Exotica – Fruits from Far Away Places
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple introduced to the readers of the Healthy Healing Eats blog in January 2020. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
The sun was rising on another beautiful day in the Bay. Annie cleaned up the breakfast dishes, “LJ, how soon will you be ready to leave for the farmer’s market?”
“I need to finish taking inventory of what we’re going to need give me about twenty more minutes. Bring your backpack this time; I’ve got new recipes I want to try we’re probably going to buy more than the usual.”
As they set out on the thirty-minute walk, Annie asked, “what are the recipes you’re thinking about?”
LJ laughed, “I’ve been on a culinary trip around the world since we still can’t do any physical traveling, and I’ve come across several that look and sound delicious, but some of the ingredients are from far away places. I hope we can find one or two of these exotic fruits today.”
As they approached the market, they noticed a booth with a sign, Exotica – Fruits from Far Away Places.
“Wow, LJ, it appears the universe is working in your favor. Look at those amazing fruits. Let’s start there.”
They walked over to the booth. The vendor greeted them, “Are you familiar with my fruits? Let me know if you have any questions, and we have free samples.”
“None of them look familiar. Do you mind educating us?”
The farmer picked up a deep purple fruit with a green cap about the size of a tangerine and cut it open. Inside was a bright white pulp. As he offered a sample, he explained that it was “Mangosteen, “the queen of fruit, originally from Southeast Asia, but now being grown in the U.S. Notice the sweet and sour taste? It is high in fiber (gut health), calcium (weight loss), magnesium (mood booster), vitamin C (heart health), and B (good eyesight). They are usually eaten like you would an orange, section by section, but watch out for large seeds; they should be thrown out.”
Annie pointed to a beautiful fuchsia red papaya shaped fruit with spiky green leaves covering its skin. One was sliced open, and they could see its white flesh dotted with black seeds.
“This must be Dragon Fruit LJ. It’s so beautiful.”
He tasted it. “This is really good; it has a texture and tastes like a cross between a kiwi and a pear.”
“Really? Okay, we must buy some because, according to my quick research, dragon fruit, also known as Pitahaya, is a low-calorie, high-fiber fruit full of Iron (blood booster), magnesium, vitamins C and E (slows aging). It has zero fat and 3 grams of protein.”
Next to the dragon fruit were fresh Acai Berries.
“LJ, we’ve been adding dried acai to our power bowls, but I want to try fresh.” She was offered a sample, “This is intense, and it tastes good at the same time. I remember that it is also a high-nutrient fruit. I read that eating acai berries contribute to brain health. Let’s buy some.”
The vendor pointed to Cupuacu. “This is Brazil’s national fruit. As you can see, it is brown on the outside, but has a creamy flesh inside that tastes like a blend of chocolate and pineapple. Most people drink its juice, which is also used to sweeten ice cream. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and the B’s (limits inflammation), and the seeds are used to make cupualte, which tastes like chocolate but is healthier.
You might want to also try Pomelo. This giant pod is also called Chinese Grapefruit. But its much sweeter. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber (healthy gut), potassium (blood pressure stabilizer) copper (brain health), and protein. It’s low in calories, high in fiber and protein. Pomelo also contains lycopene, the anti-inflammatory antioxidant.”
They bought Mangosteens, Dragon Fruit and one each of Cupuacu and Pomelo. They turned to leave and stopped at the sight of a pile of golden-colored spiky fruit in the back of the booth.
“Wow, what a smell. Excuse me, do you mind telling us what this is?”
“It’s Durian, “the king of fruits,” grown mainly in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some say it smells like hell but tastes like heaven. Here have a sample, you can eat it raw, but its seeds need to be cooked. LJ tasted it. “It has a custard texture. The taste is a combination of musky and sweet. I can see it used to make a dessert.”
“Okay, but I want to know its nutritional profile. Sir, do you have that information?”
“Yes, it is a high-nutrient, fiber-rich fruit loaded with vitamins C and B6, as well as manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper, and thiamine (converts carbs to energy). It’s high in calories and has a high glycemic index, so be careful!”
“What do you think, LJ? The smell is pungent, but maybe we should give it a try?”
LJ thoughtfully paused and…