You may not know what those small fuzzy balls next to the grapes are, or what the heck to call the bizarrely shaped hard-shelled produce on aisle five, but that shouldn't stop you from buying on (or three) anyway.

Even in the most basic of supermarkets you can, at least one day out of the year, get your hands on a Willy Wonka-esque piece of fruit you've never tasted before. And they don't have to be intimidating. 

Most exotic fruits fit easily into the recipes you eat every day—cheesecakes, cocktails smoothies and sauces. So go ahead, take a bite, you know you want to it. I've got easy starter fruits for ya.

1. Lychee

sweet, chocolate, scallop, dairy product, cake
Photo courtesy of

Let's start off easy shall we? This fruit it found on just about every corner of every Chinatown across the United States. But what the heck do you do with them when you get home with a bundle of the pink and purple prickly little things?

What you don't do is watch this scene of Ezra Miller eating one at a dinner table discussion about eye balls in We Need to Talk About Kevin. (Context: Kevin's mom thinks he's responsible for his sister losing an eye.)

What you should do is purrée the gelatinous little balls and make yourself a lychee martini—if you're feeling lazy, or too squeamish to peel them after watching Ezra Miller do it, you can buy lychee juice at any Asian market. 

2. Star Fruit

sweet, vegetable
Photo courtesy of

The star fruit, aptly names for it's five-pointed shape, hails from Sri Lanka. But it's becoming more and more popular in the western culinary world—and for good reason, they're delicious. 

They can make for a mean beverage, but why ruin that impressive shape instead of using it to your advantage. Upside star fruit cakes not only look better, but taste better than upside down pineapple cakes. There, dinner party dessert sorted.

2. Horned Melon

No that's not Ghostbusters slime oozing from your vibrant yellow and orange horned melon, that's just...Actually I have no idea what is but it taste good and that's all that matters. 

Although they're cool to look at—if you want to feel like a kid in science class again, dissect one—they're not always appetizing on the dinner table. Enter horned melon sauce. Mix up the flesh with a little lime juice, pepper in some spices and you've got yourself a new best friend for grilled sirloin night.

4. Dragonfruit

Dragonfruits are a lot like dragons themselves; they're majestic and they taste great—I'm kidding, I would never eat a dragon (or a unicorn for that matter). And not unlike horned melons, they make for some great sauces. But it's hard to rip apart and mix together something so pretty, ain't it?

Don't worry, make dragonfruit salsa, and you can see your pretty fruit and eat it too (sorry, mangoes). The Central American and Southeast Asian grown fruit tastes like it was born to be in Mexican food, trust me.

5. Durian

durian, pasture, vegetable, jackfruit
Photo courtesy of

Durian gets a bad rap. Sure, it smells bad—really really, really bad—but a lot of great food in this world smell bad, namely intestines when you're cleaning them but still. Don't knock it 'til you try it, and don't try it unless it's cheesecake

Durian serves as an exceptional ingredient to a lot of different desserts, but there's nothing quite like durian purée to make a cheesecake go down easy. Prepare yourself for heaven.

6. Jackfruit

pasture, vegetable
Photo courtesy of

Meet the newest member of the mainstream meat substitute family. Seriously, jackfruit it popping up everywhere nowadays and usually slathered in barbecue sauce. 

I'm not a vegetarian (far from it) but I can get down with some jackfruit flesh in my sandwiches and on my salads. Considering how easy it is to make jackfruit jerky, I'd recommend you make your next road trip—ditch that gas station "jerky"—an occasion to fall in love with the sweetest savory fruit of them all.   

7. Mangosteen

purple mangosteen, nut, sweet, pasture, vegetable
Photo courtesy of

When it comes to fruits with the name "mango," -steens really caught the short end of the stick. Which is a bummer, because as great as mangoes are mangosteens have a lot to offer. And they don't have a giant misshapen pit that's nearly impossible to cut around. 

Don't hold back, get weird with 'em. I'm talking mangosteen and avocado yogurt parfait weird. You heard me. Live a little!