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Did you know these fruits existed?

 

Photo by Suvarn licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

When you hear the word fruit you probably think of oranges, apples or bananas, but did you know there is a whole world of delicious fruits out there that you may have never even heard of? Check out our list of lesser known fruits that may or may not be available in your local grocery store.

1. Rambutan

A whole big pile of Rambutan fruit

Photo by 16:9clue licensed CC BY 2.0

The word rambut means hair in Indonesian and Malay so rambutan means hairy things, which is exactly what these fruits are...hairy things! Once you split open the outer ‘hairy’ soft shell the sweet fruit is hiding inside. Rambutan grow in Southeast Asia on rambutan trees of course!

2. Salak

A bushel of salak on a table

Photo by Tatters licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Also known as snake fruit because of its shiny, scaly, snake-like skin. The fruit under the skin has a crunchy texture and tastes kind of like an apple. Snake fruit is found mostly in Indonesia and Malaysia. 

3. Tamarind

A handful of Tamarind pods, some with the tangy fruit inside exposed

Photo by Mal.Smith licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Once fully ripened, tamarind pods can be cracked open to reveal a dark and chewy pulp surrounding a hard dark seed. Once you remove the chewy bit from the pod you can carefully eat the pulp off the seed without biting down on the seed, ouch! It’s sweet and sour and weirdly contains calcium so it’s good for your bones! Tamarind is found all over the tropical parts of the world and is used a lot in Indian cooking and desserts.

4. Dragon Fruit

A bright pink dragon fruit, halved

Photo by arsheffield licensed CC BY-NC 2.0

Also known as pitahaya, this fruit comes in three varieties: bright purple, white and yellow. Even though it has such a vibrant colour, the taste is very bland. It is slightly sweet and crunchy because of all of the little black seeds (like a kiwi fruit). Dragon fruit is popular in Southeast Asia, Australia, Israel and the United States.

5. Durian

A man cuts into a durian that's bigger than his hand

Photo by kodomut licensed CC BY 2.0

Known as the ‘King of Fruits’ in Southeast Asia, durian is also known as the smelliest fruit. People either love or hate this giant fruit because of its unique smell. The odour actually makes some people feel sick and is described as rotten onions or raw sewage. In Singapore it is not allowed to be taken on public buses or trains! If you can get past the smell, it has a custard like texture that is also kind of nutty tasting.

6. Mangosteen

A bowl of mangosteen with one cut open

Photo by mttsndrs licensed CC BY-NC 2.0

This fruit is also from Southeast Asia, surprise! Under the thick, dark purple skin are several lobes of tender, almost floral and sweet fruit that is similar in texture to the rambutan (see above) or lychee fruit. 

7. Kiwano (African Horned Melon)

Two kiwanos, one is cut in half to show its green seeds inside

Wikimedia/Public Domain

This fruit is originally from Africa but is now also grown in some parts of the United States, Australia and New Zealand. It is a member of the melon and cucumber family, has a tart taste and a similar texture to cucumbers because of the slimy seeds...yum?!

8. Jackfruit

A couple of large jackfruits on a tree

Photo by Sergey Yeliseev licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Popular in India and you guessed it...Southeast Asia! Jackfruit is even bigger than a durian and looks similar but with smaller spikes. When cooked, this fruit takes on a similar texture to meat so many vegetarians are using this in recipes as a meat replacement.

9. Sugar/Custard Apple

A halved sugar apple with its custard-like flesh shown

Wikimedia/Muhammad Mahdi Karim/GFDL 1.2 

This fruit comes from Central and South America but is also found in the West Indies and Asia. The flesh of this fruit also has a custard like texture and sweet, creamy, fragrant flavour.

10. Akebi

A bunch of purple akebi

Photo by misawakatsutoshi licensed CC BY 2.0

This mysterious fruit comes from northern Japan and you probably won’t find it anywhere else. It has only been made popular in the last 20 years or so and is usually only available for two weeks in autumn. Apparently it doesn’t have much flavour but people like to try it because it is so rare!