee’s also rock — if you can find them! There are some variations on skin type.

http://www.haheng.biz/image/lychee/Brewster-Lychee.jpg

Mamey Apples or Sapote are also findable in Latino markets and are very tasty.

http://www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/images/may/magazine/Mamey%20Sapote%20Fruit%20(1).JPG

What ever you do, avoid Durian like the plague — they ban them in elevators and closed spaces in Asia because the smell like, well, durian — a horrible smell!

Okay enough with the fruit! I’m outta control and am longing for a plane ticket back to the orient so I can spend some quality time consuming these fruits once again!!!

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Fat Grl Slim • November 29, 2007 at 12:01 pm

Sigh…somebody stop me now!!!

I almost forgot!!!!! Persimmons. And is persimmon time. They are amazing. There are some guidelines when eating them because they can leave your mouth with a funny feeling if you eat them before they are ripe.

Wikipedia had some information on it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persimmon#Fruit

Okay I’m done! I promise :)

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chanda • November 29, 2007 at 12:42 pm

That first one looked like a horseshoe crab! But kudos to you for trying new things. I just found your blog, and Im amazed at what you’ve accomplished, it gives me much hope and motivation. Im just begining my weight loss journey (well, for the millionth time, but hoping it sticks this time)and Im reading through your archives for inspiration (no pressure!:). Just wanted to delurk and say hello.

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Cara • November 29, 2007 at 12:48 pm

I love these posts! I know which ones not to try now :-)

Thanks for the info!

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nicole • November 29, 2007 at 12:49 pm

That dragonfruit is actually kiwano!

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/12/kiwano-banana-and-pineapple-sorbet.html

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Elizabeth • November 29, 2007 at 12:49 pm

Yep, that was not a dragonfruit, but a horned melon. I tried one once, and thought it tasted kind of like an under-ripe banana.

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Judith in NYC • November 29, 2007 at 2:03 pm

You are so adventurous! I enjoy your licking the produce sections a lot.

You will find some of the fruit tasteless because it is picked unripe so it can withstand all the traveling. I am from Puerto Rico and I used to think that apples, pears and peaches were the worst fruit ever. And don’t get me started on the berries. Then I moved to Oregon and starting sampling fresh-from-the-orchard/field fruit…yum, yum!

Now I eat most of my fruit only in season.

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Danielle • November 29, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Ok, that does it.

I must try a cherimoya.

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coraspartan • November 29, 2007 at 3:42 pm

PQ, thanks for the info on the kiwano. My grocery store’s produce section has these all the time and I have been wanting to try them, but at $2.99 a piece, I couldn’t bring myself to fork out the money. Now I won’t bother!

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Sally Parrott Ashbrook • November 29, 2007 at 3:56 pm

Mmm, I’m going to have to find a cherimoya to try!

As far as the dragonfruit goes, I’m so glad you did this post! Because apparently, when I thought I was trying dragonfruit several years ago, I was really trying a kiwano. And like you, I ended up throwing it away without finishing it, which was especially sad since it was pricey.

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America • November 29, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Have you ever heard of Daniel Cook, PQ? He’s this little red-headed kid tht does miniature shows on tv in between cartoons (I think on the Disney Channel). He is sooo funny!! Anywho, he had a show where he visited a market and tried several unusual fruits. One was a dragonfruit and he LOVED it. There were some other really bizarre looking fruits too. I work at a Family Video here in Ohio and we carry a ton of Daniel Cook DVDs in the free kids section of the store. If you have a membership at an FV over your way, you should rent you some DC and get some ideas on new fruits to try!

PQ – You can evidently download episodes at his web site – but only if you live in Canada!

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Manic Mommy • November 29, 2007 at 9:45 pm

You had me at “I’m out of the fruit loop.” bwahahahahh.

And what did that last fruit look like inside. Cool that you put it next to a quarter. Would have never guessed it was so small.

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rochelle • November 30, 2007 at 3:37 am

In Australia we call the cherimoya custard apple-Id never had one til i went to india and i loved them. messy to eat but when properly ripe they taste great-very much a dessert fruit. and feijoa-again i hadnt had them til a few years ago-they are huge in NZ and my kiwi flatmate ate some and the smell-i think its more like a cross between a passionfruit and pear. just make sure its ripe otherwise they are horrid!!!

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Sandra • November 30, 2007 at 5:54 am

Oh my god! You got to eat feijoas! I really really miss feijoas and get really depressed when I go to NZ out of season. Next year I am definitely going int eh season again. It’s the one foodie thing that makes me really want to move home now!

In Auckland the trees are everywhere and we had one in our garden when I was growing up. So I ate them all the time. Yum!

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Jenny K • December 1, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Ha! “The fruit equivalent of a supermodel” made me laugh out loud! I love it.

Thanks for sharing your produce journey with us. :)

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Will • December 3, 2007 at 10:03 am

I’m with you Sandra… I’m always going back to NZ at the wrong time of year too! And we had feijoa trees when i was a kid… They are the BEST FRUIT EVER and by god i miss them!

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jedvwzk dfugsw • February 12, 2008 at 1:41 am

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christian • December 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Hello! I bought a Kiwano the other day to try – I just couldn’t resist something that looked so strange! Although I must admit it’s not the most delicious fruit I’ve ever eaten, it was quite OK. I understand what you mean about the “cucumber seed” texture, but mine had a different flavour. It was a little like a banana, but fresher…very interesting, and something that I think would go well in a cocktail (which, I might add, dragon fruit does very well too) :-)

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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