Wednesday, October 18, 2017

11 Weird Citrus Fruits.

Fruit, Food, Citrus, Pomelo, GrapefruitYears ago, I taught school on a small remote Alaskan Island, accessible by helicopter except for a few weeks when the ocean ice became thick enough to land small planes on.

Although, I'm a math teacher, I had to teach language arts.  Since the island is so remote, most students did not get a chance to taste anything more exotic than oranges or tangerines.

I had a friend send any weird fruit he could find at the local grocery store, then priority mail it out to me for my students.  This way, they had a chance to see something out of the ordinary and they had a chance to taste these odd fruits.

Some of the citrus fruits on the strangest fruit list made it out to the island but many didn't.

1. Buddist Hand or Fingered Citron is a yellow fruit with long finger like tendrils off a central bud that looks like an alien hand.  This seedless fruit emits a lemony scent when cut open.  It does not have juice or pulp but is filled with a pith. It is not edible in the traditional sense but its rind can be candied or used in baking.  It is also considered one of the oldest citrus fruits believed to have traveled from India to China and Japan where they are displayed for good luck.

2. Yuzu is a citrus with bumpy skin and hailing from Japan.  This Vitamin C (three times richer than lemons) fruit tastes like a cross between lemon, mandarin and grapefruit and has caught the imagination of chefs.  Although not as popular in the United States, it has been used for centuries in Asia, it is used in Ponzu sauce often used in Japanese cooking.

3. Pomelos look as if they are a huge grapefruit but they do not have any of the grapefruits bitterness.  This was one of the fruits sent out to me. I remember  it was much sweeter than expected.  It can be used in salads, marinades, cocktails and salsas.

4. Tangelos which are a mix of a Tangerine and a Pomelo or Grapefruit. They are about the same size as oranges but have a sweet juice with a tart after taste.  A couple of these were sent out.  The kids thought they were weird oranges but enjoyed them.

5. Finger limes come from the rain forests of Australia and are known as the caviar of citrus because they are filled with pearls of tart flavor.  Their skin ranges in color from green to black. The fruit is about the size of a gherkin filled with individual globules bursting with a lemon lime flavor and are used in salads, or toppings for other things such as shrimp.  

6. Calamansi limes which look more like oranges due to their shape and orange skins but are quite small.  Its flavor is a mix of lemon, kumquat, and lime.They are used in Filipino cooking.  I've only seen pictures of this particular fruit.

7. Meyer lemons are slightly smaller than regular lemons but are prized by chefs for their sweeter, less acidic flavor. They were brought to the United States back in 1908 by Frank Meyer.   I have heard of them but I've never seen any for sale at the local stores.

8. Bergamont and I am not talking about the herb used to flavor things.  This fruit looks like a regular grapefruit with clear pulp but has begun surpassing blood oranges in its use by chefs.  It originated in Italy as a cross between a sour orange and a lime.  Its flesh is used in marmalade's and jams while it skins are used in pastries.  Chefs love its distinctive flavor.

9. Kumquats are the size of an olive and look like a small oval citrus fruit. whose juice is both tangy and sweet.  It is eaten whole but can be used in salads, jams, or marmalade's. I actually ended up with a couple out on the island.  The students couldn't believe they were so small and so orange. 

10. Blood limes.  yes, you read that right.  I have never heard of these before today.  They are a cross between red limes and the Ellendale Mandarin, specifically created in Australia as a salt resistant crop.  It produces fruit in the winter.  The outside is usually red while the interior ranges from  a yellowish orange to a reddish tint.  It's pulp is said to be full of flavor that bursts in your mouth and is sweeter than standard limes. 

11.  Ugli Fruit or Jamaican Tangelo has a thick wrinkled peel that hides a sweet interior.  They were discovered growing wild in Jamaica about 80 years ago.  One of these was sent out and the kids loved it after they got over the funny skin.  This was one of the fruits they wanted more of.

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