Exotic fruits you'll love
Ever wondered what that big, hairy brown thing was lurking at the back of the veg aisle of your local supermarket? Or what to do with that scary-looking bright green fruit with the sharp bits coming out of it? If so, you need theguide to exotic fruit and veg
Glide your trolley through the produce section of most big supermarkets these days and you'll be amazed at the diversity. Gone are the days when the pineapple was considered the height of exotica - we're now faced with a freakshow of striking colours, unusual shapes and unpronounceable names.
Ackees, breadfruits, callaloos and fuzzy melons are just some of the more exotic vegetables on offer today, to say nothing of jicamas, kudzus, cherimoyas or curubas. Little wonder, then, that greengrocers refer to these recent additions to our shelves as 'queer gear'.
Although unusual to Brits, for people living in the countries where these bizarre ingredients are grown they're as common as apples and pears. So don't be shy: give them a try.
Here's a list of the more common 'queer gear' to be found in supermarkets and greengrocers. Click here for some recipes using exotic ingredients.
Also known as a 'custard apple', the cherimoya is a large tropical fruit native to Peru. It has an unusual pale green skin covered in indentations, giving the fruit a scaly 'hand-grenade' appearance.
Large, black seeds run through the fruit (unlike the papaya , which has seeds concentrated in the centre). The flesh has a texture similar to that of firm custard, hence the name, and tastes like a mixture of papaya, banana and pineapple.
They are best eaten chilled - slice them in half and eat the flesh right out of the skin with a spoon, removing the seeds as you go.
A sweet, fragrant, tropical fruit native to South America, the guava comes in many sizes and colours. The varieties on sale in our supermarkets are generally oval in shape and small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, with a thin pale-green or yellow skin which should give slightly when pressed with the palm.
Guavas are a good source of vitamins A and C and are usually eaten raw or as part of a fruit salad - seeds run through the flesh, but these can be eaten safely. You can also make delicious juice, jams and preserves from them.
Choose fruit showing no signs of blemishes and, if they're hard and not ready to eat, ripen them at room temperature.
Recipe: Exotic Fruit SaladOver the page: Jerusalem artichoke and lychee