"uncommon" fruits and veggies - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-16-2007, 07:59 AM
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my mom and i are currently doing this thing where every week we buy one fruit or veggie that we've never had before. but, sometimes it doesn't go so well, especially if we have no idea how to eat what we bought. (passion fruit lol)



so, i was wondering if everyone can post their favorite uncommon fruits and veggies, with a little info. (how to tell when it's ripe, how to cook/eat it, and what it tastes like would be helpful)



i can't wait to try some new foods!
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#2 Old 08-16-2007, 08:06 AM
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I don't know if these are considered "uncommon" or not but Asian Pears are really good. Some say they're like a cross between a pear and an apple...I guess that's a good description of them. They kind of taste like sweet tarts to me. Yumm. Not too hard to figure out...eat em like an apple, they're ripe when they're tan coloured and soft too the touch, but not so soft you can poke a hole in them. Good luck!

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#3 Old 08-16-2007, 09:33 AM
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Carambolas are good if you can find them. They're otherwise known as star fruit. They're a little tart when still firm but get sweeter as you let them ripen.



Best to eat them raw, skin and all.
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#4 Old 08-16-2007, 09:46 AM
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I bought a star fruit 2 weeks ago

hadnt eaten one in years and used to love them

It was nowhere near as nice as i remembered it X(

I guess it wasnt ripe



I wanted to buy a dragon fruit

http://www.passion4fruit.com/uploads...agon-fruit.jpg

LOOK AT THAT THING!!! but they were like 3 pounds each... naaahh.

Anything unusual's so expensive =(



I really want to try a natural banana

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ype_banana.jpg

how awesome does that look!



I might copy your idea, and every time I go to the big grocery shop buy one unusual fruit or veg
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#5 Old 08-16-2007, 10:29 AM
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I thought star fruit came in 2 varieties- sweet and sour. But I might be wrong.



Pirate Ferret, that dragon fruit looks incredible!!! The closest thing I've seen to it in my area is something called a horned melon. It's orange/yellow instead of pink and the spines aren't as long. I haven't tried one yet. I haven't seen any natural bananas, but sweet plantains are good. They taste somehow "fruitier" than banana.



Persimmons are expensive, but I think they're a real treat when they come into season in the fall. They're ripe when they're very soft- but I don't know how to describe the degree of softness. They taste strange and will make your mouth pucker up when they're not ripe. They're not sour.. just strange... bitter.



I've never had boysenberry. IHOP has a boysenberry syrup at their tables (probably artificial), but I've never seen boysenberry anyplace else.



Sea_chicken, what vegetables and fruits were you planning on trying? Maybe the grocery store has tips on how to choose it when it's ripe, or someone in the produce section you can ask, like our local store chains do?

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#6 Old 08-16-2007, 03:58 PM
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persimmons are absolutely amazing!

frozen and blended makes the best 'pudding' type thing ever. :9
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#7 Old 08-16-2007, 05:26 PM
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Persimmons are my favorite fruit EVER! Especially the chocolate and coffee varieties, they're amazing. Asian pears, papayas (although they're one of the most common fruits in Brazil), mangosteen, white guavas, cashew fruit, açaÃ*, sapoti... Mmmm.
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#8 Old 08-16-2007, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
I wanted to buy a dragon fruit

http://www.passion4fruit.com/uploads...agon-fruit.jpg

LOOK AT THAT THING!!! but they were like 3 pounds each... naaahh.

Anything unusual's so expensive =(



oooh, ooooh i've had a dragonfruit! it was very pretty to look at, but somewhat over-rated taste-wise. it tasted like a really bland kiwi fruit to me. bf said it tasted of 'nothing'. i read that if you squeeze a bit of lemon juice on it, it enhances the flavour... so i tried that, and it tasted just like ... lemon juice squeezed onto a really bland kiwi fruit. quelle surprise.



lychees are pretty cool and weird if anyones not tried them and fancies it. they look like small spiky pink leathery-skinned balls- about the size of cherry tomatoes or really fat grapes.



i have no idea how you normally know if they're ripe, cos i only ever buy them when they're extra ripe and on sale stupidly cheap in the discount bit of the fruit section in sainsburys.



you peel off the groovy skin, and inside is a white flesh (which looks like an eyeball to me), and inside that is a big black smooth marble-like pit/stone/blank staring eye *shudders*. throw away everything but the white stuff. it tastes like sweet juicy purfume to me. weird discription, but its sort of got a mild sweet but tart, mildly musky aroma going on.



you can also buy them canned in syrup, or get them with chinese takeaway- when we do, they're covered in golden syrup, just like the pineapple fritters are.



Quote:
I've never had boysenberry. IHOP has a boysenberry syrup at their tables (probably artificial), but I've never seen boysenberry anyplace else.



so-good has a vanilla boysenberry swirl soya-icecream. it quite possibly is the best thing eveeeerrrrrr (thats prounounced evuuuuuuuur, cos i'm from somerset). tastes like blueberry crossed with blackberry and raspberry.. but better, and in icecream (cos that improves everything).



loganberries are excellent too. we had a bush in my parents garden, i've never seen them elsewhere. they look like blackberries crossed with rasberries, but a little longer in length- and are a rich dark purply-red colour, velvety textured like a raspberry. they taste like everything good about blackberries and raspberries, but richer, smoother, and more well-rounded, and wrapped in velvet.
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#9 Old 08-16-2007, 07:06 PM
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Lychees. Many people haven't had the fresh ones. They should be a deep reddish brown when ripe. They're very sweet and juicy once you get past the rough hard shell (easy to peel though!). Biter beware, there's an almond sized/shaped pit in the center!

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#10 Old 08-16-2007, 07:11 PM
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We have a mature asian pear tree that's fruiting in my back yard.



They're usually expensive at the store, so the tree gives us a nice exotic refreshment that we can pick right off the tree!



<3 Yey fruit.
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#11 Old 08-16-2007, 09:30 PM
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Doesn't boysenberry refer to a mixture of berries (and possibly other fruits)?
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#12 Old 08-16-2007, 09:38 PM
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It's a hybrid.



Most exotic fruits and veggies are too expensive for me (most regular fruits are too expensive, in fact) but I'm tempted to start trying this, too. Good idea!
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#13 Old 08-17-2007, 07:40 AM
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Someone already mentioned Mangosteens. Totally yummy fruit. I think it is only available in Asian groceries. It is also classified as a "super-fruit."
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#14 Old 08-17-2007, 09:06 AM
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Pomegranates



You know a person loves you when they provide you with a bowl of pomegranate berries they hand-picked from the rind.

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#15 Old 08-17-2007, 01:55 PM
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Well, since everyone else is hung up on the fruits, I'll name some vegetables that I love, but have discovered that most people I know have never tried them or still consider them "exotic":



Parsnips: Try them in a creamy soup or oven roasted with lots of chopped herbs, olive oil, carrots and potatoes.



Peruvian Purple Potatoes: Use them just like regular potatoes, they have a great texture. I love them mashed, they're lavender!!



Purslane: There's a thread here on VB. I have recipes on my blog. It's a green leaf sort of thing. It's crunchy and slightly tangy. Really good in sandwiches and salads.



Fennel: It's good in potato salad or with roasted veggies.



Cardoons: Cook or steam leaves and stems like most other green veggies. Yum.



Artichike: Trim poky ends off leaves. Steam until middle leaves pull out of head easily. Eat with lemon butter (or some people like mayo - ick!)



Jerusalem Artichokes: Steamed or boiled and served with lemon-butter.



Nopales (cactus): They taste sorta like green beans. Used in Mexican foods as far as I know. I just had these for the second time, on vacation last week. In CANADA of all places. I really want to cook with them sometime.



Okra: Boiled with stewed tomatoes over rice. In soups or stews. Bhindi Masala (Indian dish).



Kabocha Squash: Cooked and scooped out of the skin and used in creamy curried squash soup or squash risotto.
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#16 Old 08-17-2007, 05:23 PM
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i might have to try more than one thing this week lol . i just hope i can find a store that sells them.



has anyone ever had any of these fruits: kumquat, quince, ugli fruit, guava, feijoa, or prickly pear?
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#17 Old 08-17-2007, 05:44 PM
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Kumquats are a little bit tart, but not at all unpleasant

Guava is very tasty

The prickly pear I had tasted like a bitter cucumber. I don't think it was ripe or something.

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#18 Old 08-17-2007, 06:24 PM
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PASSION FRUIT ROCKS!



Wait till they get all hard and wrinkly and gross looking- that means they are ripe. then but them open and eat raw. Tangy tart and booger-textured. Eat the seeds too. So good. :P
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#19 Old 08-17-2007, 06:57 PM
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Prickly pears are one of my favourites, they're pretty mild and taste like...prickly pears. The flavour reminds me of the way lilies smell if that makes sense.



Lychees are heavenly. I've spent more time than I'd care to admit hunched over the sink scarfing down those babies. I think they taste kind of like pears but have the texture of peeled grapes.



I love those great big long beans they sell in chinatown. I think they're called long beans.



Although they aren't fruits or veggies or uncommon to most North Americans I have to mention that my parents are afraid of chestnuts. We always bought lots of shelled nuts and I asked repeatedly about "those ones", and I kid you not I was told separately by each parent: "You can't eat those." I wonder what they thought everyone else was doing with them? Ah well, since I'd never tasted one, my happiest "weird" find in the produce aisle was the insanely common chestnut.
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#20 Old 08-17-2007, 07:06 PM
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Its great you are trying new things , EAT EVERYTHING YOU CAN! (as long as its not an animal of course!)



Food is the best thing ever invented!



Quote:
Originally Posted by sea_chicken View Post


has anyone ever had any of these fruits:



Kumquat

These are like mini oval-shaped orange coloured evil lemons! sour tart evil little things, i would imagine would be good to make a jam out of. I love sour things and eat them as-is when i find them.



Quince

These are pretty much cooking apples, more harder in texture and sour/tart in taste.



Guava

We used to have a guava tree , the fruit is soft and pinkish when ripe, i cant explain the taste really, i found them quite odd and didn't eat many. (they are high in calcium i just found out)



Feijoa

Like a guava, they smell at bit more fruity if i remember correctly, I have only eaten them a long time ago in New Zealand.



Prickly pear

These things grow on a cactus, The spikey fruit goes a redish colour when they are ripe. I remember my Italian grandparents having a few plants on their property , I dont really remember the taste too well, a little bit sweetish, though i remember eating a LOT of them.





Wow, cant remember much can I! Im going back to bed.



I notice everyone has said Asian Pear , In Australia, at least where i am (W.A.) these are called Nashi Pears . i love them!



A Boysenberry is a hybrid of a loganberry ( a hybrid cross of a blackberry and a raspberry) and dewberry ( a species related to the blackberry)



Also Try: Loquats, Rambutans (if you like Lychees), Custard Apples, Tamarillos, Mangosteens...theres too many , its so unforunate these are so hard to find sometimes!!
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#21 Old 08-17-2007, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by sea_chicken View Post

i might have to try more than one thing this week lol . i just hope i can find a store that sells them.



has anyone ever had any of these fruits: kumquat, quince, ugli fruit, guava, feijoa, or prickly pear?



Let's see:

Kumquats are pretty nice. A bit tart like R_C said.

Quinces I don't really care for, but then again the ones I've bought could've been unripe.

Guavas are delicious, especially the white variety (they're sweeter than the red ones and not as tangy).

Feijoas... Wait a minute. We call them white guavas in Brazil, not feijoa!

Prickly pears taste kinda bland to me.

Ugli fruits are tasty.
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#22 Old 08-18-2007, 08:40 AM
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Tofu-n-Sprouts mentioned okra, but I didn't think okra was unusual enough. Some don't like it boiled because it gets a sort of gooey slime on it when it contacts water. This can be avoided if you wash the whole pods off (if they need it- okra doesn't get slimy until it's cut), slice it, and saute it.



Okra is expensive, and I grew two varieties of it this year. You have to watch it though- it gets over-ripe and woody really fast on the plant if you don't harvest it on time.



I see unusual vegetables like cassava, yucca, and chayote sometimes but I wasn't sure what to do with them.

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#23 Old 08-18-2007, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom View Post

Tofu-n-Sprouts mentioned okra, but I didn't think okra was unusual enough. Some don't like it boiled because it gets a sort of gooey slime on it when it contacts water. This can be avoided if you wash the whole pods off (if they need it- okra doesn't get slimy until it's cut), slice it, and saute it.



Okra is expensive, and I grew two varieties of it this year. You have to watch it though- it gets over-ripe and woody really fast on the plant if you don't harvest it on time.



I see unusual vegetables like cassava, yucca, and chayote sometimes but I wasn't sure what to do with them.



Okra is my favorite raw food, hands down. It does need to be fresh though.



Treat chayote like any other summer squash - not sure about cassava and yucca.
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#24 Old 08-18-2007, 10:24 AM
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Here are the 'uncommon' foods I have tried:



Star Fruit- its really fun to eat and its so cute!

Prickly Pear- tastes ok from what I can remember

Guava- sweet and sour.

Jicama- Not sure how uncommon but I love how its crispy like an apple



I think I need to try some new stuff!
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#25 Old 08-18-2007, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom View Post

I see unusual vegetables like cassava, yucca, and chayote sometimes but I wasn't sure what to do with them.



Cassava (yucca is another name for the same thing) is extremely popular in Brazil. The most common ways of preparing it are:



Boiling until tender and sprinkling with salt

Boiling until tender and deep-frying, then sprinkling with salt

Boiling until tender and drizzling with molasses



Chayotes are also very popular. We put them in soups, stews, stuff them and bake, boil and eat as a salad, etc.
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#26 Old 08-18-2007, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
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Boiling until tender and drizzling with molasses



You know I have to freak out because you mentioned molasses . People here have come to expect it.



And Tom - I don't think okra's all that odd either, (My mom grew up in the South) but around here, most people have never heard of it. It's only available at one farm stand at the farmer's market for a while during the summer - not at any grocery stores in any form, even canned!!
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#27 Old 08-18-2007, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock n Roll View Post

Here are the 'uncommon' foods I have tried:



Star Fruit- its really fun to eat and its so cute!

Prickly Pear- tastes ok from what I can remember

Guava- sweet and sour.

Jicama- Not sure how uncommon but I love how its crispy like an apple



I think I need to try some new stuff!



I've never tasted an exciting prickly pear, but I am interested in growing some of my own (maybe in a raised barrel like my father did when I was kid) because they are a native -- native as in forgotten -- food here.
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#28 Old 08-20-2007, 02:49 AM
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Tofu-n-sprouts mentioned Jerusalem artichokes. I tried them for the first time last year and I hope I'll find some this winter! They're so good... You can puree them or prepare them like scalloped potatoes.



I also love celeriac. You've got to try sheperd's pie with half pureed celeriac and half mashed potatoes. Celeriac soup is also great.
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#29 Old 08-23-2007, 05:57 AM
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Just had me my first passionfruit today (but they call them granadillas here). It was so awesome! Seriously go buy one. And maybe a straw.
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#30 Old 08-24-2007, 12:09 PM
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I love the different varieties of Cacti fruit, prickly pear is just the surface there are also jujus and other fruits from different species that are far more juicy and sweet. In addition I love choke cherries, saskatoon berries, salmonberries. My all time favorite is probably Neigoon berry it is a raspberry relative that grows close to the ground and the flavor is far sweeter and explodes in your mouth. Cloudberry is also very good with a taste of apricot more than a raspberry.
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