Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What are tropical fruits?

This is a start for many types of tropical fruits. But what is a fruit? And what makes it tropical? The answer is coming afterhere.

In botanical biology a fruit is the ripened ovary of a flowering plant, which contains the seeds, such as mango, apple, cherries and so on. Strictly speaking the word tropical refers to the tropics, which is the area of earth centered on the equator and limited in the North by the Tropic of Capricorn. The tropical zone stretches from 23.4 degree North latitude to 23.4 degree South latitude. Tropical fruits are those that have their origin in the tropics and require a rather tropical or subtropical climate, and they don’t tolerate frost. However, some tropical fruits are also grown in warmer areas out side the tropics.

There are hundreds of edible tropical fruits. I can list some following:

First, I want to mention is the Mangos teen.

The Magos teen is a fruit that is unique to South-East Asia. The fruit is extremely hard to grow and it often takes 8-15 years for a tree to bear fruits. The rind of the mangos teen is dark purple marked by a yellowish resin. In terms of size and shape, the mangos teen is similar to the Japanese persimmon. It is also compared to a small potato. When sliced at the equator, the mangos teen yields white segments of flesh. These segments taste sweet and sour and have a light acid after (taste similar to grapes or strawberries).

Second, the Rambutan. It is also known as Hairy Cherry, has its origin in the tropical low-lands of Malaysia. The name Rambutan comes from the Malay word “rambut” for hair. Today, the rambutan is grown in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. The fruit is about 5 cm long and has soft flesh hair from 2 to 3 cm long over the entire surface. The peel turns from green to yellow to red as the fruit ripens. Once peeled the fruit yields a flesh that is white and firm. The rambutan grow in large bunches on trees that are 20 m high.

Next, I like to introduce the Sapodilla. Sapodilla is one of several fruits which were brought to South-East Asia from Central America. During their  occupation of the Philippines, the Spaniard brought this fruit to the country and eventually it was expected to the rest of region. When ripe, the fruit is sweet, and has a molasses-like taste. The peel is thin and brown and the flesh itself is light brown. It is best eaten a couple days after it is picked, to wait for its resin to dry.
Do you know the Papaya? It is originated in Central America, and came to the Philippines during the Spanish occupation of this coutry. The fruit eventually spread throughout South-East Asia. The papaya tree bears only either male or female flowers with the female producing the fruits. Consequently, the male tree must be close by to pollinate the female flowers. The fruits are large, weighing up to 9 kg and often look like a large squash. The skin is thin like those of the watermelon and turns from green to yellow and orange as the fruit ripens. The flesh of the papaya may be yellow, orange, or reddish orange and has a consistency of a very ripe (soft) cantaloupe. Papayas are sweet and are used as dessert.




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