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Lick the produce: What nice melons you have!

Every month I eat fruits and vegetables that I’ve never tried before. Well, I did eat new fruits and vegetables every month until I ate my way through the Kroger produce section. I’ve been on the lookout for exotic fruits or oddly colored vegetables, but it’s taken me four months to collect three new items. Never fear, though! I recently located an international supermarket that sells such oddities as corn and cheese flavored ice cream from Asia. They have all sorts of scary, prickly, fruits and vegetables that I can try or die trying (hopefully they don’t have any poisonous bits). Until then, here are my three latest discoveries from Kroger and Trader Joe’s.

Casaba Melon

Casaba melon

The casaba melon looks like a yellow pumpkin in this picture, mostly because I have a crappy camera. All the food bloggers at BlogHer had fancy schmancy cameras that would make this casaba melon look so tasty you would leave rainbow colored drops of saliva on your computer screen. I have a point and shoot camera and little interest in digital photography, so this is what you get.

Casaba melon

I like to say “casaba” and I liked eating the casaba melon. It tasted predictably melon-like, similar to a honeydew. It was easy to slice through, juicy, and perfectly ok. Not exceptionally good, but not bad either. I’ll probably stick to cantaloupe though. My cat, Krupke, loves to lick the rinds of cantaloupe, but could not be bothered to swipe his tongue across the casaba rind. Humans – thumbs up. Cats – paws down.

Pepino melon

Pepino melon

I like to say “pepino,” but alas I did not like to eat the pepino melon, which did not look melon-like at all. I bit into it expecting a sweet, citrus fruit and had a soggy, cucumber experience instead. Wikipedia says it’s supposed to be sweet, so it’s possible my pepino was not ripe enough. I don’t care enough to try it again though, and this pepino landed in the trash after two bites. Next time I’ll just take a couple bucks out of my purse and rip them up to throw confetti off the balcony. That would surely be more fun.

Passion fruit

Passion fruit

I’ve seen passion fruit on juice box labels and as a bubble gum flavor, but I’d never actually had a passion fruit. I bit into it expecting a sweet, citrus fruit and I had a sweet, citrus fruit experience. At least some fruits meet my expectations. It was a little messy though, like other passionate experiences. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) It’s always fun to eat purple foods too, like eggplant or purple cauliflower. Still, I’ll probably stick to buying whatever fruits are cheap and in season rather than buying exotic treats like this.

Passion fruit

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34 Comments

shannon • August 11, 2008 at 8:06 am

Passion fruit is best eaten with a spoon :)

cut it in half, then scoop the insides out with a spoon. Yummy!

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maggieapril • August 11, 2008 at 8:23 am

Last Spring I went to a presentation at our local botanical garden given by Chris Rollins, manager of the Tropical Fruit and Spice Park (http://miamifruitandspicepark.com) in South Florida. He had samples of all kinds of exotic looking fruit. I was surprised (and disappointed) to find that many of the fruits they grow in the park, that are popular in other countries, were not sweet. Must be an American misconception.

I’m lucky to live in a semi-tropical climate and grow bananas, mangos, citrus, and pineapples in my back yard. Not super exotic, but super sweet.

One vegetable I love that you may not have tried is yucca. It is similar in calories to the potato. I will have to remember to add the recipe to my bog.

Good luck with your quest!

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The Dieting Ninja • August 11, 2008 at 8:36 am

You should try a Galia melon, if there are still any in your area. Mmm, MMM.

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MizFit • August 11, 2008 at 8:43 am

huh.

I cant decide if the pic makes me more or less likely to try a passion fruit….

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nicole • August 11, 2008 at 9:24 am

Shannon is right – you don’t eat the skin! Just eat the inside pulp. It is great on yogurt, in smoothies and milkshakes and as a “dressing” for fruit salad.

The other perfect and classic Australian use for passionfruit (which grows on a vine and once it takes off is quite prolific in the backyard garden) is to drizzle the pulp over strawberries and cream on the top of a pavlova, a delicate and yummy dessert! Not a diet dessert but yummy when strawberries and passionfruit are in season in summer.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/14966/pavlova

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Christine • August 11, 2008 at 9:50 am

Oooh I want to try passionfruit. I’ve had passionfruit in tropical punch or passionfruit yogurt, but I’ve never just had a passionfruit.

It’s hard though, to try new fruits. How do you know when they’re ripe? Google, I suppose.

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megan • August 11, 2008 at 10:32 am

Passionfruit is great in juice. Also, you were right on with the pepino melon. In Spanish, pepino means cucumber. But I’m sure that it wasn’t that tasty. Who wants fruit that tastes like vegetables?

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Ashley • August 11, 2008 at 11:07 am

Casaba melon must be in season because I found one at my farmer’s market last week too! I, too, had never tried one, so I bought it and finally tasted it on Sunday. I don’t really like honeydew melon that much, so finding something that tasted like a honeydew melon, but less sweet, was pretty much a big disappointment. I came to the came conclusion you did; I’m sticking with cantaloupe.

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PastaQueen • August 11, 2008 at 11:14 am

@megan Doh! I should have figured that out. “The Dance of the Cucumber” is one of my favorite Silly Songs by Larry from VeggieTales. One of the lyrics is “Miran el pepino.” Pepino = cucumber. I knew the word sounded familiar.

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Shanna • August 11, 2008 at 11:42 am

I am still stuck on cheese & corn flavored ice cream!! Ewwww!!!

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debby • August 11, 2008 at 11:48 am

Thanks for experimenting for us! I hate wasting money on fruit I don’t like. But at least I have chickens to feed bad fruit to…

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Dub • August 11, 2008 at 11:56 am

Passionfruit are delicious when ripe. The only kind I’ve seen here (The UK) are ripe when they are very wrinkled – like lime-sized raisins.

Don’t eat the skin, just cut the fruit in half, scoop out the insides with a teaspoon and eat it as is, or use it with yogurt, ice-cream etc – it’s a very fragrant, citrus-y taste.

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PastaQueen • August 11, 2008 at 12:02 pm

@Shanna – I’m tempted to buy some just to report on its grossness.

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Danielle Michael • August 11, 2008 at 12:37 pm

I just have to tell you that my all time FAVORITE, would give ANYTHING to have one, and of course I crave it while I’m pregnant, because it cannot be obtained within these United States is the Mangosteen….queen of fruit. Yummmm. It’s southest asian, but if you ever should get a chance….yum…

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Princess Dieter • August 11, 2008 at 1:05 pm

“Pepino” is the Spanish word for cucumber, so not at all surprised it tasted like one. :)

I will not want to try it, though. I’d rather pay cucumber prices for cucumber.

And that passionfruit looks sincerely disgusting. I can say I have not “desire” for it. Bleh.

The Princess

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Dom • August 11, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Hi! You’ve inspired me to start The South Beach Diet! I weigh in on Saturday, but am already feeling better. I wondered if you could write a blog on your ‘top tips’ for SBD?

I’m sure it wouldn’t just be me who would love to read it!

Keep up the excellent writing, you rock!

D x

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fd • August 11, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I was also going to suggest the mangosteen! So delicate, so amazing. Am surprised you can’t find it in the US, it can be found in some odd remote places in Europe (although it doesn’t then really taste the same). Also, if you’re feeling really BRAVE source yourself a durian-never made it past the smell myself. For veggies there are lots of interesting leafy greens, related to broccoli and dandelions that are super tasty. And different types of bean…Probably have to go to farmers markets for those.

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Fit Bottomed Girl • August 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm

I always wonder how you eat some of those exotic fruits in the grocery store. Thanks for sharing your experience! It’s always fun to try something new, even if it’s just virtually. ;)

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The Baroness • August 11, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Mmmm, tasty post!!

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barbara • August 11, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Hmmm. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that anything that has the words ICE CREAM in the name… would somehow be good, even if it sounds gross? :)

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Alex • August 11, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Wow I’ve never had a passion fruit! I need to try one!

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Lisa • August 11, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Can’t speak for cheese and corn ice cream, but I have had corn ice cream before at a restaurant. It was freakin’ FANTASTIC. And strangely, corny!

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rg • August 11, 2008 at 7:34 pm

regular mangosteen can be hard to find (I found either that or rambutan once; they let me try one in the store (yes, I asked) and I found it no better than the lychees which they had for 1/4 the price.) But- Trader Joe’s has dried (freeze-dried?) mangosteen and rambutan. I keep thinking I’ll buy them once I run out of the excellent fresh summer fruit.

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Shelley • August 11, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Yes now I need to go find a passion fruit to try! I’ve never had one either! I love melons so Casaba will be on my list. Thanks!

Many Blessings,

shelley

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Colin • August 11, 2008 at 10:14 pm

FD makes it out to be scary, but Durian is THE BEST. You can find it frozen in Asian markets, or, if you’re super lucky, maybe a store in your area has fresh ones. The smell has tones of garlic and onion in it, but the taste is creamy custard. Initial reactions tend to be horrified, but you DO get the hang of it with repeated exposures.. after all, it’s not the most popular fruit in the world ’cause it’s absolutely barking nasty. The “learning curve” does make it fun to try out on friends, though, once you’re used to it.

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Kyle • August 11, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Was the pepino melon from Chile? I see someone already beat me to the reason it tasted like cucumber. That fruit is pretty popular here, but I have to admit that I don’t love it, even when ripe. I don’t think it’s particularly sweet either so maybe in this case Wikipedia is just wrong.

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PastaQueen • August 11, 2008 at 11:09 pm

@Kyle – My picture is blurry, but the sticker looks like it says Ecuador.

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Marshmallow • August 11, 2008 at 11:25 pm

What the? Since when do you bite into a passion fruit? I was under the presumption that you cut them in half, and ate the insides with a spoon – and don’t eat the skin?

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Marshmallow • August 11, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Hmmm… not sure why my comment hasn’t appeared – but essentially, you’re not supposed to bite into passionfruit.

Here’s a link that has some Q&A about passionfruit:

http://www.passionfruit.org.nz/Consumer_FAQs.htm

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ginna • August 12, 2008 at 5:47 am

Try a chermoya. Cut it in half and scoop. When they are ripe, they taste sort of like a cross between a banana and a pineapple.

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Ash from Australia • August 12, 2008 at 11:42 pm

Surely you did not bite into the passion fruit?! They have to be cut in half with a sharp knife and then you use a small spoon to scrape the deliciousness out.

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Lori • August 13, 2008 at 11:29 am

My first time commenting, but I thought I’d get in on the passion fruit discussion. It is all over the place here in Brazil – maracuja. Maracuja mousse is one of my favorite desserts.

We have the yellow variety though. They are very tart. It is also known to calm you down and make you sleepy.

I love it mixed in with yogurt including the crunchy seeds. I went to a yoga class a few weeks ago and we had maracuja tea. It doesn’t have any tea in it, but you drink it warm. Take a pot of water, add the pulp of the fruit and a few pieces of ginger, and some sugar if you need it. Boil for a while and then pour thought a strainer. It is a great drink for a cozy evening.

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Lars • August 16, 2008 at 9:28 pm

A bit of casaba melon trivia: In the movie “Psycho”, Hitchcock used the sound of a knife plunging into a casaba melon for the stabbing in the shower scene. Neat, huh?

And I hate passion fruit. I find the taste absolutely horrible.

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Kiki • December 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm

I love Lick the Produce. It’s always fun to see what you pick up. Passion fruit makes an absolutely heavenly (but expensive) jam. Just the fruit pulp, some sugar, and a little water simmered until they are thick, and you’ll think you died and went to heaven. I think I’m going to start growing them just to get my fix.

Two words:

FRESH FIGS.

Nothing like ‘em. They taste kind of like Fig Newtons only, you know, real.

Oh, and actual dragonfruit – really flavorless and not worth the expense. You’d probably get more enjoyment from kindergarten paste.

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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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