Right from the time of ABC,perhaps the first thing we know is ‘A for Apple’.The shape,color and texture of the apple is as clear to us, as is the clarity of the alphabet song.Its when we progress from A to O, that the next word registers to us as being another important member of the fruit family,’orange’.From then on,its our constant exploration at familiarizing with the everyday fruits.
Jabuticaba, ackee, durian, physalis, miraclefruit, mangosteen, langsat, cherimoya are a few of the many names that one may not be very familiar with as opposed to the everyday names of apple, orange, mango and banana. Yet all belong to the same family. The family of fruits. Yes, but with a difference; ‘The family of exotic fruits’.
“I’ve grown up in the midst of fruits of every kind and variety”, says Nujoom Salim Kutty who runs a family business dealing with the logistics of fruits and vegetables, Falcon Trading LLC in Oman.
“ It is very sad that people don’t get to see more than half of the variety of fruits that are available in the market and have to buy the apples, stick to the oranges and regular bananas at all times”, he added.
The more exotic the fruit, the less readily available it is to the common man. The health benefits of these fruits are so immense that the lack of availability and awareness is a very upsetting scenario.
“You need no pain killers or Red bull, just have a passion fruit,” mentioned Nujoom.
Some of the many fruits not familiarly known to the people are the Miracle fruit, which turns the sour taste of fruits like lemons and limes to sweetness when the juices are mixed together. The Durian is revered in South East Asia as the ‘King of Fruits’, but unknown to most other parts of the world. The Mangosteen is supposed to have been a favourite of Queen Victoria who is said to have offered a reward of 100 pounds to anyone who could bring her a fresh one. Mark twain once referred to the Cherimoya as the ‘most delicious fruit known to men’. The Aguajefruit or the snake fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and A with the pulp used to occasionally treat burns.
If such exotic fruits don’t make way to our grocery stores, the question arises; who does the market have these fruits for?
“Hotels and The Palace,” notes Nujoom. “The palace buys a lot of these fruits. They are healthy,” he adds with a laugh. “The cost of these fruits is very high as it is not grown locally, that many hypermarkets usually don’t demand them, for not many people want to have fruits for that price.”
We are baffled by a produce aisle in a modern supermarket in believing that we have an expansive variety of choice in the fruits we eat. The reality is that the world is full of bizarre and exotic fruits one has hardly heard of before and it is a very small sample of Nature’s bounty we are exposed to.
“I would suggest that people try these fruits even if they are a little expensive. The health benefits far surpass its price”, he highlighted.
That’s when we could come to a conclusion that these are very rightly the ‘fruits of luxury’(pun intended) distant from the reach of common households.