Organic vegetables. Healthy food. Fresh organic melothria scabra or sour gherkin, mouse watermelon in farmers hands
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New Fruits You're Suddenly Seeing at the Grocery Store

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Organic vegetables. Healthy food. Fresh organic melothria scabra or sour gherkin, mouse watermelon in farmers hands
samael334/istockphoto

You Don't Know Jack(fruit)

Grocery stores are always evolving, and these days grocers attract customers to the produce section with unusual offerings beyond apples and oranges. Specialty stores, such as Asian grocers, are even better sources for exotic fruits, which can benefit your diet. “Generally speaking, eating foods that are not a regular part of your diet can increase consumption of nutrients that you may not be getting elsewhere,” says New York-based dietitian Jessica Levinson. “It’s also good for your gut health to have a diverse diet.” Here are the most unusual fruits you might spot in the grocery store — and how to prepare them once you get them home.


Related: Which Fruits and Veggies Go Bad the Quickest and Which Last the Longest?

Saucer with pineberries on a gray background
olivia-sunny/istockphoto

Pineberries

Pineberries are the size and shape of strawberries, but instead of the typical red, they have a white or blush tone. They tastes a bit like strawberries with hints of pineapple. “Pineberries are very similar to red strawberries when it comes to nutrition. A filling, low-calorie food, they are also a good source of folic acid, phosphorus, and vitamin C,” says Harris-Pincus. “Enjoy them the same way you would strawberries. They are especially gorgeous on cakes, charcuterie boards and avocado toast, as well as in parfaits, salads, cereal, smoothie bowls, and cocktails.”


Related: What the Heck Is a Pineberry? Here’s What the Latest Fruit Fad Is All About

Prickly pear
brebca/istockphoto

Prickly Pear

This fruit’s name nods to its shape rather than its relationship to the more familiar pear. The “prickly” part is accurate enough, though. It grows on a cactus and can often have bumps or spines just like the cacti that produces it. With that in mind, the fruit’s red or green peel should be removed before eating. However, the flesh inside is quite sweet. When used in jams, juices, and candies the prickly pear’s bright red peel is often lends products an appealing pink color. It’s high in vitamin C and fiber, and the fruit may be useful in reducing inflammation.

star fruit
TiSanti/istockphoto

Carambola

With its five-pointed shape, the carambola earns the nickname “star fruit.” Both the flesh and skin of the yellow/green fruit are edible, and the pulp has a slightly sour flavor. As with most fruits, it's a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. The carambola can be eaten on its own when ripe, as well as used in pies, puddings, stews, curries, jams, and chutneys. It can also be juiced, but it makes an especially attractive topping to salads and granola bowls given its attractive shape.


Related: 11 Inexpensive Ways to Get More Vitamin D

Healty Kiwano Fruit
cheche22/istockphoto

Kiwano

With its orange, spiky rind, it’s no wonder this African fruit is also known as a horned melon or horned cucumber. The latter nickname hints at its mild, refreshing flavor. The kiwano’s flesh is lime green and filled with a network of seeds. Perhaps surprisingly, horned melon has a high amount of protein compared to other fruits. The rind is edible, but its appearance makes it formidable. If you find the skin appealing, cut off the spikes before consuming it. Most people stick to the pulp inside and eat it fresh or by spooning it onto yogurt.

Fresh gragon fruit slice and cubic on wooden table
Dokmaihaeng/istockphoto

Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit lives up to its name with a fiery magenta pink exterior with green scales. Inside, the pulp is white and dotted with black seeds. Native to Mexico and South America, the fruit comes from a cactus. Despite its fierce appearance, it has a subtle flavor that’s slightly sweet. It’s a great source of nutrients, including fiber, cancer fighting carotenoids, magnesium, and heart-healthy lycopene. It can be peeled and eaten fresh on its own, or on top of desserts, fish, or salads.

Fresh ripe jackfruit. Fresh sweet jackfruit segment ready for eat.
Anantaradhika/istockphoto

Jackfruit

Hailing from Asia, Africa, and South America, jackfruit is the largest fruit that grows on a tree. The largest jackfruit weighed in at a whopping 94 pounds. The fruit’s bumpy green rind opens to reveal yellow flesh that’s shaped in bulbs. It’s a good source of potassium, fiber, and antioxidants, which benefit heart health. Jackfruit can be eaten raw, but its fibrous pulp, which approximates the texture of fall-off-the-bone tender pork, has also made it a popular meat substitute in dishes such as tacos and barbecue sandwiches, and canned jackfruit is available in many markets, including Trader Joe’s. 


Related: The Best Snacks at Trader Joe’s

longan fruit
peterzsuzsa/istockphoto

Longan

This tropical fruit is a relative of the lychee and tastes a lot like it, too. There’s not much pulp to this grape-sized fruit, especially when accounting for the tough, tan shell outside and the large, dark seed inside. One serving of longan provides a full day’s dose of vitamin C. It can be served fresh, dried, or canned. These preparations lend it a great deal of versatility; it can be blended in a smoothie, cooked in a curry, or used in tea, to name a few of its uses.

Sapodilla fruit
NoDerog/istockphoto

Sapodilla

Native to Mexico but also cultivated in Central America, the West Indies, Bermuda, the Philippines, and even the Florida Keys, this fruit is a rare find at conventional grocery stores. Head to a specialty store instead. Its fuzzy brown skin and smooth, flat seeds are both indigestible, but its flesh is delicious — thanks in part to being high in fructose and sucrose. According to Levinson, sapodilla is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. “Sapodillas can be eaten simply scooped out of the skin with a spoon, but in Asia they are also commonly found in smoothies, ice cream, pies, pancakes, and muffins, or turned into jam,” she says.

close up rambutan fruit
pinkomelet/istockphoto

Rambutan/Chom Chom

Rambutans may look like a fantasy world creation, but they’re native to Southeast Asia. The tropical tree fruit has a fuzzy, red-orange-green exterior. The exterior cracks under the pressure of a fingernail and can easily be pulled back to reveal the sweet, smooth, white fruit inside. According to Levinson, the almond-shaped seed of rambutans are toxic. Rambutans are usually eaten plain, but they can also top salads, ice cream, yogurt, and other desserts. This cousin of the lychee can also sub in for any recipe that mentions that fruit.

Orange physalis fruit on wooden desk
JackF/istockphoto

Husk Cherry

They may be called “cherries,” but husk cherries aren’t much like cherries in taste or appearance. The small, round, cherry tomato-esque fruits are related to tomatoes and taste more like them, too. However, they also have some citrusy, pineapple tang. “They are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamins C and A, with antioxidants that are associated with reduced risk of some diseases such as cancer and heart disease,” says dietician and nutritionist Lauren Harris-Pincus. “Husk cherries are delicious on their own or added to salsa, salads, cereal, or a fruit cup. Bake them into a pie or fruit cobbler or even grill them on chicken or fish kebabs.”

Organic vegetables. Healthy food. Fresh organic melothria scabra or sour gherkin, mouse watermelon in farmers hands
samael334/istockphoto

Watermelon Gherkin

Watermelon gherkins live up to their name by resembling tiny watermelons with smooth, green-and-white striped skin. They grow on a vine like watermelons, too. The green pulp is dotted with edible seeds. Their flavor bears little similarity to melon; they taste more like cucumbers.

Man's hands holding halves of ripe, sweet, fresh durian fruit. King of fruits.
Daria Kulkova/istockphoto

Durian

You’ll probably smell durian before you see it. The fruit gives off an aroma similar to rotting meat, Limburger cheese, or gym socks. Its stench is so powerful, it’s banned on Singapore Rapid Mass Transit. If you can get beyond the smell, the fruit has a mild, sweet flavor and is an excellent source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and folate, Levinson says. “Durian is used in sweet and savory dishes in Southeast Asia — soups, ice cream, sticky rice, cheesecake,” she says. It’s grown in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Mangosteen fruit on an old turquoise table.
enviromantic/istockphoto

Mangosteen

Mangosteen is a study in contrasts: It has a dark purple (when ripe) rind and a light, white flesh. The rind isn’t edible, so remove it with a serrated knife before consuming the fruit. It has a mild flavor like a banana. Rich in antioxidants, mangosteen can help fight chronic disease and cancer, promote weight loss, and support balanced blood sugar. It can be added to smoothies and fruit salads. It can be juiced or even powdered to make it easier to consume.

Freshly picked ripe Thai Tamarinds.
enviromantic/istockphoto

Tamarind

You’ve likely already eaten tamarind without knowing it; it’s an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. It grows in India and Thailand, but it’s a staple in Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cooking. The fruit grows in pods — like a bean — and combines a citrus tang with notes of brown sugar. It becomes sourer as it ripens. Although it can be eaten raw, tamarind is most often consumed in a paste form that’s added to condiments. Tamarind candy is also popular.

Rose apples
bennyartist/istockphoto

Water Apple

Water apples are 91.6% water, much like watermelons. The white or pink flesh has tasting notes of rose. The juicy fruits have a glossy skin that begins green but turns red when it ripens. Unripe fruit makes its way into jellies or syrups, while ripe fruit can be eaten raw on its own or in fruit salads.

Yellow Organic Buddhas Hand Citrus
bhofack2/istockphoto

Buddha’s Hand

Also known as fingered citron, this tropical fruit has a refreshing citrus taste. It grows in sections that look like fingers splaying out. There’s little flesh beneath the skin, so this fruit is great when used to infuse alcohol for cocktails, candied, or used as a marmalade. Because it’s in the citrus family, it can also serve as a substitute for lemons, limes, and oranges in any recipe calling for their zest.

custard apples on a wooden surface
nito100/istockphoto

Cherimoya

Native to South America, this grapefruit-sized fruit has a scaled exterior that makes it look like an artichoke. Cherimoyas have dark brown seeds that must be removed before eating because they are toxic. The fruit is a rich source of vitamins C and B6, magnesium, potassium, and manganese; they contain more protein than many fruits. Cherimoyas are most often consumed raw or in fruit salads.

Breadfruit with green leaves burred background
M.photostock/istockphoto

Breadfruit

A relative of the jackfruit, breadfruit has a similar size, a bumpy green exterior, and a white pulp interior. When cooked, it tastes like baked bread. The starchy fruit can also taste like potatoes, so it can be used similarly to that starchy vegetable by mashing it, baking it, or slicing and frying it. The fruit grows in the South Pacific and is popular throughout Oceania.

Pandanus tectorius
nty/istockphoto

Hala Fruit

Native to Hawaii, hala fruit looks like a gigantic pinecone or a cousin of the pineapple. The sections of the cones reveal the pulp, which Pacific Islanders chew raw or grind into a paste. The flavor is slightly sweet and grassy, like sugar cane, and mildly citrusy, like mango.