Exotic fruit introduces fruit lovers to sights, aromas and tastes of fruits from places as exotic as the fruit. Try a completely alien-looking fruit on its own or in a recipe. What constitutes an exotic fruits can depend on the observer. Some fruits like kiwi–once considered peculiar for its hairy skin--have found their way into the mainstream.
A native fruit to Peru, pepino melon, also called treemelon and mellowfruit, is shaped like a teardrop. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes pepino’s smooth skin as alternating purple and yellow stripes. If you find pepino still pale yellow or greenish, allow it to ripen at room temperature. The fruit will feel like a ripe plum when ready. Keep ripe pepinos in the refrigerator up to three days. The fruit’s taste is something like cantaloupe and honeydew.
Robert Schueller, the director for Melissa's / World Variety Produce of Los Angeles, describes cherimoya as looking "like a big, green grenade." Cherimoya grows in South America and California. Green textured on the outside, ripe cherimoya, called “moya” in Latin grocers, have a custard-like flesh. Eat this South American native with a spoon right out of the skin. Throw away the inedible black seeds. Schueller describes the fruit’s flavor as a mixture of banana, pineapple, a hint of mango and papaya.
Derived from the Malaysian word for hairy, rambutan makes an uncomfortable first impression. Rambutan has reddish-brown spikes that look more dangerous than they are. The spikes, according to Manhattan Fruitiers, are soft to the touch. Everything about rambutan is soft. The fruit’s interior is white, juicy and sweet. Rambutan is a member of the lychee family.
Some may appreciate a fruit that looks like its name. Uglis are native to Jamaica and also grow in the United States. Described by the CDC as discolored, pock-marked and odd-shaped, ugli is a sweet fruit with citrus flavor. They are easy to peel and taste like the best of tangerines, grapefruit and Seville oranges, the CDC says.
- cherimoya image by Carpenter from Fotolia.com