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Sumo Orange
Sumo Oranges

Lots of flavor and easy to peel. Called Sumo for sumo-wrestler shape. Developed in Japan, it blends the easy-to-peel satsuma orange with a California navel. Since it’s easy to peel, space sits between the inner fruit and the peel. In season from February to May. Read more.

Ashmead's Kernel apple - dull red and yellow colors, with freckles throughout
Heirloom Apples

The Ashmead’s Kernel apple (pictured) is an heirloom variety that has a bonanza of flavors. It’s an old English russet that is one of the “best-flavored apples.” Heirloom apples are varieties from about 50 years ago, before the industry focused more on shelf life and less on flavor. Heirloom apples are becoming increasingly popular.

Papaya slices in blue bowl

Papaya is a low-sugar fruit that has a flavor you can learn to love. People in Central and South America, cherish the fruit. Sprinkle with sea salt and lime. Maybe add cayenne pepper. To open, trim each end and position vertically. Using a knife, shave off the skin. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Enjoy!

Calimyrna Figs - Green Figs
Calimyrna Figs

The calimyrna fig likely inspired the makers of the Fig Newton cookie. Green figs taste like candy. The green color doesn’t seem sweet, but they taste like natural jam. Eat them when they’re soft. Shoppers pass over the soft ones, but I buy them, as long as there’s no mold. Hard ones soften in a day. Worth the price! Evidently the figs is called Smyrna, and ones grown in California have the name calimyrna.

Jackfruit - sliced open with one half facing

Fortunately, you can buy slices of jackfruit because a whole jackfruit can weigh up to 40 pounds. They smell like bubble gum and have a delicious, fruity taste. You simply can’t believe it’s a fruit and it’s healthy. See, eating healthy can taste great. As jackfruit ripens, your kitchen will smell increasingly delectable and sweet. Watch our video about jackfruit.

Ataulfo honey mangoes in a box
Honey Mangoes

Ataulfo honey mangoes are sweet and delicious. Starting out green and tart, they ripen into a yellow color and become soft with about 1/8-inch give. As the season progresses they get sweeter. All mangoes are delicious and they are cherished throughout, Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Watch a video on how to cut them.

hachiya persimmon on a branch - by Robert Couse-Baker via flikr
Hachiya Persimmon

The hachiya (ha-chi-ya) persimmon is ripe when it’s really soft. This is important because an unripe persimmon is astringent, like one might imagine cardboard to taste. When it’s ripe, it’s delicious. They can be pricey. It’s the national fruit of Japan. The other persimmon variety called the fuyu can be eaten when hard or soft. The size is about three inches. More info.

Sukkary Dates
Sukkary Dates

Dates are deliciously sweet and provide essential nutrients. Folklore says one can survive on just five dates a day. Medjool dates, the most common, are good. Deglet dates, the cheapeast, are not good. The varieties I love are sukkary, khudry, and seggae. Sukkary dates taste like caramel. Dates don’t need refrigeration so you can keep them at your desk or in your bag.

Question mark
Try something new

Throughout the year, look for any new fruits and try them. Buy one and see if you like it. Or ask a produce clerk or farm hand to give you a taste. During apple season, I often see people buying the apples that are available all year and skipping the apples only available during apple season. Some seasons or periods of availability can be brief and a grocer may pull a product quickly if no one purchases it. If you see a new type of apple, orange, or mango, grab one.

Visit the blog for more recommendations.

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