When traveling to distant countries, we dream not only of enjoying the beauty of the azure sea, architectural monuments and exotic nature, but also of vivid culinary experiences.
The brightest regions in this regard are, of course, countries with tropical and subtropical climates, known for their bright, unique cuisine and wide variety of exotic fruits.
The humid tropical climate produces an amazing array of delicious aromatic fruits of all shapes and sizes. But how to understand this exotic abundance?
Pitahaya (dragon fruit) is one of the favorite fruits of Southeast Asian people. Pitahaya is the common name for the fruit of several species of vine-like cacti in the genus Hylocereus.
The dragon fruit is native to Mexico. Nowadays, the fruit is grown in many parts of the world: in South and Central American countries, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, China, Taiwan, the USA (Hawaii), etc.
Like many other cacti, Hylocereus vines bloom at night with large white flowers with a delicate aroma. Incidentally, the flowers are also edible, and are often added to tea for flavoring. Fruits are set 30-50 days after flowering, and up to 5-6 pitahaya crops can be harvested per year.
Of the several types of sweet pitahaya, three are the most popular:
- Reddish-pink fruit with white pulp – the “dragon fruit.” The taste of the pulp is slightly bland, with a delicate aroma.
- Red fruit with red flesh – Costa Rican pitaya. The fruit is very juicy.
- Yellow fruit with white flesh – yellow pitaya – the sweetest and tastiest species, is quite rare.
In general, the taste of pitai is somewhat similar to that of kiwi and pear. As a rule, the weight of the fetus varies from 150 to 600 grams, sometimes there are large specimens weighing up to 1 kg.
Pitaya is eaten both raw and in various dishes, and juices and wine are prepared from it and used as a garnish. Before use, the fruit is sliced lengthwise and then sliced or the flesh scooped with a spoon. Reviews that pitahaya are tasteless are extremely rare, although the taste may seem bland.
The skin of the fruit is not edible. The small seeds of the dragon fruit contain valuable lipids, which are digested only with careful chewing. Pitaya contains up to 90% water and plenty of iron, calcium and phosphorus, as well as vitamins B, C and E and other useful substances.
Durian is a genus of plants in the Malvaceae family that includes about 30 species that grow in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. Durian is one of the brightest fruits of Southeast Asia, known as the “king of fruits.”
Durian fruit has a very hard shell and is covered with powerful spines that protect the contents of the unripe fruit from animals. The fruit opens with five wings, along the edges of which are dark seeds with fleshy appendages – aryls.
The fruit of this tropical wonder, despite a peculiar smell that precludes its storage in closed spaces, is considered the most valuable fruit in Southeast Asia and South America (especially in Brazil). Locals say that the smell of durian causes controversial sensations in various people, while the taste is a heavenly delight.
Kiwano (or horned melon or African cucumber) is an exotic fruit that grows on grassy vines in the calabash family. The kiwano has been cultivated by mankind for more than 3,000 years. The plant reaches three meters in length. It is native to Africa. Kiwano is now cultivated in Central America, New Zealand and Israel.
Kiwano fruit is similar to a small oval melon with yellow, orange or red spikes with inedible hard leathery skin covered with soft spikes. It has green, gelatinous flesh with bright green, cucumber-like seeds. Fruit length – up to 15 cm Seeds are white, numerous, up to 1 cm long.
The taste of the fruit is similar to cucumber and banana. It can be used in both sweet and salty forms. Used in salty salads with salt and pepper in lemon juice. Also used in fruit and milkshakes and fruit drinks.
Horned melon contains few calories, so it is often used in dietary nutrition, including for weight loss.
The sugar apple (or Annona scales) is a low (3 to 6 meters) tropical fruit tree in the Annona family. The birthplace of the sugar apple is tropical America. It is commonly grown in South and Central America, the Antilles, India, Indonesia, southern China, the Philippines, Africa, Australia and Polynesia.
The compound fruit consists of berries, is round in shape and reaches a length of 10 centimeters. It is covered with a rough, flaky skin, the color of which varies depending on the species. Fruits are green, yellow-green and purple.
The flesh of ripe fruits is creamy white, soft and juicy with a fine texture and a unique aroma. The taste is sweet, resembling that of a pudding. Inside the fruit are many (20-60) black, shiny seeds, which have toxic properties. However, if the seeds are accidentally swallowed without chewing, they will not cause much harm. However, care should be taken, as the insidious seeds can cause significant disruption to the digestive tract.
Ripe fruits are eaten fresh by scooping the flesh and separating the seeds with a spoon, and are also used to prepare refreshing drinks with ice.
The sugar apple is not only delicious, but also a very healthy fruit. It has a high content of vitamins A, B and C, a lot of copper, iron and calcium.