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!