As I munched on my bowl of yellow cherries and thought about things that I should write about earlier today, I’ve realized how little fruit I would be able to name if asked. As is probably the case with many other people. We all know about apples and oranges, as an example, but what about mangosteens? Naranjillas? We will never taste, see or even learn about the majority of fruit that exists in this world.
I remember reading about blogger Maggie Mason’s personal challenge of samling 1,000 different types of fruit a couple of years ago and feeling that this was my type of challenge. (Of course, this was also before I realized how difficult actually acquiring 1,000 types of fruit would be.) While trying a lot of different fruit is not exactly akin to, say, travelling to many different places or reading a lot of good books, there is still something satisfactory about sinking your teeth into a fruit that you had never tasted before.
And so I’ve also made a list of fruit I’d like to try in my life but limited my number to five. (Because I’m unambitious like that.) While some of these fruits are easier to locate in my city than others, I’ve generally tried to opt for things that I would not just be able to pick up at my local supermarket or fruit stand.
The Finger Lime (native to Australia):
This type of lime looks like tiny pearls that hide inside a lime. I remember reading that high-end restaurant chefs have recently been all over the finger lime for the amazing flavours it gives to seafood, but my reasons for wanting to try it are simpler: citrus explosion in your mouth. Enough said.
Breadfruit (native to the South Pacific):
Does bread grow on trees? No, but breadfruit certainly does. While you will probably be grossly disappointed if you expect this fruit to taste just like your regular loaf of sandwich bread, I’d like to try it to see if it really does taste like starchy bread or potatoes when cooked.
The Cherry Guava (native to southern Brazil and Uruguay):
I like guavas and I love cherries (in fact, they’re my favourite type of berry), so the cherry guava seems like an especially delicious fruit combination.
African Cucumber (native to Kalahari Desert):
As a kid, I often entered into heated debates on whether a tomato, a cucumber or an eggplant were a fruit. While this debate has mostly been settled from a biological vs. culinary standpoint, it is still always interesting to encounter fruit that do not fit neatly into either category. Different people described the taste of the African cucumber as something akin to melon, banana, zucchini, actual cucumber, kiwi or lemon. That’s a lot of wonderful tastes in one crop.
Naranjilla (native to northern South America):
When I was an eighteen year-old kid travelling through Ecuador on my own, I tried a fresh naranjilla juice from a street vendor at a market. It was one of the most delicious things that I had ever tried (in case you haven’t noticed from this selection, my fruit tastes tend to gravitate towards citrus), and always left me wondering how a real naranjilla would taste.