10 Healthy Exotic Fruits You May Not Know



Getting a little bored with bananas, apples, and oranges? Your local markets prominently display plenty of the healthy fruits that you've known for years, but maybe if you look a little closer you'll find some interesting exotic fruits lurking on the shelves.

They're mostly exotic because they're not well known outside of their country or region. They may or may not be any better for you than those trusty blueberries you've got in the fridge right now, but they're fun to try and it's always good to expand your palate a little bit. Any reason to up your intake of healthy fruits is a good reason.

So, are you an early adapter in the kitchen? You could be the first person on your block to nibble on these delicacies. The next thing you know they'll be everywhere.


Cucamelons look like teeny tiny watermelons originally from Mexico and Central America. They're also called watermelon gherkin cucumbers, mouse melons, or Mexican sour gherkins.

Cucamelons are crisp and succulent and taste like a combination of cucumbers and limes. They make a terrific low-calorie addition to salads or fresh salsa and make a healthy snack. Look for cucamelons in the summer and fall months.

Sugar Apple

Cinnamon apple, buddha head fruit, Taidong, Taitung, Republic of China, Taiwan, Asia
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Sugar apple is commonly grown on trees in the tropical parts of South America, southern Mexico, and the Carribean. It's also cultivated in south Florida, so you can find it in some grocery stores where it might also be called sweetsop or annona. Sugar apple is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6.

Sugar apple is usually eaten raw (but you have to spit out the seeds). Or separate the seeds from the delicious flesh and blend it with milk and ice cubes in a high-speed blender. Look for sugar apples in the fall months.


One whole and one half kiwano
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Kiwano, also known as jelly melon or horned melon, originated in Kalahari, Africa. Today it's grown in New Zealand. The flesh tastes like a combination of cucumbers, bananas, and lime. Kiwanos​ are loaded with vitamin C and they're also a good source of potassium, vitamin A, magnesium,​ and iron. 

Kiwanos are fully ripened when the exterior is bright orange. The fruit contains a lot of seeds, which are OK to eat, but you can remove them if you prefer. Eat the flesh as a snack or add it smoothies, fruit salads, or salsas.


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Durian is a rather distinctive fruit (emphasis on the "stink" part) because it has an unusual (awful) odor. Durian fruits originated in Southeast Asia where it is known as the king of fruits.

Durians are high in B-complex vitamins, fiber, potassium and healthy fats. odor. It originated in Southeast Asia where it is known as the king of fruits. Durian is high in B vitamins, fiber, potassium, and healthy fats.

Look for durian fruits in the summer. Eat the raw segments as a snack or as part of a meal.


Fresh mangosteens
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Mangosteen, sometimes called xango, grows on trees in tropical parts of Asia. It's fairly high in calcium, magnesium, and fiber.

Mangosteen segments are quite sweet on their own and can be eaten raw as a simple dessert or snack. You might be lucky enough to find fresh mangosteen, but it's more commonly found in the canned fruits and vegetable section of your local grocery store.

Star Fruit

Star fruit with three slices cut from it.
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Star fruit originated in Southeast Asia, and it may also be called carambola, belimbing, or madun. It has a sweet, yet tart, flavor. Star fruit is high in vitamin C and fiber, plus it's low in calories.

Fresh start fruit is available year round. Choose fruits that are yellow in color, or let green star fruits ripen a bit at home. Sliced star fruits can be added to salads, eaten out of hand or added to smooothies.

Dragon Fruit

High Angle View Of Halved Pitaya On Cutting Board
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A dragon fruit is a rather impressive thing to look at with its spiny pink exterior and seeded white flesh. Dragon fruit is native to Central America. It has a mild flavor, so it's perfect for picky eaters. Dragon fruit is high in vitamin C and B vitamins, plus it's low in calories.

Dragon fruit is available most any time of the year. Eat the flesh plain or add it to fruit salads and smoothies.


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Lychee fruits originated in China and Vietnam. They're high in vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and potassium. One cup of fresh lychee has about 125 calories.

Peel away the dark red skin to expose the white flesh, which can be eaten raw, added to fruit salads or salsas. Fresh lychees may be available in the spring, but canned lychees are available year round. Keep in mind the canned fruits often contain extra calories and sugars from added syrup.


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The pummelo is the largest member of the citrus fruit family and tastes like a grapefruit, but slightly sweeter. Pummelos originated on trees in Southeast Asia and Malaysia. They're high in potassium, folate, and vitamin C and not too high in calories. One cup of pomelo sections has only 72 calories.

Use pummelo sections in recipes that call for fresh grapefruit or eat it out of hand for a delicious snack. Look for fresh pummelo in grocery stores during the winter months.

Camu Camu

Camu Camu Berries
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Camu camu berries grow in the Amazon rainforest of South America. It's high in vitamin C and also contains lutein, beta-carotene, and several minerals. It's also high in antioxidants.

It's not easy to find fresh camu camu berries outside of South America yet, but powdered camu camu can be added to smoothies, yogurt, or healthy juice beverages.


Fruits and Veggies More Matters. "Fruit Nutrition Database."

United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28."

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