A Closer Look at Tropical Fruits
Atemoya-looks like an artichoke carved out of clay. Inside it has cream-colored flesh with the flavor and texture of a vanilla or fruit custard. Unlike custard, the fruit is practically free of fat and sodium, and rich in potassium. Atemoyas are grown in southern Florida and also imported from the West Indies. They are usually available from August through October. Look for a pale-green fruit that is slightly tender to finger pressure but that has not cracked open. To serve, chill, cut in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Carambola-when sliced crosswise yields perfect five-pointed, star-shaped sections—hence its nickname star fruit. Its sweet-tart flavor is like a blend of several fruits—plums, pine-apple, grapes, and lemons. This fruit originated in Southeast Asia but is now grown in Florida. Look for shin, well-shaped fruit. The skin of un-ripened fruit is green, but ripening at room temperature will turn it a golden color. Slice the fruit and remove the seeds. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Kiwi-looks like a fuzzy brown egg. As you cut through its brown skin, you reach velvety bright green flesh sprinkled with a ring of tiny, edible black seeds. The taste varies from sweet to tart and has been compared to strawberries, nectarines, and melons. Kiwis come from California, New Zealand, and Chile. Peel with a vegetable peeler and cut in slices or cut in half and scoop out the flesh. The kiwi is high in Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Mango-has a smooth skin and orange-yellow flesh that is high in Vitamin A. When it is ripe, the flesh is soft and exceptionally juicy. The taste is a mix of peach and pineapple, only sweeter than either. A ripe mango will yield to slight pressure when held. The skin should show a blush of either yellow-orange or red. Mangos are grown in India or Southeast Asia. The most direct way to eat a mango is to peel it and eat it like a peach, nibbling the flesh from the pit. Have lots of napkins handy!
Papaya-is a melon-like fruit with yellow-orange flesh with skin that ranges in color from green to orange to rose. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Most domestic papayas come from Hawaii, but smaller quantities come from Florida, California, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Central and South America. Fully ripe papayas are 75-100% yellow or yellow-orange and will give slightly when pressed. The skin should be smooth, un-bruised, and un-shriveled. At the papaya’s center is an oblong cavity containing dozens of small black seeds. Scoop these out and slice the peeled flesh.