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Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Exotic Fruit at Nino’s
One of the best things about fruit is the sheer number of types there are to try. With all the varieties out there, there’s no need to ever get bored. Now, of course, I love our tried-and-true favorites, like apples, oranges, strawberries, and grapefruit, but why not treat your palate to a little something more? We carry a number of different varieties of exotic fruits here at Nino’s. You’ll find these fruits in our produce section, and we carry them year-round!
Some of our best at Nino’s:
As far as exotic fruit goes, pink guava is by far one of the best. I highly recommend it for its sweet taste and its versatility. You’ll find it can be eaten like an apple, or you can quarter it and eat it that way, but it’s also a good ingredient in everything from sauces and punches to desserts and gourmet candies. Guavas are cultivated where the climate is tropical or subtropical, but here at Nino’s, we get our supply of delicious pink guava from the Dominican Republic. As for me, I recommend it for more than just taste. It not only provides an abundance of vitamin C and fiber, but research is also showing it to be a cancer fighter. Look for sweetly fragrant fruit, with skin that gives slightly in your hand.
Dragon fruit is about as exotic looking as it gets, at least from my point of view. First, you have the plant it grows on, which has a flower that sort of looks like a flame exploded. Then there’s the fruit, which doesn’t linger long on the plant, that has a pretty and vibrantly colored rosebud-like appearance. And, of course, there’s the taste, which is simply delicious. This fruit, which grows in Central America and Southeast Asia, has leaves that overlay each other, reminiscent of an artichoke, and tiny, edible black seeds. The flavor of this fruit is mild but sweet, and there’s a bit of crunch to enjoy. It can have either red or yellow skin and flesh that is either red or white. Every bite is full of vitamin C, healthy fatty acids, calcium, and B vitamins. Nino’s dragon fruit is imported from Vietnam. To eat it, slice it up and scoop out the flesh, discarding any bitter, pink parts. Use dragon fruit in exotic parfaits, delicious smoothies, fruit salsa, Dragon Fruit Salad, or even to top your pancakes. Also check out this blog by Chef Pete for more information.
Packed with vital nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, Maradol papaya hails from South America and is typically much larger than Hawaiian papaya. Here at Nino’s, we bring our high-quality selection in mostly from Guatemala. You can eat these by cutting them in half, scooping out the seeds inside, and eating the flesh. They’re also great in marinades and sauces. You can try this fruit in salads, but I think one of my favorite ways to eat a Maradol papaya is in a delicious smoothie. And they’re fat- and cholesterol-free to boot! To buy these, you want fruit that is yellowish-green or orange, without bruises and blemishes. A few freckles are perfectly fine, though! In addition, try this wonderful recipe.
Native to tropical Southeast Asia and rich in iron, rambutan is the fruit of the rambutan tree. The rambutan looks kind of hairy because of its spiky, pink rind. The spikes are soft, though, and inside you’ll find tasty, white flesh and a bitter, inedible seed. To eat it, cut into the rind a bit, pry your fruit open, and squeeze the rind to make the sweet, juicy fruit pop out. You could even skip the knife and bite into the rind itself. If the fruit is fresh, the spines will be soft, so there’s no danger there. Besides iron, this fruit provides a healthy dose of vitamin C and phosphorous. Some even say it aids in the loss of body fat. I can’t vouch for that, but it might be worth a try. Depending on the variety you buy, ripe rambutan will be red, but some varieties are yellow or even orange at full ripeness. Here at Nino’s, we get our rambutan from Vietnam. You can also make a great Mint Syrup Rambutan by following these simple instructions.
Stop by Nino’s today to check out our full selection of fresh, high-quality produce. I really hope you try some of the fruit I’ve mentioned here. Exotic fruit provides the best kind of walk on the wild side.
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