They’re popping up in larger supermarkets, readily available in specialist grocers and are finding their way onto more mainstream menus. Pineapples and pomegranates are so last season – it’s time to go totally tropical with a new wave of exotic fruits.
Find out what they taste like, how to prepare them and what to add them to with our pick of the bunch.
This small oval fruit has a bumpy red skin when it’s ripe and looks like a giant strawberry. Inside you’ll find a juicy white flesh, similar to grape, and a large brown seed. Lychee has a mild taste, a bit like pear, watermelon and strawberry mixed together.
It’s popular in Asian cooking so you may have already tried it in a Chinese dish or dessert. If you see them for sale, give ‘em a go. Peel, seed and eat them or use them as an ingredient. They’re perfect in a pudding like this dragon fruit and lychee pavlova and make a delicious summer cocktail – a lychee martini. Or go for something savoury like these yummy mussels.
Sensational star fruit
Is there a cooler shaped fruit than this? We don’t think so. Slice it up and it’s not hard to see how this fruit got its name. If you’ve never tried star fruit, expect a sweet, sour and citrus flavour that’s similar to grapefruit, apple and orange combined.
Slice and remove the seeds before eating it, adding it to a fruit salad (who wouldn’t want bright yellow stars in their bowl?) or using it in a recipe like this star fruit in mango-orange sauce.
Go for guava
A small round fruit that originates from South America, guava is greeny yellow on the outside with either pink or pale yellow flesh depending on the variety. Flavour-wise it’s been compared to a cross between mango, pear and strawberry.
Cut it into chunks to eat or juice it to drink or freeze into fruity ice pops. You can also peel and seed it and then give the flesh a quick cook before serving with ice cream.
Digging dragon fruit
With bright pink or yellow skin shaped like beastly scales, dragon fruit (also known as pitaya) looks too mythical to be true. Slice it open and you’ll find white or pink seed-filled flesh that tastes like sweet, watery kiwi (the fruit, not the bird).
Scoop the flesh out with a spoon or cut it away from the skin and slice it up. A squeeze of lime helps bring out the flavour. It’s great in fruit salad, would make an eye-catching topping to a smoothie bowl and can also be used in something fancy like this Arabian night tart.
Dare to do durian
This football-sized green and spiky fruit has the unfortunate honour of being the smelliest in the world (some say the whiff is reminiscent of rotting rubbish). In certain countries you’ll see warning signs banning durian from hotels, trains and buses – yikes, that’s one pongy fruit!
Get past the smell and the taste could be a pleasant surprise. Described as a cross between vanilla cream, green onions, tropical fruit, pungent garlic and overripe banana (how is that even possible?), the flesh has a custard-like texture that its fans go mad for. Prepare and eat it as it is, blitz it into a smoothie or bake into muffins.
Durian isn’t easily available in the UK but you can pick it up in some specialist supermarkets and online. Would you dare go there?