We've been looking at little-known produce lately the weirder the better and in alphabetical order, too! We've hit the ground running with some fun fruits from A through H. Whaddaya say we pick up a few more?
Starting with I for Idared apple. Idareds are bright red apples with a tart flavor that keep their shape when baked whole and are a great stand-in for traditional Granny Smith apples for pies and applesauces.
J is for jelly melon, and K is for kiwano both are the same thing. This bizarre, almost alien looking fruit has spikes on its yellowish-orange skin with lime green jellyfish flesh and great big seeds. Sounds delicious, doesn't it? The flavor is sort of a mix between bananas, cucumbers and lemons. Makes you want to run out and buy some!
The L fruit is loquat. Loquats have an orange or cream-colored skin. Lovely loquats look rather apricotish and have a large seed in the middle. Their flavor is again a mixture of pineapple, apricot and plum both sweet and tart at the same time. Found in the summer, luscious loquats are bursting with vitamin A, some C and calcium, too.
M is for medlar, a small fruit that is kin to the rose and apple. A late bloomer (you can find medlars in the late fall), this fruit doesn't exactly win awards for its looks. The brown fruit with the almost open-end bottom looks like an overgrown blueberry. The sweet, almost winelike taste has afforded the medlar quite a few fans. Next fall, see if you can see the mighty medlars taking up residence in your produce department!
Netted melons are better known as musk melons. It's the net pattern on its skin that gives this melon its name. Cantaloupes are a type of musk melon, as is the Tennessee musk melon, which looks very similar to the typical cantaloupe, however, the elongated shape makes it stand away from the crowd.
O'Henry peaches are freestone peaches, peaches with flesh that pulls easily away from the stone or pit. O'Henry are brightly colored (nearly red) with minimal fuzz and ripen late in the season. Not your typical peach but firm and juicy at the same time.
P is for persimmon, an extremely sweet fruit that looks much like a tomato, only orange. A good source of fiber and potassium, persimmon pudding and persimmon preserves are commonly made from the persimmon.
Q is for quince, the fruit that looks like an apple and a pear had a baby together! Quince has been around for thousands of years; some have even postulated that Eve's forbidden fruit was actually quince! Quince is a fruit that needs cooking to bring out the best of its goodness. Quince jam, marmalades and poached quince are essential for the adventurous palate!
R is red globe grapes, which look like mutant giant red seedless grapes. The difference, of course, is size and seeds. The clusters of red globes are big and boisterous and fun to eat. The grape itself will fully occupy your mouth, making the one-at-a-time rule a necessity. Like all grapes, red globes are chock full of antioxidants, especially resveratol, the highly prized antioxidant that is known for its cancer fighting properties.
Leanne Ely, aka Dinner Diva, is the author of the best-selling "Saving Dinner" and "Saving Dinner the Low Carb Way" (Ballantine). What's for dinner? Go to www.savingdinner.com and find the solution!