6 Exotic Winter Fruits You Need To Try
Winter is officially here! This means for most fruits, local season is over. In grocery stores you will still see most of the usual suspects – bananas, apples and strawberries, however these fruits are now sourced mostly from the United States with limited supply at times. Over the Canadian winter, it becomes harder to come across that peach that melts in your mouth or those raspberries that taste like they were picked yesterday.
A great way to keep fruit exciting over the cold season is to explore the ethnic options! These exotic fruits may seem intimidating at first, but they are undiscovered jewels that taste wonderful and contain essential nutrients. When was the last time you used Star Fruit? Have you ever tried a Pomelo? Keep reading for the inside scoop on the tastiest ethnic fruits to help you get through another long Canadian winter.
At first glance, a Pomelo looks like a misshapen, large grapefruit. Instead of the spherical shape, pomelos mirror the shape of a teardrop. However, the skin and citrusy smell often leads to comparison of both Pomelo and grapefruit. But guess what? Pomelos don’t taste anything like the sour grapefruit! Instead, they have a mildly sweet flavour and unique texture inside.
The optimal time to purchase a Pomelo is from November to March. Pomelos contain a large amount of calcium, phosphorus and carotene to support the digestive system and control weight gain.
Star Fruit is a coveted ethnic fruit due to its beautiful shape both before and after being sliced. There are two separate varieties of Star Fruit, one that is sweet like a grape and the other which is very sour. Demand in Canada tends to be higher for the sweeter Star Fruit variety.
Star Fruit is surprisingly very low in calories – measuring up at 31 calories per 100 g of fruit. This striking fruit also packs a nutritious punch with vitamin C, fibre, phosphorus, source of B complex and natural antioxidant properties. Some believe that Star Fruit can help increase immunity function and improve cough and cold symptoms – making it extra helpful to eat during the winter season!
Star Fruit Ideas
- Wash well on the outside, pay extra attention to the creases
- Slice the fruit to desired thickness. Skin and seeds are edible, however they can be removed based on preference
- Star Fruit can be eaten alone
- Juice it or put in a smoothie
- Sweet flavour pairs well in cakes, tarts or puddings
Dragon Fruit also referred to as ‘Pitaya’ can be intimidating if you have never eaten it. The bright colour, unique shape, paired with numerous green spikes, may have some of us wondering – is this cactus looking fruit even edible? But once cut down the middle, Dragon Fruit offers its final surprise. Beautiful white flesh with crunchy black seeds and a flavour that is just the right amount of sweetness. It’s no wonder this fruit is sometimes coined “the jewel of the produce aisle”.
Some categorize Dragon Fruit in the “superfood” category due to its nutrient dense composition. This tasty exotic fruit contains iron, vitamin C and antioxidants. Similar to Star Fruit, Dragon Fruit also acts as a natural immune booster, promoting the healing of cells. Some studies claim that the black seeds in Dragon Fruit can also aid in regulating digestion.
Dragon Fruit Ideas
There are an estimated 3,000 cultivars of pears grown. Asian Pears, sometimes referred to as ‘Golden Pears’ offer a unique flavour and crunch compared to many pears we commonly see available in Canada. Starting with a more rounded shape and lighter colour, the taste of an Asian Pear is sweet, slightly floral and crisp.
Asian Pears replenish the body with fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K (vital for bone health). Essential nutrients such as copper are also found in Asian Pears which is integral in the production of energy, collagen and red blood cells.
Asian Pear Ideas
- Best suited for raw applications
- Eat Asian Pears out of hand or slice
- Add to fruit salads, see
pear and apple salad
- Julien and add as a topping to Asian stir-fry
- Crisp nature and subtle flavour makes them a wonderful addition to any charcuterie board containing meats and cheeses.
Honey Mandarins & Lo Kam Oranges
Citrus is always plentiful during the winter season as it is when availability peaks. Try something different with Mini Honey Mandarins or Lo Kam Oranges. Mini Honey Mandarins are a popular winter favourite, these tiny fruits usually contain no seeds and are sweet like candy! Lo Kam Oranges tend to be less juicy but have a refreshingly sweet flavour with a ting of crispness. In China, Lo Kam Oranges symbolize luck, prosperity and bounty.
Chinese citrus offers a healthy dose of antioxidants, fibre, vitamin A and of course a fantastic source of vitamin C. Lo Kam Oranges and Honey Mandarins also offer a fine source of natural sugar, which is great for increasing energy levels quickly when needed.
Honey Mandarin Ideas
- Wash and peel, then eat alone as a snack
- Put Mini Honey Mandarins on Fruity Pizza
- Unwrap into pieces and put in salad with spinach, almond, strawberries and a raspberry vinaigrette
Lo Kam Orange Ideas
- Wash and peel, then eat alone as a snack
- Can in jars with water and sugar
- Slice and use as an ingredient in fruit salad with banana, apple and pineapple