The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about exotic fruits is fruit such as coconuts or passion fruit. But as it turns out, they are commonly found in markets all around the USA and Europe despite being grown in exotic places.
There is a whole world of strange and amazing exotic fruit to be explored from all exotic parts of the globe stretching from the far east of Asia to the jungles of South America. You will surely recognize some but be amazed by many fruits that are out there.
Availability Of Exotic Fruit
It’s no surprise that some fruits aren’t as available to common market simply because some of the factors that go in production and distribution of exotic fruits which include:
- Most of the exotic fruits are of tropical origin and are sensitive to refrigeration. Meaning – they don’t have a long shelf-life.
- Because these fruits are from regions far away from consumer markets and that they have short shelf-life, shipping is only possible by air transport. Which is expensive.
- Many of these fruits are infested with pests which require a legal treatment before shipping.
Taking into consideration these factors, it’s not hard to understand why many of these fruits simply are hard to find at your local store. And, a bit costly, to be honest!
Nonetheless, some exotic fruits, for example, avocados, papayas, mangoes, passion fruit, and others are indeed found in most markets simply because they have been introduced and consumed for more than 40 years in places like the US and Europe.
This means that, if a certain type exotic fruit is introduced in these markets, it will eventually be shipped for those markets if the demand meets the requirements.
Common Exotic Fruits
Some of the exotic fruits that you’re sure to find in your local supermarket include:
- Mango – It originated in southern and Southeast Asia but has also been cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates of the Caribbean, the Americas, Australia, and Africa.
- Papaya – The papaya was first grown in Mexico, South and Central America although nowadays it is cultivated in tropical climates of Brazil, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.
- Coconut – Originally native to Malaysia, Polynesia and Southern Asia but is now rising in popularity among farmers in South America, the Caribbean, India, the Pacific Islands, Hawaii, and Florida.
- Pomegranate – It traces back to the Middle East in areas of Afghanistan and Iran and also in the Himalayas, and was later produced in the Mediterranean and the Caucasus but since the 18th-century Spanish settlers have introduced it into the Americas specifically Latin America and California.
- Pineapple – Originated from South America but is now grown worldwide and the leading region of pineapple production today in Southeast Asia.
- Kiwi – The kiwi is actually native to China but has been cultivated all around the world and especially New Zealand where it got its name from because it resembles the kiwi bird.
Keep in mind that although these fruits aren’t considered much exotic but back in the day when they were first introduced to Europe and America they were looked at as exotic. Some exotic fruits can easily be grown indoors.
The List Of Most Exotic Fruits
Now we’re going to list some of the most exotic and strangest fruits from across the globe and going to name just a few because the list could go on and on. Some of these fruits you’ve maybe never heard of but don’t worry. Neither have I.
- Jackfruit – Indigenous to Southeast Asia this huge and heavy fruit has an unusual appearance and a specific aroma similar to pineapple and the seeds taste like chestnut. It can reach an amazing 55kg in mass and looks like a pear-shaped tennis ball.
- Lychee – It originates from South China but can be found in South Vietnam, parts of Indonesia and the Philippines. It has a hard shell and a bean-shaped seed in the middle but the flesh resembles that of grapes and is used in various delicacies.
- Kiwano – Also called the Horned Melon is an exotic fruit that originates from the Kalahari Desert in Africa but came across to California and New Zealand as well, but considering its bland taste it’s not sure if it’s going to create a huge demand.
- Soursop – It’s grown in Central and Southern America along with the Caribbean but also can be found in Southeast Asia. It resembles strawberries in shape but has thorns on its outer layer and also tastes a bit like strawberries, pineapple with some hints of citrus and even banana.
- Noni – This fruit can be found in Southeast Asia and Australia and what’s unusual about it is that it has a fairly strong odor and is sometimes called the vomit fruit. However, although it’s strong smell might not be appetizing it has some medical benefits to help with fighting cancer and other diseases.
- Mangosteen – It’s indigenous to Southeast Asia and Southwest India but was cultivated in Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Florida as well. Although it’s rare to find it sold in the Western hemisphere, it has been used in traditional medicine in Southeast Asia for centuries.
- Kumquat – This exotic plant was first found in China but was later brought to Japan, Europe and finally to North America in the early 19th century. It’s basically a small orange only two inches in diameter and is eaten whole.
- Star Apple – It is native to Central America and the Caribbean and a green version of the plant is grown in Vietnam. It’s called the star apple because when cut in half the flesh inside is star-shaped and is said to be very sweet.
- Star fruit – It is commonly grown in parts of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia but today it’s also grown and consumed throughout Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Micronesia. The shape of the fruit resembles a star, hence the name star fruit and is considered a delicacy.
These are just a few plants which surely are exquisite and special in every way but there is a whole world of exotic plants out there which I advise you to explore and hope you get a chance to try some of them and see for yourself how exotic they are.
1. Are tropical plants exotic?
Because tropical climate is present in regions where exotic plants are grown they can be considered tropical and both names can be used for the plants that grow there.
This doesn’t mean that some plants which are grown elsewhere should be considered tropical and it’s due to cultivation in regions which don’t have a tropical climate meaning people found out a way to adapt the climate conditions in order to grow those types of fruit.
2. Can I grow exotic fruit in my home?
Some exotic fruit can be grown in a garden but it all depends on the climate you live in and also seasonality because many fruits are harvested once a year.
If you just want to have them as decoration that is okay but if you want to grow them for consumption it can get a bit tricky because they are vulnerable to pests. Not to mention that the seeds might be hard to find and expensive as well.
3. Are all exotic fruits edible?
Most of them are depending on which part of the fruit you eat but some seeds of the fruits are dangerous and it’s nothing unusual because it’s quite normal with common fruit as well.
For example, 100ml of yellow star fruit juice may be harmful to people who are suffering from kidney problems and the brown seed in Lychee fruit is known to be poisonous.
4. Where can I find exotic fruits?
As we mentioned before, some exotic fruits are already available at most marketplaces but for some, you would need to visit the places they are grown in.
This may sound a bit inconvenient but if you love traveling and getting to know different cultures to be sure to try the fruits and other foods which are indigenous to that place. It could be a fun and enjoyable experience.
If you happen to come across these exotic fruits be encouraged to try them because they are rare to find and knowing how much they’ve traveled to be on your plate it will surely be, if not enjoyable because you might not like the taste of some, rather a learning experience.
You should be open-minded when given the opportunity to try them because it will surely taste like something you’ve never eaten before and if you don’t like it you at least know how it tastes.
Good luck in finding some of these exotic fruits and I hope you enjoy them and learn about their origin, maybe even plant them yourself if they can be grown in your region.