Guessed yet? No! Well let me tell you. U is for unusual fruit and vegetables; some exotic but easily found at your local grocer or supermarket. Be bold, be daring, surprise your loved with a game of blindfold guess this food; there is no way they can win.
If you are looking for interesting new foods to sample you really don’t have to travel the world. A huge range of unusual fruit and vegetables are available these days in the most common of shopping strips and supermarkets. I personally like to venture the big fruit and vegetable markets in and around Melbourne and some of the unusual items listed below I have tried and have loved.
Dragon Fruit – this bizarre looking fruit tastes like a cross between a pear and kiwi fruit. The flesh of this fruit is soft inside and contains tiny crunchy black seeds (similar to a kiwi fruit). Do not attempt to eat the hard peel; cut it open and scoop out the sweet flesh. I have used this yummy fruit in fruit salads.
Kohlrabi – a member of the cabbage family Kohlrabi has very sweet tasting flesh that can be used in much the same way as a potato or carrot. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked and is best used in fresh salads or steamed or boioled and served with your favourite meat.
Lychees – one of my personal favourites these spiky little balls are sweet and juicy. The peel is rough but peels off easily. The fruit has a jelly-like consistency and you will find a hard brown seed in the centre that is unedible. Use this in fruit salads, asian style stir-fries; especially pork based or pop them into your mouth as a special treat.
Okra – I found this vegetable to taste a little like zucchini. Grown in tropical and warm temperate climates, Okra is in the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton.If you leave them whole and stir-fry them quickly their texture is crunchy. If you decide to cut them up and boil them their texture is soft and a little slimy. Use this veggie in soups, stews or in ratatouille as a natural thickener. I have used them whole in stir-fries.
Persimmon – the persimmon, or Diospyros kaki (meaning “the fruit of the gods” in ancient Greek) is part of the Ebony family, known for its exceptionally hard black wood that was once used in making piano keys. This fruit can be bitter and chalky if not ripe – kind of like an unripe banana. This fruit when ripe is like a cross between a mango and an apricot. Best used in cakes and slices I have also eaten this fresh on top of my breakfast cereal.
Pomegranate – the Pomegranate tree is an ornamental shrub which produces fruit that has a hard, leathery deep red or yellow rind. When cut open this fruit exposes shimmering translucent kernels. The juicy flesh is tart-sweet and surrounds nutlike seeds that are edible as well as adding a bit of a crunch to the overall texture. As one of my favourite unusual fruits, I often enjoy eating these on their own or mixed into a fruit juice blend. Also looks and tastes amazing as a salad dressing or served with fish dishes.