If you love fruit salad, fruit hybrids might be right up your alley! Through breeding, some of your favorite fruits have actually been merged together, forming "Frankenfruits," many of which you can actually find at your grocery store. These fruits look a bit different than what you are used to and many have surprising flavor.
Pluots and plumcots are two popular variations. These summer delicacies are combinations of plums and apricots in varying proportions. According to Liz Sgroi in the video above, these hybrids take years to get right (20 years in the case of the pluot). Two other variations in the pluot and plumcot family are "the dinosaur egg," which has a speckled appearance, and black apricots, which taste more like apricots than plums.
Not into plums and apricots? How about a mixture of honeydew and cantaloupe? Behold: the orange-fleshed honeydew. It's honeydew on the outside but more like cantaloupe in the inside.
While many of the hybrid names are straight forward, if you'd guess that a mango nectarine was a mix of a mango and a nectarine, you'd actually be wrong! In actuality, it is a hybrid of two types of nectarines that end up tasting like mango. Go figure.
For the world's weirdest fruits, check out the slideshow below! Or for more on "Frankenfruits," including how they are made and what they look like, check out the video above!
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The World's Weirdest Fruits
This brilliantly purple fruit thrives in northern Japan, in the Tohoku area, but only briefly, making an appearance for about two weeks in early autumn. It grows on a wild vine and, for many Japanese people, is a symbol of the changing seasons. When the fruit is ripe and ready to eat, it pops open on one end. The gooey pulp inside is slightly sweet, while the rind is slightly bitter and is usually used as a vegetable. Do as locals do, and slurp up the flesh along with the seeds.
Image Credit: Studio Eye / Corbis
Native to southeastern Brazil, this strange bowling ball–esque fruit grows right off the main tree trunk. The deep-purple fruits have a white pulp inside that can be eaten raw or used in jellies. “Jaboticaba was very fun to eat,” recalls Tyler Burton, who lived in Brazil for two years. “You gently bite into them and the juice squirts out into your mouth, and you spit the seed and skin out.”
Image Credit: iStockphoto
What’s green and scaly all over? Cherimoya fruit, although the inside is white and creamy, with many dark brown seeds. It’s currently grown throughout South and Central America and South Asia (the name originally comes from the Quechua word chirimuya). Mark Twain called it the “most delicious fruit known to men,” and generations later, that reputation is holding up. Dan Clarke, who works for Real Peru Holidays, a company that specializes in vacations to Peru, says, “The usual English translation for it is ‘custard apple,’ which sounds tasty enough, but doesn’t come close to capturing the creamy sweetness.”
Image Credit: J.Garcia / PhotoCuisine / Corbis
Found in the tropical rainforests of Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and northern Brazil, these Amazonian fruits are oblong and fuzzy. Their outer shells are very hard and thick, and one fruit generally weighs two to four pounds. The pulp inside smells like a mix of chocolate and pineapple—only logical once you know this fruit is related to cacao. In fact, its pulp is similar enough to cocoa butter that it’s sometimes used in cosmetics. Meanwhile, the juice has been said to taste like a pear, with a hint of banana. Like the superfruit acai, cupuaçu has so many great phytochemicals and nutrients that it is sometimes used in food supplements.
Image Credit: Gillian Gutenberg
Also known as Buddha’s hand, this fruit has long yellow growths that really do resemble fingers. It’s used, appropriately enough, for religious offerings in Buddhist temples, mainly in China and Japan. Fingered citron is also a chef’s favorite. At Portland’s Pazzo Ristorante, chef John Eisenhart makes marmalade from it in the winter. Pastry chef Megan Romano of Chocolate & Spice Bakery, in Las Vegas, slices it paper-thin and poaches it in simple syrup to use as a chip to garnish ice cream or sorbet. And Vera Dordick, a trained pastry chef and former culinary instructor, particularly likes infusing the fruit in vodka: “so much more fragrant and flavorful than regular lemons,” she says.
Image Credit: Flickr / Zeping Yang
Related to the lychee and a native of tropical West Africa, ackee was imported to Jamaica in the 1700s and made a big impression; ackee and saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish. Ackee pods ripen on the tree before picking, and to cook the fruit, people remove the soft, spongy white-yellow flesh before boiling it. The oils contain many important nutrients like fatty acids, although the unripened parts of the fruit have been known to cause food poisoning. Canned ackee has been restricted in the U.S. at various times for safety reasons, but it currently has the FDA’s seal of approval.
Image Credit: Roderick Chen / First Light / Corbis
This fruit is also known as urucu, its Tupi Indian name, and can be found in the tropical parts of the Americas as well as Southeast Asia. The fruit is red and spiny—brown after it hardens—and contains bright red seeds. Unlike the other fruit included in this list, achiote’s fruit is inedible, so we can’t speak to its flavor. Instead, its bright red seeds come in handy in annatto coloring, which you may have seen on packages for everything from lipstick to cheddar cheese. In addition to being used for food coloring, achiote seeds can also be used to create a flavor and scent, like a peppery nutmeg.
Image Credit: Flickr / Daniel Dantas Sardi
A relative of the mulberry, jackfruit is native to South and Southeast Asia, and may have originated in the rainforests of India. Its most immediate and striking feature is its size. One fruit is at least as big as a watermelon, and it can reach 80 pounds. The outside of a jackfruit smells like a melon, and the inside has a sweet, tangy odor—smelling almost like gummy bears. The inside is divided into segments surrounding large seeds, and you can eat the orange flesh surrounding these pods. The fruit itself tastes sweet, similar to a melon or a tangy banana, and has an aftertaste similar to a lychee.
Image Credit: Hou Jiansen / Xinhua Press / Corbis
This fruit is native to Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. It’s related to the lychee and called chom chom in Vietnam, which means “messy hair.” Although the outside of the fruit looks exotic and strange, with the fiery red hair spiking out in all directions, the inside of the fruit is very similar to a lychee. Inside the hard red shell is an opaque fruit surrounding a pit in the middle, with nearly the same texture and taste as a lychee, though a bit less sweet.
Image Credit: Junko Kubota / AmanaImages / Corbis
This fruit is part of both the cucumber and the melon families. While native to Africa, the horned melon is now grown in California, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand and nicknamed blowfish in the southeastern U.S. The fruit immediately stands out for the horns on its orange exterior; the inside is equally strange—green, with white seeds. It tastes a lot like a cucumber—crossed with a zucchini—and while some people eat the seeds and the skin, it’s more common to eat just the pulp and spit out the seeds.
Image Credit: Studio Eye / Corbis
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