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Florida's Funky Fruit

Jennifer Pfaff

South Florida’s tropical environment grows a flavorful variety of popular fruits—as well as some unique and strange-looking produce. Everyone has tasted a Florida orange, but what the heck is jaboticaba? We received an education in Florida’s unusual natural foods from Charlotte Gomes, president of the Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International (855-732-7273). With a membership of 406 households, the nonprofit promotes the progress and awareness of tropical palmology and the diversity of fruit grown in South Florida through monthly meetings and community events open to the public.

Jackfruit - largest tree-born fruit in the world - Tutti Frutti flavor - Rare Fruit Council InternationalJackfruit

What it is: The largest tree-born fruit in the world, weighing as much as 125 pounds. Ironically, it’s related to the mulberry—one of the smallest berries.
Where it’s found: On a small tree.
Flavor profile: Tutti frutti. Think Juicy Fruit gum.
How to eat it: Raw (clean it first) or mixed into desserts like cake or ice cream. When the jackfruit is still green, Jamaicans commonly cut it into chunks and add it to stew or curry it. The seeds can also be cooked and eaten like boiled peanuts.

 

Dragonfruit - cactus fruits - kiwi flavor - corbet - Rare Fruit Council InternationalDragonfruit

What it is: Beautiful fruit with an inside color that varies in shades of red.
Where it’s found: On a cactus.
Flavor profile: Similar to sweet kiwi.
How to eat it: Fresh. Add to salads, smoothies, ice creams and martinis. For a cool dessert, cut in half, freeze for 10 minutes then scoop out the inside like sorbet.

 

The Miracle Fruit - eat with sour fruit -  Rare Fruit Council InternationalThe Miracle Fruit

What it is: A very small berry.
Where it’s found: On a slow-growing bush.
Flavor profile: Mildly sweet tang.
How to eat it: Consume it raw, then eat something sour, like a lime or lemon. The sour food will taste sweet, which is how the miracle fruit gets its name.

 

Barbados cherry - packed with Vitamin C - sweet and tart - Rare Fruit Council InternationalBarbados Cherry
What it is: A cherry packed with all the Vitamin C you need for one day.
Where it’s found: On a shrub or small tree.
Flavor profile: Sweet and tart.
How to eat it: Raw, but you’ll also find it in modern nutritional drinks like MonaVie.

 

Head to Page 2 for the 411 on Sapodilla, Peanut Butter Fruit, Black Sapote, Cecropia and Jaboticaba.

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