Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tropical fruits

A couple weeks back, before we got another 2 feet of snow in early March (seriously, what's the deal with this winter that won't die?), I decided to go a little crazy -- or as crazy as boring ol' me ever gets -- and load up my basket at Hy-Vee's tropical fruit sale.

When I arrived at the grocery store early Saturday morning, one of the produce guys was stacking these little monsters on the display shelf.  I asked what in the world was this spiky fruit, and how are you supposed to eat it.  He told me it's a hairy lychee. You don't eat the peel (or is it the hair?). Instead, you split the shell open and eat the fruit in the center.  He offered me a sample, and after I popped it in my mouth, he warned me: "Don't bite down! There's a pit."  So there's actually not much fruit involved, just "hair."  And no, it doesn't actually have the texture of hair; more prickly like a hair brush.  Still fun to eat, though.

Split the shell, then eat the fruit. But don't bite into the pit!
What I was actually looking for was the dragon fruit, which was also on sale.  Several years back, when I was fortunate enough to take a work trip to China, I remember they served sliced dragon fruit at every meal.  It's such an alien-looking fruit.  My husband couldn't believe that there was a fruit with white and black polka dots.

Maybe it looks a little like a dragon if you use your imagination.

Dragon fruit's white and black interior with a hot pink peel.
 I have to admit, the dragon fruit wasn't quite a sweet as I remembered.  Maybe because in China, they don't use a lot of sugar in their meals, so the dragon fruit tasted sweet after going a week without eating a cookie?  More likely, I think it wasn't quite ripe.  It should taste a lot like a kiwi.

On my way to the checkout aisle, one of the store employees recommended I try the star fruit too.  It sure was fun to cut up at home. Look how cute it is? But again, I would say it wasn't my favorite; it didn't have a lot of flavor,  and I couldn't figure out if I was supposed to eat the peel or not. It's kind of impossible to take the peel off, unless you are really good at cutting around the star-shaped angles.

So have you ever tried any of these tropical fruits?  What did you think?  And do you know, was I eating the star fruit wrong?  I sure loved the display of tropical fruits at the local Hy-Vee store.  It was a nice reprieve from the snowy weather outside.


  1. I tried a Korean melon with my daughter who is going to Korea. It was crisp, moist and almost tasteless. I was expecting more flavor or sweetness, but I liked it anyway. I need to try more of these "foreign" fruits. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I used to do a fruit tasting when I taught and star fruit was one we tried. Not much flavor, I agree but fun to look at. I did the work to peel them b/c I didn't check to see if it was edible or not! My students were always so shocked when tasting fresh coconut, they couldn't believe it wasn't sweet! The other two you picked were new to me, I'll have to try them.


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