Exotic Fruits from Home and Around the World
As the world seems to grow smaller each and every day, we are finding a greater variety of exotic fruits in the supermarket today. Tropical fruits come from climates that have warm rain and bright sunshiny days. They are known for their high nutritional value, special shapes, colors, and flavors. Once you learn to recognize, buy, and prepare them, you will be amazed at their versatility.
When deciding how to store tropical fruits, its best to remember their growing environment—warm! Room temperature is the best. It can be placed in the refrigerator just to chill prior to serving, but not too long as black spots or dry patches will appear due to cold damage.
To ripen produce, once again room temperature is best. To speed up the ripening process, place the unripe items in a paper bag. Check daily. Since finding the peak of ripeness is the key to enjoying tropical fruits, use color, touch, aroma, and appearance to determine the optimum time.
There are many ways to enjoy tropicals.
Toss some ripe fruit in the blender and puree. Add skim milk, a splash of lime juice, sugar or honey to taste and ice. Whirl until smooth and frosty. Mamey, papaya, guava, mango, atemoya, and sapodilla all make irresistible shakes.
Fruit dips can also be an exciting way to use these fruits. For a low-fat dip with lots of punch, combine vanilla yogurt with strained passion fruit juice and sweetener to taste. This is great for dipping a variety of fruits.
Some tropical fruits make tasty and eye catching stir-fry dishes. Try stir-frying star-shaped carambola slices with strips of pepper and onion. Add shrimp or chicken pieces to turn this side dish into an entrée. Fresh ginger adds a spicy, fragrant, and oriental flavor to stir-fries.
Tropical fruits taste great with frozen yogurt. Try topping frozen yogurt with sliced mango or papaya or almond flavored ice milk and mamey.
Top angel food cake with tropical fruits simmered in a light sugar syrup and add a dollop of Cool Whip.
But perhaps the very best way to serve tropical fruit is “as is”. There is nothing better than a bowl of ripened mango or papaya slices served with a twist of lime. Lychees eaten out of the hand in the summer time can be a real treat, as are juicy ripe carambola slices when you feel like something refreshing. Tropical fruit “straight” works for desserts, snacks, with meals, or anytime.