Exotic fruits pack flavor and nutrients

WASHINGTON — Take a walk through the produce section of your local grocery store, and you’re likely to see all sorts of strange-looking new fruits and vegetables.

Lean Plate Club™ blogger Sally Squires says many of them come from overseas — predominantly South and Central America and Asia. Some of her favorites include cherimoya, longan, finger lime, horned melon, loquat, mangosteen and rambutan. Some, you may have heard of — such as passion fruit, jack fruit, or dragon fruit.

All these exotic varieties are generally low in calories and full of nutrients, just like the fruits and veggies with which you’re more familiar.

One of her favorites, the cherimoya, is native to Ecuador and Peru, and grown in Chile and Southern California. It has a great taste, kind of a sweet custard-like banana-pineapple combination that’s packed with potassium and about half a day’s worth of vitamin C.

Horned melon, another top pick, also is known as kiwano, jelly melon or blowfish fruit. It’s very popular in Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Finger lime, sometimes referred to as citrus caviar, is native to Australia. The fruit tastes like a combination of lemon, lime and hint of herbs.

Longans, an Asian fruit similar to lychees, also are called dragon’s eyes. They are sweet and juicy with a hint of muskiness, with more than a day’s worth of vitamin C and a little fiber, too.

You’ll still be able to find the fruits and vegetables from your childhood but now have more options, Squires said. But, some of these exotic fruits are not in season all year long, so they could be expensive.

Amazon can deliver some of this exotic produce if you have trouble finding it, she said. Fruit lovers can find more information on Friedas.com, the website of a California specialty market.

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