Tropical fruit is any fruit produced by a tree native to the tropics. The tropics are generally defined as the region of the globe between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, and the environmental conditions there are unique, creating a habitat for incredibly diverse animals and plants. Many tropical fruits have been used by humans for centuries, and certain fruits are in high demand all over the world.
Several things about the growing conditions in the tropics are unique, setting the stage for trees, vines, and other plants which grow nowhere else in the world. The most obvious distinguishing feature of the tropics is the heat. The tropics are warm, year-round, and they are also very humid, with some areas receiving lots of rain every year. Plants in this area have adapted to this climate, and many tropical fruits are large, brightly colored, and very flavorful so that they appeal to the animals they rely on to distribute their seeds.
Some tropical fruits are pretty well known all over the world. Pomegranates, mangoes, papayas, avocados, bananas, pineapples, guavas, star fruits, kiwis, dates, and passion fruit are some well-known examples. In fact, the banana is one of the highest selling fruits around the world, thanks to the ease with which it can be grown, harvested, and transported. Many of these fruits are available in big markets year-round, thanks to a steady supply of fruit from the tropics.
Other tropical fruit cultivars are more obscure. While they may be popular in specific regions of the world, they are not familiar to people outside of these areas, and some of them are definitely an acquired taste. Some more obscure examples of tropical fruit include: soursops, cherimoyas, sugar apples, jackfruit, pawpaws, durian, acerolas, mamey, akee, breadfruit, lychees, rambutans, and mangosteens. Some of these fruits, like jackfruit and durian, are infamous for their strong odor and flavor, while others like mangosteens, lychees, and cherimoyas are, quite simply, delicious, but difficult to cultivate, making it hard to promote them.
Many people associate the tropics with exoticism, and as a result, tropical fruit often has an exotic flare. Some types are also very fragile, making transport challenging and adding to the excitement for consumers who can get them, since many people prize rarity. For people who live in the tropics, of course, there's nothing terribly exotic about fruits which grow as readily as weeds in the back yard, but the same fruits which plague homeowners in places like Hawaii fetch a high price at market in regions like Sweden. Many tropical fruits are particularly flavorful, sweet, juicy, and tender, making them appealing to people of all ages.
Tropical Fruits List for Your Next Grocery Trip
Colorful, delicious and nutritious fruit can be found throughout the world, but they are especially abundant in the tropics. Better food retailers know this and keep the tropical fruits in stock. These days, it's easy to gravitate towards processed and junk food; grocery stores pander to our tastes, often without concern for nutrition. There are many tropical fruits, however, that are both healthy and beautiful. Although these fruits can typically only grow in tropical climates, growers can export them throughout the world. So, next time you are heading to the grocery store, plan to spend time looking at all the flavorful fruit options. Here are a few of the tastiest.
- Avocado - This fruit is unlike any other, with a rich texture of "good fat" and omega-3 fatty acids. It's also high in potassium, B-vitamins and vitamins C and E.
- Jackfruit - Besides being delicious and tasting like a pineapple/banana combination, vitamins permeate this fruit.
- Papaya - Its healthy fiber content helps digestion. It also holds antioxidant properties.
- Starfruit - This fruit is crunchy and deliciously juicy, sweet and sour. It is rich in B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. You can also eat the skin.
Is Kiwi a Tropical Fruit That You Can Grow in a Pot?
How would you like to grow tropical fruit at your home? You may not think it's possible if you live anywhere outside of the tropics, but it is! Although growing a plant that will yield edible fruit can be challenging, with a little TLC, time, and patience, it's doable. You'll at least get a lovely ornamental kiwi plant. There are several types of kiwis; the common kiwifruit is the type you usually find in grocery stores with a thick skin that's fuzzy on the outside. Cut it open, and you'll find a green, seedy pulp. The easily removable seeds make it simple to begin the growing process.
1. Harvest the Seeds
First, slice your kiwi and then scoop out the seeds. Put the seeds in a small bowl, rinse them with water, and then strain the water from the seeds.
2. Germinate the Seeds
Next, it's time to germinate the seeds. The best method is to spread the seeds on a damp paper towel and put them in a resealable plastic sandwich bag. Seal the bag and then put it in a warm location. Check them daily for signs of sprouting. Also, make sure the paper towel stays damp. If it gets dry, it's helpful to spray it with water from a spray bottle.
3. Pot the Seedlings
Soon, you'll see your seedlings sprouting. Now it's time to place them in their initial pots, but first, you must prepare the pots. Put some seed-starting potting mix in a few small pots and moisten the soil. The seedlings will cling to the paper towel. Tear the paper towel into sections of three or four seedlings and then plant each section in its own pot.
4. Provide Significant Sunlight
Now your little potted seedlings will need a home that gets a lot of sunlight. Put the pots in their new location and watch them grow. It's usually best to keep your plants indoors for the first couple of years to avoid harsh temperatures.
5. Transfer the Plants
As your plants grow, you will periodically need to transfer them to bigger pots. When you do your first transfer, begin using a starter fertilizer to boost their nutrition.
Is Mango a Tropical Fruit That Offers Hidden Health Benefits?
Mangoes are jam-packed with nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing nearly 75% of the daily value in just one cup. With all the vitamins mangoes contain, it has extreme immune-boosting benefits, including lowering the risk of infection and boosting white blood cell production.
It Could Help Prevent Diabetes
Although mango has a high natural sugar content, it can actually help prevent the onset of diabetes. It may even work to level the blood sugar of people who already have diabetes. Like anything, though, it's best to consume this fruit in moderation.
It Increases Digestive Health
If you experience digestive issues, mango could help several digestive issues by preventing diarrhea or constipation due to its dietary fiber and water content.
It Is Rich in Antioxidants
Mango is rich in antioxidants, including mangiferin (aka a "super antioxidant"), all of which protect your cells against free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells leading to various types of chronic diseases.
It Promotes Heart Health
The significant magnesium and potassium content in mango can improve and maintain blood flow by relaxing blood vessels. This combination can help lower blood pressure levels.