Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Food Trends: Odd Fruits

By Cathy Strange, September 6, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Cathy Strange

Cathy Strange’s role as global cheese and specialty foods buyer for Whole Foods Market® puts her in the unique position of travelling the world to not only discover and encourage the world’s great cheesemakers, but also to help advance the artisanal food movement and investigate the world’s emergent food trends. If a new preparation technique is causing ripples in Berlin, or a centuries-old curing tradition is gaining a foothold in Seattle, Cathy knows about it.

Weird and Wonderful

I love food shopping! Strolling the aisles, sampling the goods, thumping, nudging, squeezing the produce... I learned years ago that I shop in the European style – I shop almost daily and what I buy that day, I’m going to eat that night. This way I get to enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at their peak of seasonal freshness.

I realized that I had been just walking by some really cool, colorful, and yes, odd-looking fruits. I decided to do what any self-respecting foodie would – try them! And am I glad I did. These fruits are delicious, approachable and versatile, some with flavors that are brand new to me, others that taste like a blend of more familiar fruits.

The Sweet, The Spiky and The Scaly

From rambutans and starfruit to mangosteens and dragon fruit, exotic fruits are becoming more widely available. Three odd fruits that I’d like share with you are the white sapote, the deviled horn fruit and the cherimoya.

The white sapote is an apple-sized, green, smooth-skinned fruit from Mexico. Its pear-like flesh has a sugarcane sweetness with flavors of apple and a hint of tropical fruit. The soft texture makes it perfect to slide into a chicken sandwich, slice into smoothies or just eat it by the chunk. Low in acidity, it gains new vibrancy with a sprinkle of lemon.

The deviled horn melon (or kiwano) is a spiky yellow and orange melon from New Zealand. On the inside, it’s almost neon green, moist and speckled with edible seeds. The flavor is tart with a touch of spice and kiwi flavors. I like to spoon it onto ice cream or toss into a fresh fruit salad. Also, cut length-wise and hollowed out, the melon’s shell acts as a fun serving dish.

The cherimoya (sometimes called the Andes custard because it’s native to the Andean foothills and Central America) is a green, grapefruit-sized fruit with scaly-looking skin. The flesh is sweet with a creamy texture. Mark Twain called it “the most delicious fruit known to men.” Remove the large black seeds, then just dip a spoon in and scoop out a bite. For an ice cream-like experience, I like to put half in the freezer for an hour or two. It makes a delightful dessert. 

I gave these odd fruits a try, and now they’re in regular rotation in my kitchen and I’m eager to try more out-of-the-ordinary fruits.

What weird wonderful fruits have you had lately? I’d love to hear from you!

Category: food trends, Produce




Wendy says ...
do you have Cherimoya in your store in West Des Moines?
09/06/2013 11:37:09 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@WENDY - Our products differ between stores so give the West Des Moines a call to see what they have in stock!
09/06/2013 4:31:00 PM CDT
Jill Zak says ...
When is the cherimoya in season?
09/08/2013 5:07:07 PM CDT
jacira goncalves says ...
Hi! I read your article about exotic fruits...amazing!I have a question for you:Have you heard of YACON and where I would find it...I heard about the health benefits, but can't find anywhere.Hopefuly you'll be able to help me.Thank you!
09/08/2013 10:05:42 PM CDT
Tomy says ...
sugar(custard) apples, sour sop, and backyard mangos
09/09/2013 3:51:32 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JACIRA - Typically you can find yacon in a syrup form. Check with your local store to see if they have something similar in stock.
09/09/2013 4:00:03 PM CDT
Ginger says ...
I recently read an article about the benefits of purple potatoes...not the sweet potato variety but the white family. Do you carry these?
09/14/2013 11:56:17 PM CDT
Laura Donnelly says ...
Do you ever carry Mirabelle plums?
09/20/2013 11:40:50 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@LAURA - Our products vary between stores. Check with your local store to see if this is something they normally carry.
09/20/2013 2:58:46 PM CDT
Becky Salinas says ...
Being raised in Mexico, I grew up eating chirimoya and sapote. They taste wonderful. You have to try Guanabana and Black sapote. Guanabana makes the most delicious ice cream and black sapote, mashed with orange juice and sugar , it's a dessert that will make you want to lick the plate....
10/08/2013 12:05:28 PM CDT
Kevin says ...
Are you going to have the Nam Doc Mai Mangos again in San Diego? They were the best tasting mango.
10/11/2013 9:36:51 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KEVIN - Our products and availability differ between stores so check directly with the store in San Diego where you plan to shop. They will be happy to look in to this for you!
10/11/2013 3:20:20 PM CDT
Janice says ...
Do you stock lotus root for juicing
10/19/2013 10:04:52 PM CDT
Simone says ...
Hi I've been reading about Garcinia Cambogia a.k.a Malabar Tamarind or Brindle Berry. I was wanting to know if whole foods carries it or know of anywhere that it can be purchased as the fruit itself in the Detroit area?
10/24/2013 11:25:15 AM CDT
cesar tello says ...
hello i just need to know if is possible found soursop in ur supermarket
10/24/2013 4:38:56 PM CDT
Tom Wahl says ...
I had a cherimoya once. To me the texture and flavor was just about exactly like the American pawpaw which is a close relative--but we grow pawpaws here in Iowa.
10/24/2013 9:37:59 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JANICE - Our products vary between stores so check with your local store to find out if they have it in stock.
10/28/2013 2:34:46 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@SIMONE - The products in our stores differ so I would suggest calling our store in Detroit directly at (313) 576-5300 to find out what they have in stock!
10/28/2013 2:36:48 PM CDT
Jesse says ...
Do you have any starfruit at your Eagle Rock store?
11/04/2013 7:24:32 PM CST
Allen Delaney says ...
Can I special order Quince. Savannah, Ga.
11/05/2013 4:08:00 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JESSE & @ALLEN - Since our products and special ordering processes vary between stores, check with the store specifically to find out these answers. They will be happy to help!
11/08/2013 4:40:47 PM CST
Roberta says ...
I tasted cherimoya from the new Whole Foods in Brooklyn, and loved it. I haven't seen it since. Which Whole Foods carries cherimoya, and is it carried for the entire season?
02/25/2014 12:26:15 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@ROBERTA - The availability of our products differ between locations. Check with your local store to find out what they have in stock!
02/25/2014 2:34:41 PM CST
LuAnne Amell says ...
I am searching for the black sapote or chocolate persimmon fruit. I have called several places and am unsuccessful in finding anything local. I was curious if you have ever had an opportunity to try this fruit, also referred to as the chocolate pudding fruit. I had some wonderful recipes given to me and am dying to try them. If you know of where I can purchase these fruits (hopefully Whole Foods!) I certainly would appreciate it! Thanks!
03/24/2014 9:58:11 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@LUANNE - Those sound amazing! Since our products differ between stores I would suggest calling the store directly that you plan to shop with. They will be able to let you know if these are items they ever have in stock.
03/24/2014 1:46:38 PM CDT