lychees

Apples, oranges, bananas, blah. Well, maybe not blah (delicious, in fact!)… but certainly not different. No doubt you have eaten an army of such fruits in your lifetime. Instead, juice up your fruit routine with any of these more off-the-wall choices. Keep a lookout for them at your farmers markets or grocery stores, or seek them out at specialty markets that feature the tropical wonders. By summer’s end, you will have traveled the world with your tastebuds.

1. Dragon Fruit – This funky-looking fruit has a bright fuchsia peel covered with green spikes. The sweet, mellow flesh inside will be white, pink or red with little black seeds, slightly reminiscent of kiwifruit. Choose the brightest colored dragon fruits with hot pink flesh for the highest nutritional content – and for the prettiest breakfast spread.

2. Kumquat – Kumquat trees can be found all over So Cal, and this citrus fruit resembles a tiny oval orange. About the size of a large olive, the kumquat is usually eaten raw, the sweet skin providing a delicious contrast to the tart center. If it’s too tart, just eat the rind – or try kumquat marmalade on your toast for a sweeter interpretation.

3. Quince – The more ancient cousin of the apple, quince has a yellow-gold color and is shaped like a large pear. But don’t eat it like a pear – quince must be cooked. Naturally high in pectin, quince makes fantastic jams and jellies, and you can also substitute it for apple in your favorite pie or tart recipe.

4. Pomelo – Native to Southeast Asia, the pomelo is a large pale green citrus fruit with a thick rind and juicy pulp inside. Similar in taste to a grapefruit, the pomelo is a bit larger and can be eaten the same way – sliced in half and scooped – or just peel away the rind as you would an orange.

5. Feijoa – From South America comes the feijoa, also known as the pineapple guava, and indeed the fruit might remind you of its cousin, the guava. Great in smoothies, the feijoa has a complex taste and strong aroma. Eat it by slicing the fruit in half and then scooping out the flesh with a spoon.

6. Cherimoya – Cherimoya is a bigger green oval fruit that Mark Twain called “the most delicious fruit known to men.” Once the fruit is ripe and the outer rind begins to brown, cut it in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon – or better yet, freeze each half and enjoy an icy summer treat.

7. Passionfruit – Passionfruit juice cocktails have been growing in popularity around the States, but the sweet, seedy fruit can also be eaten straight-up. Inside the dark purple flesh, you will find a soft-to-firm interior with lots of seeds and plenty of juice. Let yours wrinkle on the ends just a tiny bit before eating.

8. Lychee – Another fruit that has recently hit the cocktail scene with full force, lychees have been around for over 4,000 years and were cultivated in ancient China as a delicacy for the Imperial Court. Crack open the thin outer shell to reveal the super sweet, globular white fruit inside. Eat the fruit but be careful not to eat the seed that lives inside.

9. Ugli Fruit – Don’t feel sorry for Ugli fruit; its funny name has helped the oddly-shaped citrus catch on. Derived from the wild Jamaican tangelo, a cross-breed of an orange, tangerine and grapefruit, this tart fruit with a zingy flavor is a fun and funky alternative to the orange.

image: I’m George