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NutriBase - Fruit Glossary
Category: Food and Drink > Fruit Glossary
Date & country: 13/11/2008, US
Words: 142


Acerola
A cherry-like fruit from a small tree in the West Indies and adjacent areas. This fruit contains a high concentration of vitamin C. Also called 'Barbados cherry' and 'Puerto Rican cherry.'

Ackee
A bright red tropical fruit ('blighia sapida') that features a soft, creamy white flesh. Captain Bligh brought the fruit from West Africa to Jamaica in 1793. Certain parts of the fruit are toxic when under-ripe.

Acorn Squash
An oval winter squash with a ribbed, dark green skin and slightly sweet orange flesh. May be eaten baked or directly from the shell. The word squash comes from the Massachusetts Indian word 'asquash,' meaning 'eaten green.'

Apple
Cultivated in temperate zones throughout the world for at least 3,000 years, there are now thousands of varieties of this popular member of the rose family.

Apricot
A relative of the peach, this fruit has been grown in China since 2,000 B.C. 90% of the American crop comes from California. Select plump, relatively firm fruit with a uniform color.

Avocado
A rich fruit known for its lush, buttery texture and mild, nutty flavor. Comes from the Nahuatl word for 'testicle,' perhaps for its shape. 80% of the U.S. crop comes from California. Avocados are the chief ingredient in 'guacamole.'

Balsam Pear
Not a pear at all, but the fruit of a tropical climbing herb in Africa and Asia. It is similar to a cucumber and is used as a vegetable in meat dishes, fish dishes, and in soups. Also called 'bitter melon' or 'bitter gourd.'

Banana
The world's most popular fruit. The most common U.S. variety is the yellow Cavendish. They are picked green and develop better flavor when ripened off the bush. Two sweeter varieties are the red banana and the dwarf or finger banana.

Barbados Cherry
A cherry-like fruit from a small tree in the West Indies and adjacent areas. This fruit contains a high concentration of vitamin C. Also called 'acerola' and 'Puerto Rican cherry.'

Beechnut
The small, triangular fruit of the beech tree that has been used since prehistoric times. The flavor has been described as a cross between a hazelnut and a chestnut. Usually roasted before serving. Used in breads and pressed for oil.

Bitter Melon
The fruit of a tropical climbing herb in Africa and Asia. It is similar to a cucumber and is used as a vegetable in meat dishes, fish dishes, and in soups. Also called 'Balsam pear' or 'bitter gourd.'

Blackberry
Also called 'bramble,' these are the largest of the wild berries, up to 1 inch long when mature. Look for plump, deep colored berries without hulls. (If hulls are present, the berries were picked too early and will be tart.)

Blueberry
The blue-black berries of this plant are smooth-skinned, round, juicy, and sweet. Look for firm, uniformly sized blueberries that are indigo blue with a silvery frost.

Bottle Gourd
A common variety of hard-shelled gourd, also called 'white-flowered gourd' and 'Calabash gourd.' This gourd is used in the West Indies to produce a very popular syrup. Its shell is often used to create bowls and other utensils.

Boysenberry
Created by horticulturist Rudolph Boysen in 1923 by crossing a raspberry, blackberry, and a loganberry. It is shaped like a large raspberry and has a rich sweet-tart flavor.

Bramble
These are the largest of the wild berries, up to 1' long when mature. Look for plump, deep colored berries without hulls. (If hulls are present, the berries were picked too early and will be tart.) More commonly known as 'blueberry.'

Breadfruit
This fruit is native to the Pacific. The fruit is up to ten inches in diameter and it has a bumpy green skin and a bland cream-colored center. Breadfruit can be baked, grilled, fried, or boiled, and served as a sweet or savory dish.

Breadnut Tree Seeds
The seeds of a tree from the mulberry family that is grown in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. These seeds are boiled, ground into flour and made into bread. Also called 'Jamaican breadnut' and 'Ramons.'

Bullock's Heart
Also called 'Custard Apple,' this tropical fruit tastes like a cross between pineapple, mango, and strawberry. The flesh is cream-colored and has the texture of firm custard.

Butternut Squash
Large winter squash that looks like a pear-shaped baseball bat. This vegetable weights about 2 to 3 pounds and has a sweet orange flesh. Used in breads, stews, soups, muffins, and puddings.

Caimit
The purple, white, green, yellow, or rose-colored fruit of a West Indian tree. When cut open, the seeds are disposed into the shape of a star. Also called 'star apple.'

Calabash
A common variety of hard-shelled gourd, also called 'bottle gourd' and 'white-flowered gourd.' This gourd is used in the West Indies to produce a very popular syrup. Its shell is often used to create bowls and other utensils.

Cantaloupe
True cantaloupes are European and are not exported to the U.S. North American 'cantaloupes' are actually muskmelons. The light orange flesh is mild, sweet, and very juicy.

Cape Gooseberry
Also called 'ground cherry,' this fruit has a bitter-sweet, juicy flesh. This fruit is eaten out of hand and used with meats, pies, jams, and savory foods.

Carambolla
Also known as 'star fruit,' this fruit reveals a star-shaped center when it is cut crosswise. This juicy and fragrant tropical fruit ranges in taste from sweet to tart, depending on the variety.

Carissa
This scarlet fruit of a South African shrub is an oval berry about 2 inches long. This fruit is used in pies, jellies, and preserves. Also called 'Natal plum.'

Casaba Melon
This member of the muskmelon family has cream-colored flesh, is extremely juicy, and has a mild cucumber-like flavor.

Chayote
This gourd-like fruit has a bland white flesh. Chayotes can be prepared in any way suitable for summer squash. It is a good source of potassium.

Cherimoya
This large tropical fruit tastes like a cross between a pineapple, mango, and strawberry. The flesh is cream-colored and has the texture of firm custard.

Cherry
There are two main types of cherries: sweet and sour. The sweet varieties include Bing, Lambert, Tartarian, and Royal Ann (from which Maraschino cherries are made). The sour types include Early Richmond, Montemorency, English Merello.

Chinese Date
A leathery skinned, olive-sized fruit that ranges from red, to off-white, to black, depending on the variety. It has a rather dry flesh that tastes somewhat like a prune. Also known as 'Chinese Jujube' and 'Red Date.'

Chinese Gooseberry
A fruit containing a brilliant green flesh with tiny, edible black seeds. It has a unique tart-sweet taste. Also known as the 'kiwi fruit.'

Chinese Watermelon
The melon-like fruit of a tropical Asian vine belonging to the gourd family. Also called 'white gourd.'

Citron
A semitropical fruit that resembles a six-to-nine inch long lemon. Because the pulp is very sour, it is unsuitable for eating. The extremely thick peel, however, is candied and used in baking.

Citrus
A large family of fruits that include grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, shaddocks, tangerines, and kumquats.

Coconut
Fruit of the coconut tree. It has a hard outer husk enclosing a large nut containing a white, edible, jelly-like substance called the 'endosperm.'

Cooking Banana
The fruit of a large tropical herb that belongs to the banana family, but are larger, starchier, and not as sweet. It has a squash-like flavor and is used much like a potato. Also called the 'baking banana' and 'plantain.'

Crabapple
A small, red apple with a hard, extremely tart flesh. Used in jellies and jams, but are generally too tart for eating out-of-hand.

Cranberry
A bright red berry of the heath family. About 70% of the crop comes from the Cape Cod area. Because of their tartness, they are often combined with other fruits and used in chutneys, pies, and other desserts.

Cranberry Bean
Also known as 'Roman beans,' these beans are buff-colored with reddish streaks. Used at add interest and visual appeal to salads and dishes like succotash.

Crenshaw
This hybrid muskmelon is considered one of the most succulent of melons. They weigh in at between 5 and 9 pounds.

Crookneck Squash
Any of several varieties of summer squash with a long curved neck and a bulbous base. The creamy-white flesh has a mild flavor.

Cucumber
A long, green, cylinder-shaped member of the gourd family with edible seeds surrounded by mild, crisp flesh. Used for making pickles and usually eaten raw. Cucumbers have been cultivated for thousands of years.

Currant
This fruit is a tiny berry from the gooseberry family. There are black, red, and white currants. Black ones are used in syrups and liqueurs; red and white ones are eaten and used in some preserves and sauces.

Custard Apple
Also called 'Cherimoya' and 'Bullock's Heart,' this tropical fruit tastes like a cross between pineapple, mango, and strawberry. The flesh is cream-colored and has the texture of firm custard.

Date
The fruit of the giant date palm, which lives up to 200 years and has been cultivated for over 5,000 years. Dates are about 55% sugar when picked--higher as they dry. In the U.S., dates are grown primarily in Arizona and California.

Dewberry
A trailing-vine variety of blackberry.

Dishcloth Gourd
The fruit of any of several tropical vines of the gourd family. Also called the 'Loofah,' 'rag gourd,' and 'vegetable sponge.' The dried insides of these gourds can be used as a sponge.

Dragon's Eye
A small, round fruit with a thin brown shell. Its flesh is soft, white, juicy, and surrounds one large black seed. Used as a snack, in oriental soups, desserts, and some sweet-and-sour dishes. Also called 'Longan.'

Elderberry
The purple-black fruit of the elder tree. Used to make jams, jellies, and the famous homemade elderberry wine--a spicy brew that can become as potent as its maker desires.

Feijoa
This small, egg-shaped fruit is native to South America. It provides a very fragrant, cream-colored flesh with a jelly-like center.

Fig
The fruit of any of approximately 700 varieties of fig trees. Figs are a good source of iron, calcium and phosphorus.

Gooseberry
Large tart berries used in jams, jellies, pies and desserts. The English and French use this berry to make gooseberry sauce for use with boiled or baked mackerel.

Granadilla
A tropical fruit native to Brazil, but now grown in the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia. The flavor is sweet, yet tart, and has a perfumy tropical fragrance. Also called 'passion fruit.'

Grape
Any of thousands of varieties of edible berries that grow in clusters. 'Slip-skin' varieties have skins that slip off easily. Table grapes are eaten out-of-hand. Grapes used for wines are highly acid and generally too tart to eat.

Grapefruit
So named because they grow in grape-like clusters. These large citrus fruits are grown in Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. They are available in both seeded and seedless varieties.

Ground Cherry
Also known as 'cape gooseberry,' this fruit has a bittersweet, juicy flesh. This fruit is eaten out of hand and used with meats, pies, jams, and savory foods.

Ground Husk Tomato
A small fruit, also called the 'Tomatillo,' that is related to the tomato and the cape gooseberry. Their flavor is said to resemble a cross between lemon, apple, and herbs. Used in guacamole and many sauces.

Guanabana
The large, dark-green, slightly acidic and pulpy flesh of the fruit of a small West Indies tree called the 'soursop.' Not surprisingly, this fruit is also called 'soursop.'

Guava
A sweet, aromatic tropical fruit from the myrtle family. Used in jams, jellies, preserves, sauces, and beverages. Can also be eaten out of hand.

Hog Plum
The edible fruit of a tropical American tree that is plentiful in northeastern Brazil. It is bright yellow, oval, average an inch long, and features a soft, juicy sub-acid pulp surrounding a large seed. Also called 'yellow mombin.'

Honeydew
Melons related to cantaloupes, casaba and Persian melons. Honeydew melons are used to accompany meat, seafood, and cheese. They are also used in salads, desserts, and fruit soups.

Hubbard Squash
A large winter squash of American origin. Often mashed and mixed with butter and seasonings. Also used in casseroles, muffins, and pies.

Imbu
The edible fruit of a tropical American tree that is plentiful in northeastern Brazil. It is bright yellow, oval, averages an inch long, and features a soft, juicy sub-acid pulp surrounding a large seed. Also called 'yellow mombin.'

Jackfruit
A large fruit related to the fig and the breadfruit. This fruit, indigenous to Africa, Brazil, and Southeast Asia, which weighs up to 100 pounds, is used in desserts.

Jamaican Breadnut
The seeds of a tree from the mulberry family that is grown in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. These seeds are boiled, ground into flour and made into bread. Also called 'Ramons.'

Jamberry
A small fruit, also called the 'tomatillo,' that is related to the tomato and the cape gooseberry. Their flavor is said to resemble a cross between lemon, apple, and herbs. Used in guacamole and many sauces.

Jambolan
An olive-sized fruit of a tropical evergreen that is cultivated throughout Southeast Asia to the Philippines. The several varieties vary in sweetness and range from white to dark purple. Also called the 'Java plum.'

Japanese Medlar
This pear-shaped fruit has a juicy, crisp flesh and a sweetly tart flavor. Used as a snack, in salads, and in chicken and duck dishes. Also called 'loquat' and 'Japanese Plum.'

Japanese Plum
This pear-shaped fruit has a juicy, crisp flesh and a sweetly tart flavor. Used as a snack, in salads, and in chicken and duck dishes. Also called 'loquat' and 'Japanese Medlar.'

Java Plum
An olive-sized fruit of a tropical evergreen that is cultivated throughout Southeast Asia to the Philippines. The several varieties vary in sweetness and range from white to dark purple. Related to the rose apple and the pitanga.

Jobo
The edible fruit of a tropical American tree that is plentiful in northeastern Brazil. It is bright yellow, oval, averages an inch long, and features a soft, juicy sub-acid pulp surrounding a large seed. Also called 'yellow mombin.'

Jujube
A small, hard, gelatinous candy with a fruit-flavor. Also refers to a Chinese jujube, a red, olive-sized fruit with a leathery skin with a prune-like flavor.

Kanpyo
Strips of dried gourd, popular in Japan. The strips are soaked in water to soften before they are used in sushi, soups, and broths.

Kiwi Fruit
A fruit containing a brilliant green flesh with tiny, edible black seeds. It has a unique tart-sweet taste. Also known as the 'Chinese gooseberry.'

Kumquat
The smallest of the citrus fruits, the kumquat is used in desserts, jellies, and marmalades. If eaten fresh, the fruit should be very ripe or it will likely be unpalatable.

Lemon
A yellow citrus fruit with a juicy flesh and a acidic juice. This simple fruit is a powerful flavoring agent that finds hundreds of uses in desserts, drinks, marinades, and drinks.

Lime
A small, green citrus fruit that resembles a lemon. Used in drinks and is the primary ingredient in the famous 'Key lime pie.' British sailors were called 'limeys' because they used lime as a scurry-preventative.

Litchi
This fruit is used in salads and as a dessert. It has a creamy white flesh that is juicy and sweet. The litchi has been cultivated in China for over 2,000 years. Dried litchis are eaten like nuts. Also called the 'lychee nut.'

Loganberry
A berry that resembles a red raspberry (purple when ripe). The berry, discovered by in the late 1800's by J. H. Logan in California, tastes somewhat like a raspberry but is slightly more acidic.

Longan
A small, round fruit with a thin brown shell. Its flesh is soft, white, juicy, and surrounds one large black seed. Used as a snack, in oriental soups, desserts, and some sweet-and-sour dishes.

Loofah
The fruit of any of several tropical vines of the gourd family. The dried insides of these gourds can be used as a sponge. Also called 'vegetable sponge' and 'sponge gourd.'

Loquat
This pear-shaped fruit has a juicy, crisp flesh and a sweetly tart flavor. Used as a snack, in salads, and in chicken and duck dishes.

Mandarin Orange
A category of thin-skinned citrus fruit that includes several varieties. The most common variety sold in the U.S. is the 'tangerine.' It has a delicate, somewhat spicy tart.

Mango
The fruit of the tropical mango tree. The flesh is very juicy and pleasantly acid. Used in snacks, jams, jellies, and desserts. Green mangos are used to make pickles and chutney.

Marmalade Plum
Fruit of a tree, native to Mexico and Central America, also called the 'marmalade tree' or 'sapote.' It offers a sweet, edible fruit.

Marrow Squash
Also known as 'vegetable marrow,' this oval squash-like gourd, which is related to the zucchini, has a bland flavor and is often stuffed with a meat filling.

Mulberry
A berry resembling a blackberry that comes in white, red and black varieties. Their flavor is sweet and somewhat bland. The leaves of the white mulberry are used in silkworm cultivation.

Muskmelon
Muskmelons are called 'cantaloupes' in North America, but they are not actually cantaloupes. True cantaloupes are European and are not exported to the U.S. The light orange flesh is mild, sweet, and very juicy.

Natal Plum
This scarlet fruit of a South African shrub is an oval berry about 2 inches long. This fruit is used in pies, jellies, and preserves. Also called 'Carissa.'

Nectarine
A fuzzless relative of the peach, the nectarine is one of the oldest fruits. The flesh is very juicy and may be red, yellow, or white. Best eaten raw.

Orange
Citrus fruit from the orange tree. There are three major types of oranges: Sweet (Valencia, Mediterranean, and Navel), Loose-skinned (Mandarin, King), and Bitter (Seville, Bergamot). Bitter oranges are used in marmalades.

Papaya
The fruit of the papaya tree, which grows from seed to a 20-foot fruit-bearing tree in under 18 months. The fruit is juicy, smooth, and has a sweet-tart flavor. 'Papain,' a digestive enzyme used in meat tenderizers, comes from papayas.

Passion Fruit
A tropical fruit native to Brazil, but now grown in the U.S, New Zealand, and Australia. The flavor is sweet, yet tart, and has a perfumy tropical fragrance. Used as a table fruit, as well as for sherbets, candies, and beverages.

Peach
This fruit is third in importance in the U.S. (behind apples and second-place oranges). There are two general classifications: Freestone, in which the pit falls freely away from the flesh, and Clingstone, in which it does not.

Pear
A fruit from to the rose family which includes apples, plums, cherries, apricots, and strawberries. There are over 5,000 varieties of pears. It improves in texture and flavor after it is picked. France is the leading pear-growing country.

Persimmon
A warm-weather fruit of which there are two important varieties: 'Hachiya' (Japanese persimmon) and the 'Fuyu' which is milder. The Fuyu is smaller. Both should be completely ripe before eaten. Used in baked goods and desserts.

Pineapple
An exceedingly juicy fruit with a distinctive tangy sweet taste. Pineapples must be picked when ripe because they won't ripen off the plant. The English named this fruit for its resemblance to a pine cone.

Pitanga
The yellow to deep red, cherry-like fruit of a Brazilian tree of the myrtle family. These fruit, which are now grown in the U.S., are slightly acid and are eaten out-of-hand and used in jams and jellies. Also called 'Surinam cherry.'

Plantain
The fruit of a large tree-like tropical herb. Plantains belong to the banana family, but are larger, starchier, and not as sweet. It has a squash-like flavor and is used much like a potato. Also called the 'cooking banana.'