Tasty Trivia

It’s time to play Guess That Fruit or Veggie! Think you know your produce? See if you can figure out what these exotic picks are.

(Stumped? Scroll down for the answers!)

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photo by Juuyoh Tanaka

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1. Native to southern China, Celtuce is an extreme variety of lettuce that looks and tastes like a combo of celery and lettuce. Beloved more for its fat, crisp-tender stem than its leaves (which are actually delicious in salad when picked young), you may find it called stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, wo ju, or kaki-jisha. In addition to steaming and sautéeing the stem, pickling is a popular way to prep it.

2. Ackee is Jamaica’s national fruit, but it looks and tastes more like a vegetable. Often served with saltfish, ackee has an incredibly creamy texture and flavor similar to that of an avocado and, when cooked, resembles scrambled eggs. The fruit turns red and splits open with sun exposure, at which point it’s harvested, the edible arils are removed and cleaned, and usually boiled and fried. But beware: the unripe fruit, which hasn’t had time to open and release its toxic gas, may cause what’s known as “Jamaican Vomiting Sickness.” There’s no danger in the ackee we have access to here in the U.S., however, as it’s canned and preserved in oil.

3. Sweetsop, or sugar-apple, is a sweet, aromatic fruit with a pinecone-like exterior and a creamy, custardy flesh that encases large black seeds. Rich in fiber and high in vitamin C, this Caribbean fruit is beloved for more than just its antioxidant properties. If you can see past its unusual texture and appearance, you’re in for a real treat: spit out the seeds and enjoy one of the sweetest, most intriguing fruits we’ve ever tasted!

4. Wax Jamboo is known by many names: rose apple, bellfruit, wax apple, cloud apple, and water apple. The bell-shaped fruit, which is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Samoa, has a grainy, watery flesh (more like a watermelon than an apple) that causes its waxy skin to bulge and crease.

Know any unusual fruits and veggies we haven’t mentioned? Leave them in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Tasty Trivia

  1. Durian is another exotic fruit. It can be found in Chinatown. The flesh is deliciously sweet and creamy however it smells like dirty socks. Make sure to open your windows before cutting the fruit.

  2. This is the first time I am seeing the first vegetable with an English name attached to it. I’ve always known it by the Chinese name, “wo sun,” and enjoyed it above any other sauteed vegetable when paired with dried tofu (another delicacy known to few outside of China). Hmmm… I think a trip to Chinatown is in order this weekend. Thanks for introducing this delicious vegetable!

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