We’ve all seen the exotic produce items at the grocery store and wondered what exactly it is and who eats it. Here are a few strangely familiar fruits and vegetables you’ve likely seen gracing the shelves – and what you can do with them next time you feel like a foodie adventure.
Its name and appearance to the contrary, yucca is actually quiet delicious. Yes, this brown, somewhat hairy potato-y looking food is a healthy alternative to its fellow starch-mates. So the next time you’re planning on grilling burgers, try making this baked yucca recipe for a healthy side.
First, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Next, cut off the ends and use a quality, serrated peeler to peel the yucca’s skin. You can slice the yucca along the grain to create French fry shapes or you can slice it into rounds to make a chip shape. Spread the pieces on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. For a fun twist, you can also sprinkle on a little smoked paprika. Pop the tray into the oven for about ten minutes, depending on how thick you sliced your pieces. In the end, you want them to appear golden brown and be al dente. Serve with ketchup or guacamole dip.
Yellow, waxy, and star-shaped – this exotic fruit always stands out in the grocery store. But what to do with it? One option is to slice it, bake it, and cake it. Food Network has an easy and delicious recipe for making Starfruit Upside-Down Cake. Want a star-shaped snack? Check out the recipe on Epicurious for star-fruit chips. Looking for a liquid option? You can slice this fruit and throw it in to your favorite smoothie recipe to add a note of tropical flavor. For the grand finale, impress your loved one with a star-fruit steak, courtesy of AllRecipes.com. With so many options, this fruit really is a star.
This little fruit is just cute: the name, the size, the soft, fuzzy outside. Plus, it’s packed with nutritional benefits like fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and (of course) Vitamin K. To prepare kiwi, all you need is a quality peeler and a good knife. Once you’ve peeled the skin away, you can use your knife to cut it into slices or chunks. From there, you can easily mix the kiwi into a salad. Its tart taste combines especially well with strawberries, feta, and candied walnuts. You can also merge kiwi and strawberry into a smoothie by combining the fruits with yogurt, orange juice, banana, and a few handfuls of spinach for an extra don’t-even-know-it’s-there nutritional boost.
We’ve all seen jars of artichoke hearts, and we’ve certainly heard of (re: scarfed down) spinach-artichoke dip, but what about the actual artichokes we see in the produce section? They’re somewhat off-putting, with all those layers of protection. Fear not, fellow foodie – whole artichokes can be used in delicious and easy recipes.
If you’re looking to impress guests with a delicious, beautiful appetizer, it doesn’t get much easier than steamed artichokes. First, prepare your steamer. (If you don’t have one, you can use a pot of water with a steamer basket inserted.) Prepare the artichoke by removing any damaged leaves and cutting off most of the stem with a serrated knife. Steam the whole artichoke for about 20 minutes, or until the leaves come off easily and the stem can be easily stabbed with a fork. Pull the leaves off and arrange them on a platter then sprinkle with salt. When shopping for your party, buy a variety of dips, sauces, or tapenades. Place these in small bowls around your beautifully arranged platter and be ready for people to dig into this elegant, easy appetizer.
With all the reported health benefits of papaya, you should definitely work this exotic fruit into your diet. Studies say this fruit can: lower cholesterol, protect your vision from degenerating, improve your digestion, help reduce stress, and even ease menstrual pain.
So you’re sold on eating papaya, but how do you incorporate it into your diet? For a snack, try a papaya smoothie or Minimalist Baker’s Papaya Boat. As an entrée, you can try papaya-stuffed chicken or tacos with papaya-mango salsa. Want something more sweet? You can make papaya tarts, rum cakes, and even banana-papaya cupcakes. Talk about a stress reducer!