PT Food Co-op

Port Townsend Food Co-op, 414 Kearney St., Port Townsend, WA, 98368
Open Every Day 8am-9pm
Phone: (360) 385-2883

Not Your Mother’s Fruit Salad

Cherimoya? Dragon fruit? My mother never bought either in her life. Maybe yours didn’t either.

Occasionally, you’ll find things in our produce department that might be something you’ve never seen before. If so, don’t be shy about asking the produce staff what it is, what it’s for, and what to do with it. They’ll let you sample some, too.

In the case of cherimoya, Wikipedia says that it’s a fruit originally from the Andes, and the name originates from the Quechua word chirimuya, which means “cold seeds.” Sue, one of our produce workers, says if it’s green, it’s not ripe. Wait until it gets brown and mushy and almost looks like its gone bad. Once ripe, it will keep in the refrigerator for about three days.

Then what? Cut it open lengthwise. The seeds are not edible, toxic in fact like the skin, but big enough to pick out easily. Sue says a lot of people just eat it like pudding or custard. Because it has a sherbet-like texture, when eaten chilled and by the spoonful,  it has earned the nicknames, “ice cream fruit” and “custard apples.”

You can also cut it up in chunks and add it to fruit salad. If you Google “cherimoya recipes,” you’ll come up with loads of ideas including a meringue pie, sorbet, waffles, pancakes, and smoothies with which you can use this uncommon fruit.

Dragon fruit, on the other hand, is actually a cactus from Southeast Asia. You’ll know that it’s ripe if it has a little bit, but not much, give. Sources say the shelf life is as long as two-three weeks if refrigerated.

This fruit should also be cut length-wise and can be eaten plain as it tastes similar to a cross between a kiwi and a pear. Inside, you will find either a creamy white or shocking pink. Scoop the fruit out with a spoon and, again, do not eat the skin. The seeds are okay, though. Cut the fruit into cubes, and you are good to go. If you like, it’s okay to use the skin as a bowl to put the fruit into as a colorful serving implement.

Cooks find dragon fruit useful in many of the same ways as cherimoya. Salads, sorbet, salsa…you get the idea. A quick search on the Internet, and you’ll find plenty of ways to make your next meal unique and interesting.

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