Everyone has heard of bananas, apples, and oranges. But have you ever had a Chicofruit, Pomelo, or a Quince? Here is a list of some of the more obscure fruits in the United States, complete with a background on the fruit and some health information, and some places that you can find them.
Technically defined as an aggregate fruit, boysenberries are an artificial cross of four berries occurring in nature: a raspberry, a blackberry, a dewberry, and a loganberry. Traditionally used in jams and pies, boysenberries rarely are sold in the United States due to their short shelf life. You can find these maroon berries, which are high in Vitamin C and dietary fiber, in farmers markets and home gardens.
This green-skinned fruit, which is white on the inside, comes mainly from Latin America, specifically Peru, Columbia, Bolivia, and Peru. Americans don’t know of this fruit because of the finicky growing preferences. It’s eaten like an apple, or scooped out with a spoon, depending upon preference. The cherimoya, which is naturally a good source of Vitamin C, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber, is generally found in and around California.
The chico fruit, which is low in calories and contains trace amounts of most vitamins and minerals, has shown anti-diabetic, antioxidant, and cholesterol-lowering effects in rats, and believed to have the same results in humans. To find these fruits, look overseas– many of the fruits must be shipped from abroad. Very few farmers grow them in the United States because of their particular growing environments.
Native to arctic tundras, this amber colored fruit is tart when ripe and has a consistency of yogurt when over-ripe. This berry, which is considered a delicacy in Sweden, Finland, and Norway, is made into jams, jellies, and liqueurs. Although cloudberries were traditionally only harvested from wild plants, the Norwegian government has been working on producing harvested varieties, as the cloudberry survives in areas where other plants can’t. If you’re looking for the cloudberry in the United States, look to Canada or Alaska, where the fruit grows wild.
This plum-like fruit, which is native to the Mediterranean, is less sweet than many other plums. The damson is a crucial ingredient in many jams, jellies, and liqueurs. The fruit, which made its way to the United States in the late 1800’s, can only be found in farmers markets and home gardens.
This “superfood,” which is native to South America, is a water-rich food commonly found in South America or Asia. The dragonfruit has the qualities of a superfood in that it lowers cholesterol, improves digestion, boosts energy, and can help with weight loss. Many eat the dragonfruit like you would a kiwi, although some American brands, like VitaminWater and SoBe, have added them to their drinks. Outside of these drinks, you can find dragonfruits in the United States in and around South Florida and in some Asian grocery markets.
Native to Southeast Asia, this fruit, which contains a smattering of vitamins and minerals is unique in that it is covered in thorns and has an exceedingly strong scent. Used in many traditional Southeast Asian dishes, you can find a durian in many conventional Asian markets and through online retailers.
Also known as the guavasteen, this fruit gets cut in half, and the insides scooped out with a spoon to eat or boiled and eaten on top of vanilla ice cream (as is traditional in New Zealand.) If you want to find a feijoa in the United States, try growing a small garden with a feijoa tree in it, as many retailers do not sell the feijoa tree in the US.
The jujube fruit, which contains nearly 90 percent of your daily Vitamin C intake, is traditionally eaten with coffee. The jujube is found everywhere from Jamaica to Europe and even gets a mention in the Quran. The jujube is an ingredient in many Asian delicacies.
This citrus fruit, which grows on the kumquat tree, is native to China and Japan. The kumquat, which is smaller and harder than a traditional orange, was introduced to England and the United States in the 1800’s. Much hardier than other citrus fruits, the kumquat is grown as far south as Arizona and as far north as Massachusetts. It can be found in the United States, unlike many other fruits on this list. The kumquat, with all of its essential oils, is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-cancer properties.
This fruit, which has a taste of mango, peach, and citrus, is commonly found in Asia and Australia and can be grown not only as a fruit-bearing tree but also as an ornamental plant. Over 800 varieties of the fruit exist, and many wind up in jellies, jams, chutneys, fruit cups, candies, wine, and pies or tarts. Nutritionally, the loquat is high in manganese and vitamin A and low in saturated fat. If you are on the hunt for a loquat in the United States, you can find them anywhere from online retailers to specialty stores, although they are not often found in commercial markets because of how fast they decay.