Five to Try

With something like 50,000 different items in your neighborhood supermarket why are you still buying the same dozen or so fruits?

Get out of your rut. Try something new. This is a low-risk and high-reward proposition. It’s fruit—what’s the worst that can happen?

Cut open a passion fruit and it’s a confusing mass of juicy, seedy pulp. It’s all edible, although you might want to strain out the seeds. Passion fruit is boldly tropical, and the sweetness and assertive flavor make it versatile in cooking and baking. There is a Passion of Christ/passion fruit connection that makes a whole lot of symbolic hooey, likening the vine’s tendrils to whips and its petals to the Apostles. Not Judas and Peter, though. Yes, you are looking at a strawberry. The pineberry looks like strawberries and cream but smells and tastes just like pineapple. Tiny white berries with red pips, it’s a wild variety that was rescued from extinction, rechristened as the pineberry, and is now grown commercially. I suggest that you find someone with a backyard pacay tree and make them your friend. Technically a legume, pacay pods don’t travel well, and you’ll only find frozen ones in the market; the fresh pods are worth the hunt. Crack open the hard shell and inside you’ll find a row of black seeds nestled in a bed of fluffy white flesh that tastes like vanilla ice cream with a hint of cotton candy.

Mangosteen Mangosteen is not at all mango-like. It’s sweet, tangy, and somewhat fibrous. Skip the astringent purple rind and go for the juicy white flesh around the seeds that comes apart in segments like a tangerine. It’s rarely baked into desserts, but fresh, uncooked mangosteen works well in sorbets and smoothies.

Durian Who knew fruit could stir controversy? Fans of the durian describe it as a rich, smooth, custardy fruit with an alluring aroma and the taste of almonds. Others have compared the taste and odor to sewage, gym socks, skunk spray, and moldy onions. Well-known as a durian lover, Anthony Bourdain famously described the fruit as “like you’d buried somebody holding a big wheel of Stilton in his arms, then dug him up a few weeks later. Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.” And he likes durian.

Be flexible and adventurous. Experience the thrill of the unknown. And while there might be Five to Try, feel free to stop at four, with apologies to Mr. Bourdain.


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