I just added a bunch of fruits to my Taste 1,000 Fruits Project. A few of my favorites:
I finally realize where artificial grape flavoring came from. Concord grapes taste like the fruit version of grape candy. They’re small, and have an exquisite texture. The outside peel isn’t solidly attached to the fruit inside, so you can squeeze one between your teeth and the interior fruit pops out. That’s how I ate the whole bunch.
Yali Asian Pears
Crisp and light, the flavor is almost like an essence, the way cucumber can scent water.
Sweet and juicy — if you’ve had Muscat wine, you know what these taste like.
I didn’t get a great photo, but this is one of my favorite new fruits. Like a cross between a banana and a pineapple with texture a little like a peach. The flesh inside is white with large brown seeds in it. If you see one anywhere, try it.
Winter citrus! These are Mandarinquats, tiny Kishu Mandarins, and a Fremont Mandarin.
Kishu Mandarins are so wee that the segments are about half the size of a quarter.
They’re very sweet, with barely enough tang to feel like you’re actually eating citrus.
Fremont Mandarins tasted similar to the Kishus, but larger, with a brighter peel that would make lovely zest. Also, they have seeds.
I was most excited about the Mandarinquats, which are a Mandarin-Kumquat hybrid. They’re supposed to be similar to kumquats, which have a super sweet peel and tart fruit. Kumquats are about the size of grapes, so you just pop them in your mouth whole, and I love them.
I do not love Mandarinquats. They’re pretty, but the peel is nowhere near as sweet as a kumquat, which means you’re just eating an orange peel. But! If you’re a bartender who wants to make a kumquat drink, these would be less time consuming to juice I guess. Also pretty in floral arrangements?
Meh. Mandarinquat, you are no friend of mine.
Bon Appétit just published an interview with me on their site, A Mighty Girl’s Quest to Taste 1,000 Kinds of Fruit. Isn’t that cool? I think so too. Go have a look.
Taste 1,000 Fruits is an item on my Mighty Life List. I’m currently inching my way through the first hundred.
These are Kiwiberries, and they are rocking me out. They’re grape-sized Kiwis without the fuzzy exterior, and you can just pop them in your mouth. I’m pretty sure Willy Wonka was involved somehow.
They’re delicious, by the way — sweeter and more intensely Kiwi-flavored than their larger Kiwi cousins, and so effing cute. Cute, I tell you!
Inside, they look just like tiny Kiwis, with the seeds and everything. I want to have a party just so I can use them to garnish Kiwi-themed cocktails.
Whooo’s a tiny little kiwi? Wuzzah-wuzzah.
This is a starfruit.
The flavor is light, more like a perfume than a solid taste. They’re juicy, citrusy with a slightly tangy aftertaste. The texture is like less crunchy celery, if celery didn’t have strings.
This is a tamarind pod.
Inside, the pod has a paste-like brown fruit around its seeds.
It doesn’t look particularly appetizing.
The fruit is very sour, but not like a lemon. There’s sweetness there too. It tastes almost like Crystal Light powder. But more delicious.
You suck the fruit away from the seeds. They’re hard, and clack together in your hand, almost like heavy coffee beans. Delicious.
While I’m in New York, Alice and I buy some exotic fruits from a gourmet grocer. We meet Sarah and Zan at my hotel bar, order a bottle of wine, and ask for a knife and some plates. The host offers to slice the fruits, to which Alice replies, “Hotels do everything for you. ‘I’ve brought you my baby, will you please circumsize him? Thank you.’”
After some light circumcision banter, we dig right in. Here are fruits two through seven:
2. Cape Gooseberries or Ground Cherries
I’ve tried these before, but they’re excellent. The texture is like a cherry tomato, only with a slightly thicker, sticky skin. Like giant salmon eggs.
They taste vibrant, like juicy orange Starbursts. Crowd favorite.
3. Horned Melon
I see these a lot at grocery stores, but I’d never tried one.
They’re small for a melon, about the size of my hand, but the inside?
Whaaaa? Did you expect a florescent green jelly interior with giant cucumber seeds? They should use these as flesh for scenes in movies when they cut into aliens and then the alien is all unexpected just beneath its humanoid skin.
Exciting! It smells fresh and very green, like unripe grapes.
The texture is amazing, but the flavor is less spectacular. It tastes like sweet cucumber, or the green fuzzy fruit that surrounds an almond shell. We all settle on “very fresh cucumber gummy bears.”
4. Sweet Galia Melon
Get a loada this melon!
The Sweet Galia Melon tasted like a more subtle, juicier honeydew. Eh. Good thing I spiced things up with the boob picture.
When I was little, my good friend and I terrified her mother by admitting we’d been gorging ourselves on these from a tree in the backyard. Her Mom had no idea whether they were poisonous at the time, but we assured her we’d been eating them for weeks. Great.
Sarah says they smell like one of those scented plastic babydolls we could get when we were kids — sort of a vanilla smell with pleasant offgassing just beneath it. You don’t eat the peel, but the edible seeds float in a translucent creamy gel. They taste a bit like kiwis with a mellow pineapple aftertaste. Mmmm.
6. Cactus Pear
This is the fruit of a cactus, which left tiny infuriating spines in my fingers.
Stupid Cactus Pear.
Look at the inside though! Gorgeous and bloody, like a beet. It smells like cut grass and cucumber.
We try it, and everyone feels deceived. Comparisons include “mealy cucumber with thick pumpkin seeds inside,” “celery with the flavor of a dry, less sweet watermelon.” Did we get a bad one? Blech.
Passionfruit has a purple exterior that’s like a thin pumpkin shell. When you open it up, it’s another holy moly:
The inside looks slightly animal, the way a fig does. It has tendrils attached to orange goo with bright green crunchy seeds that pop when you chew them.
Sarah said it smelled like the Body Shop, and the goo has the flavor of a perfectly ripe, tart mango. With the pleasant crunch of the seeds, it reminded me a lot of orange flavored Pop Rocks. So we ordered some Coke to see if our stomachs would explode.
Delicious! The end.