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Types and Benefits of Tropical Fruits

Along with common fruits, tropical fruits have rich vitamins and minerals.  However, the unique flavor of fruits such as these is difficult to describe.  In this article, we wanted to provide a list of some of the favorite fruits that grow in the tropics, great for diets or healthy eating.

• Figs – More than 600 fig cultivars exist.  This soft, sweet fruit can be eaten dried or fresh.  Most often, this type of tropical fruit is used for making jam and chutney although they are also excellent for baking and sauces.

• Coconut – One of best known of all tropical fruits is the coconut, which grows tall in palm trees.  This fruit has a thick meaty inside along with milk, which is white in color and slightly sweet.  Coconut is used for all types of things to include baking, beverages, and cooking with chicken, pork, and fish.

• Dragonfruit – Formally known as Pitaya, this tropical fruit is difficult to find but delicious although the exterior is quite unattractive.  The skin is pinkish in color but not to be eaten.  When cut in half, you find a grey colored flesh with black seeds, which are not digestible.  Instead, a spoon is used just to scoop out the flesh.

 Cateyes – Also known as Duku Langsat, this type of tropical fruit is about the size of grapes.  The flavor is sweet and the consistency juicy.  Some people say this fruit is similar to grapefruit but milder.

• Durian – This interesting fruit is either loved or hated.  The smell is unpleasant but in Malaysia especially, it is quite popular.  The fruit on the inside is yellow/white and sweet but best eaten immediately after the fruit is opened.  This fruit is huge and a greenish brown on the outside, typically sold at roadside markets.

• Jackfruit – Another great tropical fruit, this has a nice taste.  The flesh is slightly sticky but still sweet.  The only downside is that the unopened ripe fruit has a smell similar to rotting onions. 

• Mango – Of all tropical fruits, the mango is one of the best.  Interestingly, mangoes have different tastes depending on the variety chosen.  Some are extremely sweet while others are mildly sweet.  In either case, this fruit is delicious, sweet, and juicy, often used in salads, sauces, marinades, and baking.

• Mangosteen – This fruit also goes by the name Mangis, which unfortunately, is not well known in the western world.  For this tropical fruit to grow, hot, humid climate is required.  Inside you would find four to eight segments in a white, triangular shape.  Some fruits are seedless while some have seeds.  The flesh has a slightly acidic but mild flavor that is simply luscious.

• Papaya – Available around the world, the papaya has a wonderful, soft interior that is sweet and juicy.  You will also find seeds, which are not to be eaten.  Loaded with Vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, this is an excellent source to achieve health.  Papaya is perfect for salads, marinades, sauces, baking, and even cooking with chicken and rice.

• Pineapple – Although also a common fruit, you will find the pineapple is grown on plantations and when ripe, delicious.  The taste is sweet but slightly acidic.  Pineapple is a good, all-around tropical fruit that is excellent in salads, cooking, baking, beverages, and as a delicious snack.

• Pomelo – This tropical fruit is another not known well in the western world.  About the size of a football and a yellow or green in color, this tropical fruit is eaten by opening and sucking out the fruit.  In many countries, it is believed that the Pomelo helps cleanse the kidneys.

• Rambutan – This tropical fruit is quite interesting in appearance.  Although commonly red, you will also find this fruit orange or yellow.  The outside is covered with a type of hair where it gets the name rambut, translates in Malay to hair.  About the size of an egg, the skin is touch and leathery while the inside is juicy, soft, and somewhat sweet.

Although some tropical fruits are difficult to find, many are in our grocery store for the choosing.  For example, pineapple, kiwi, star fruit, mangoes, papaya, are also considered to be types of tropical fruits.  You can even visit the local farmer’s market or find a specialty store that brings various types of tropical fruits in for people to enjoy.  While some of these fruits are an acquired taste, most are delicious and juicy, making the perfect snack.  However, tropical fruits are also used commonly in cooking, such as sauces, puddings, beverages, and more.
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