Let’s talk about Florida’s amazing exotic, tropical fruits! While most of these fruits are grown in Southwest Florida, you can find many of these all over the state in farmers markets, beach markets, grocery stores, and incorporated in the local fare. You may even see some of these offerings in your hometown grocery stores, but that experience is not quite the same as buying it fresh from the state from which it’s grown. Not even close!
Here are 8 interesting fruits you can enjoy while vacationing in Florida. There is a very long list of other ones, too. It’s fun trying new things and expanding your flavor palate. Not only are the varieties of fruit beautiful arrayed in their colors, but they’re also extremely healthy containing vitamins and minerals your body needs. Let us know what you think if you try these or other tropical fruits during your Indian Rocks Beach, Florida vacation. Enjoy!
Chocolate Pudding Fruit
Fruit that tastes like chocolate pudding? Yes! Also known as Black Sapote or Sapote Negro, this fruit is native to Mexico and part of the persimmon family. When the skin turns from light green to dark green and the fruit becomes very ripe, that’s when you eat it. It’s black, sweet, creamy pulp has a flavor and texture reminiscent of chocolate pudding. Try it!
You may have enjoyed a mixed drink or tropical smoothie that contains guava or guava flavoring, but there’s nothing quite like eating it fresh with its complex, fragrant, sweet scent and taste. The flavor is reminiscent of strawberries paired with a rich, creamy texture. Guava is very nutritious, rich in vitamins A and C, and the seeds contain omega-3 and omega-6. You can bite right into it skin or all slice it up as you please.
Mamey sapote (pronounced “mah-MAY sah-POE-tay”) is extremely popular in Cuba. This football-shaped fruit can reach eight inches long with a brown skin and vibrant reddish-pink flesh that has the texture of an avocado. The flavor is similar to a sweet potato mixed with a dash of almond with hints of mango—but it will taste better than any sweet potato you’ve ever eaten.
Native to Southern Asia and popular in India, jackfruit has a deliciously intense tropical aroma and flavor. Jackfruits are usually huge—the size of a watermelon or even larger—and covered with thousands of tiny, soft pointy spikes. Inside the jackfruit are large seeds, each with a jacket of yellow flesh surrounding the seed (the jacket of flesh is what you eat). The taste is similar to Juicy Fruit gum and great when used in smoothies or frozen as ice cream.
Lychee is a subtropical fruit tree that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. These evergreen trees produce juicy, bright pink–red fruits with a sweet, yet slightly acidic, flavor. Eaten mostly fresh, they can be used as an ingredient in drinks, desserts, and main dishes. The skin is an inedible protective rind that you can crack open with your teeth. Inside, the flesh is whitish-translucent, with a luscious flavor and soft, melting texture, and its own distinctive lychee flavors. There’s a seed in the center; just spit it out.
Star Fruit, also known as Carambola, are so fun to look at when they’re sliced into their familiar celestial star shape and look amazing on a fruit tray. Star fruit is native to Southeast Asia but has been grown in Florida for over 100 years. Older varieties of Carambola tend to be quite tart; while the newer cultivars are becoming more sweet. The fruit is fleshy with a yellow, waxy edible peel; the seeds are edible as well. When fully ripened, star fruit is crisp and sweet—and a good source of vitamins C and A, phosphorus, and potassium.
Don’t let the name fool you! Soursop is actually a sweet and delicious fruit. The consistency is custard-like, similar to sweetsop (more commonly known as a sugar apple… go ahead and look that one up, too, as they’re in the same family.) Soursop’s flavor is what sets it apart. It has been described as a combination of strawberry, apple, and even citrus. Look for varieties called “sweet” as some cultivars are more sour than others.
Tamarind is a tropical fruit that’s widely used in Southeast Asian and Caribbean cuisines. The brown, bean-shaped fruits have pulp inside them that tastes like a tart fusion of apricots, dates, and lemons with large seeds that are easy to remove. Tamarind is an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. Even if you don’t live where you can grow tamarind, you can usually buy tamarind paste and frozen concentrate at Asian grocery stores. It also offers a lot of health benefits. (As the writer of this blog, I will tell you that my husband forms the tamarind flesh into little bite-size balls and then rolls them in brown sugar like a sweet-and-sour candy. So good!)
Are you ready to go shopping for fresh fruit and other goodies to bring back to your Indian Rocks Beach vacation rental? Explore the fresh Florida grown fruits and veggies at Surfside Fresh Produce in Indian Rocks Beach. If there’s something exotic you’re looking for that is not in the shop, ask Morgan. She will do what she can to find it for you.
HAVE YOU TRIED ANY EXOTIC TROPICAL FRUITS DURING YOUR FLORIDA GULF COAST VACATION?
We want to know!