Health Benefits of Odd Fruits You Can Buy   at The Grocery Store 

If you're like me, you're a regular at your favorite local grocery store (or you were before COVID-19).  If this is the case, chances are, you notice when new produce gets put on display right next to the blueberries you're so familiar with.  Unknown fruits are alluring; trying new things is fun!  This guide of health benefits of odd fruits you can find at the grocery store will just be further incentive to head to Kroger (or your nearest grocery store) and buy that pretty looking pitaya.

Buddha's Hand

On its own, this fruit isn't typically a snack of choice.  It's a bitter sweet citrus from India with minimal juice, and relatively no seeds.  However, it is believed to have a variety of medicinal properties.  One of its magical properties that I found to be highly interesting was that it's often used for respiratory issues to help clear your throat of all that crud.  It's also anti-inflammatory, and contains three particularly interesting naturally occurring chemicals: coumarin (also found in cinnamon) is believed to have health benefits of antioxidants, antibacterials, as well as anticancer properties.  Then there's diosmin, which is used clinically for treatment of disorders of blood vessels as well as to reduce swelling after surgeries and to prevent liver toxicity.  The other chemical worth mentioning is limonin, (the chemical responsible for the bitterness found in certain citrus fruits) which may prevent certain forms of cancer. 

Ok now that you're on board with trying this extraterrestrial looking fruit, you're probably wondering how to actually eat it.  A few ways that you can highlight this fruit's potential is by candying its peel, infusing it into simple syrup (for boozy beverages), or infusing its zest into salt or sugar.  Buddah's hand is in season from late fall through early winter, so you'll be more likely to come across it in November-ish.


Also known as the custard or sugar apple, this Peruvian fruit is loaded with tons of benefits.  If its nicknames weren't enough to put a smile on your face, it also contains vitamin B6, which increases dopamine levels.  This fruit is also full of vitamin C to help boost your immune system so it can fight off bad antigens, fiber to keep your GI tract happy, and potassium and magnesium to regulate your blood pressure.  It additionally contains the inflammation preventer: kaurenoic acid,  which is also said to be an anticancer, anti-HIV-1 agent.  Furthermore, there has been test-tube studies on the catechins found in cherimoya, providing evidence of stopping up to 100% of breast cancer cell growth.  I'd lastly like to mention its eye health properties;  Lutein fights free radicals found in our eyes, and prevents vision loss.

The amazing benefits of cherimoya are plane to see, now how does one eat this custardy apple?  Well the American author, Mark Twain describes the fruit on its own as, "deliciousness itself".  The easiest answer to this question is just to slice into it, and scoop out its center with a spoon.  It's sweet like candy and reminiscent of bananas, papayas, peaches, and even pineapples depending on its ripeness upon consumption.  With its flavor profile in mind, you might find that adding cherimoya to parfaits, milkshakes, puddings, or in a fruit salad will send your tastebuds on a tropical vacation.  You'll be more likely to find this tropical custard apple between the months of November and May.

Dragon Fruit

Unless you've been hiding under a rock your whole life (like Patrick Star), you'll recognize this pitaya as dragon fruit.  Now what makes it all the rage lately?  Containing notable amounts of carbohydrates, iron, magnesium, and fiber, all of these beneficial components add up to make the ultimate pre-workout snack.  Promoting gut health, bone strength, readily available energy, as well as good blood flow, one would think this fruit must've been created specially for the health gurus out there.  On top of all that, it contains vitamin C for your immunity, betalains, and heart disease fighting carotenoidsBetalains protect your liver from toxicity, reduce risk of blood clots, and reduce LDL cholesterol (aka bad cholesterol) levels.

If you haven't gotten around to trying this fruit yet, it's actually not too exciting as far as flavor profiles go.  It's essentially a mild tasting kiwi.  It's beautiful and extremely healthy, so it's not like it's a complete waste of money and calories.  Ways to eat dragon fruit include, but are not limited to, scooping out the insides with a spoon, adding it to a tropical açai bowl, making a tropical fruit salad, or dragon fruit nice-cream.  The peak season of this fruit is summer (dragons do like it hot, after all), but there are other varieties of pitaya that can get you through the winter seasons.


This is another exotic fruit you've probably heard of, or tried in a readily prepared meatless meal.  A fruit being turned into meat substitute?  Hold onto that thought; we'll get to it later.  First thing's first: this dinosaur egg-looking thing comes from South India and it can weigh up to 80 pounds (that's the weight of the average fifth grader)!  Ok, now let's get to the juicy stuff:  This giant is packed with nutrients, and virtually every vitamin and mineral you need to survive.  Unlike your typical fruit, jackfruit provides more than 3 grams of protein per one cup serving.  It's also relatively low in sugar, so it can help prevent blood sugar spikes.  Similar to the dragon fruit, jackfruit contains carotenoids and vitamin C to help lower risks of inflammation and keep your immunity up, respectively.  On top of that, it contains flavonoids. Flavonoids are another way this fruit helps control blood sugar and prevent type 2 diabetes, but it also helps with blood pressure and cholesterol.  Finally, this fruit can be utilized to lower risk of heart disease due to its levels of fiber, antioxidants, and potassium.

As a tropical fruit, it can be grown in many different hot and sunny places pretty much year round.  Like I said, this fruit can be prepared as a meat alternative.  Its shredded pork-like texture, as well as its capacity to soak up flavor, makes it a vegetarian's best friend.  A few of the many recipes you should give a go include, vegan BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, meat-free tacos, BBQ sweet potato mac & cheese, and BBQ pizza.  When cut into and eaten straight off the seed, its meat tastes like a peachy-mango.  Target also has dried jackfruit, which I definitely recommend if you're a fan of freeze-dried fruits.  


This African originating horned melon may be intimidating at first, but it's really packed with vitamins and minerals that are linked to a ton of benefits for your physical, as well as mental health.  Similar to the dragon fruit, this spiky melon contains iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C.  Additionally, zinc is found in sufficient amounts in this fruit.  This combo of electrolytes, vitamins, and vital nutrients work together help you stay hydrated, maintain healthy bones and skin, strengthen your immunity, lower blood sugar, as well as fight cardiovascular diseases.  Zinc and magnesium are also linked to healthy brain functioning as well as improving moods of people who consume it in decent amounts.  

Like most of the other fruits mentioned above, this fruit can be sliced in half and scooped with a spoon.  Its seedy and bright green interior tastes like a combo between a ripe banana and a kiwi.  If that's too boring for you, it also can be great in a salad, as a frozen dessert, as an impressive mousse, or a smoothie bowl.  You're more likely to find this spiky fruit in the summer season; just in time for a refreshing kiwano salad.


One of my personal favorites, these little guys are packed with flavor.  This orange resembling fruit is a more sour and candy-like version of your average clementine, and the image above is pretty much actual size!  This adorable fruit was brought from southeast Asia to warmer areas of the United States.  Its peel and edible seeds contain the fat known as omega-3, which is incredibly important brain food that has many benefits ranging from fighting autoimmune diseases, to reducing Alzheimer's disease symptoms, and even fighting anxiety and depression.  Like virtually every citrus on the planet, kumquats contain loads of vitamin C.  Similarly to jackfruit, flavonoids are found in this teeny, tiny orange.  On top of that, they contain phytosterols, which are important for heart health as they lower LDL cholesterol.

This adorable fruit is a perfect bite sized snack to enjoy, whenever they're in season that is (which happens to be late winter to early spring, at its peak).  With an edible peel and so many nutritional benefits, munching on these babies are a sure-fire way to keep the doctor away.  Other ways to eat this fruit include making it into marmalade, adding it to salsas and salads, creating boozy concoctions, or even puréeing them and baking them into cakes.  Not only is it yummy to eat, but it also makes a great essential oil; limonene found in kumquats creates a healthy and uplifting atmosphere.

Prickly Pear

Originating in dry deserts, you'd think this fruit would be a dried up and decrepit ball of dust.  In reality, this low calorie fruit is high in potassium and good carbs to power you through your cardio routine.  There's also 21% of your RDI of fiber to keep your GI tract feeling happy.  Vitamins A and C also make a reasonable appearance in this cactus-fruit to improve immunity.  Calcium is also present in this exotic fruit to help prevent bone demineralization, cancers, and diabetes.  Another tip I found to be useful is that its electrolytes help soothe your hangover symptoms after a night out with the homies.

Try to remember to check your grocery store's produce section between August and December if you're interested in trying prickly pears.  Grab a spoon and slice this cactus fruit open to taste its mildly melon-like interior.  It's also great in beverages like iced teas, cocktails, smoothies, or lemonades.  It can also be great in baked goods to help highlight its otherwise subtle flavor.


Upon first glance, this gnarly looking thing looks far from edible.  In reality, this Southeast Asian fruit is overflowing with all sorts of benefits.  Some of rambutan's pluses that stand out the most include its abilities to rejuvenate your healthy hair, skin, and nails, as well as clean your kidneys of all the effects of diuretics you drink each morning (and night during finals week).  Their notable components of zinc fuel your hair and nails with healthy proteins to help them grow strong and long (Rapunzel must've had a stash of these in her tower).  Potassium found in this little dude will lower your risk of kidney stones and even kidney failure.  Likewise to the previously mentioned fruits above, your immunity, blood pressure, heart, and vision will thank you for adding rambutan to your diet.  One more thing for all the athletes and anemics (and borderline anemics) out there, consuming rambutan will increase your erythrocyte production. 

Now how does one go about eating one of these things?  Use a sharp knife and carefully cut through the rough outer shell.  Next, remove the bitter seed and voila;  it's ready to consume.  The taste is sweet yet sour like a mango or pineapple, so rambutan would make a lovely addition to smoothies, martinis, Asian fruit salads, and sorbets.  The rambutan tree blossoms twice a year, blessing us with its fruits during mid summer as well as in early winter.

To Summarize:

These supernatural-looking fruits are a lot less intimidating, now that you know just how beneficial they really are. They're so healthy and chock-full of amazing benefits that aren't found in your average bunch of grapes.  If they're in season, and your grocery stores have them in stock, I recommend purchasing them while you have the chance!  With your new found knowledge of health benefits of odd fruits you can buy at the grocery store, splurging on a few cherimoyas will be a valid choice. Trying new things is apart of life, so don't knock 'em until you try 'em.