Tropical Fruit Guide


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Banana - Cavendish

 

Description:

 

The Cavendish is the most common banana in Australia. It is ideal for eating when ripe and lends itself well to cooking or drying. Select fruit that is bright yellow. Store at room temperature. Do not refrigerate Cavendish bananas as the skin will blacken.

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Tropical North

NSW - Coffs Harbour

 

 


Banana - Ducasse

 

Description:

 

Known in Australia as the sugar banana, Ducasse is the most important banana in Thailand and is used for eating and cooking. Select fruit that is bright, yellow-green in colour and heavy for its size. When ripe it should yield to gentle pressure. Store at room temperature. ucasse bananas

do not blacken as easily as other

varieties when refrigerated. The

blossoms of this variety are sold

as a vegetable.

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Tropical North

NSW - Coffs Harbour

 

 


Banana - Gold Finger

 

Description:

 

The Gold Finger is a short banana with bright, yellow skin and creamy-yellow flesh. It has a slightly tart fl avour and does not brown when cut. Select bright, yellow fruit with a pleasant aroma. Store at room temperature. It has a shelf life two to three days longer than other varieties. Do not refrigerate, as the skin will blacken.

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Tropical North

NSW - Coffs Harbour

 

 


Banana - Plantain

 

Description:

 

Plantain is the name given to large bananas, which are edible only when cooked. They are firm, mild tasting and contain less sugar and more starch, than eating varieties. Often used in Caribbean and Mexican cooking, they can be sautéed, fried, mashed, stewed, or braised. Edible in all stages of ripeness, they increase in sweetness as they ripen.

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Tropical North

NSW - Coffs Harbour

 

 


Banana - Red Dacca

 

Description:

 

The Red Dacca has a reddish-purple skin and is shorter and plumper than the traditional Cavendish banana. The flesh varies in colour from cream to light pink, with a mild, slightly raspberry flavour. Originating in South America and Asia, Red Dacca’s are used in salads and fruit compotes, and are often baked. Select fruit that are bright red with a pleasant mellow aroma. Store at room temperature. Do not refrigerate, as the skin will blacken.

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Tropical North

NSW - Coffs Harbour

 

 


Banana - Wax Tip – Eco

 

Description:

 

The Eco are grown without the usual amount of synthetic fertiliser and marketed as Eco-Friendly. They are dipped in a bright red, blue and/or green food-grade wax at the time of packing to brand them. The flesh is moist, firm and sweet. Select fruit that are bright yellow with a pleasant mellow aroma. Store at room temperature. Do not refrigerate, as the skin will blacken.

 

Growing Area:

 

QLD - Tropical North

 

 


Bell Fruit

 

Botanical Name:

 

Syzygium aqueum (Myrtaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Small bell shape fruit
  • Pink or white, almost translucent skin which bruises easily
  • Flesh is crisp, sweet, watery and mild in taste
  • 4-5cm in diameter at widest point
  • Skin surface is waxy
  • Very crunchy, juicy fruit
  • Faint water melon flavour

The tree is small (5-8m) with low spreading foliage.

 

Select firm fruit, free from blemishes.

 

Fruit salad, cheese platter, school lunches, cake decoration, pavlovas When decorating pies and cakes, slice the fruit and soak it in a sweetened lemon solution to add some flavour and to keep the fruit looking fresh.

 

Bell fruit is suited to a tropical or warm subtropical climate where

there is rainfall fairly well spaced throughout the year.

 

The bell fruit is indigenous to India where it has been cultivated for several centuries.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Water Apple

Water Cherry

Watery Rose-apple

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Tropical North

 

Nutritional Value:

 

No nutritional information currently available.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C at 90-100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Ripen at room temperature and store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper

 

 


Breadfruit

 

Botanical Name:

 

Artocsarpus altilis (Moraceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Spherical, green fruit
  • Hard, seedless flesh when not ripe up to 200mm in diameter
  • Weighs up to 4kg when ripe, flesh is soft, sweet and yellow
  • Some varieties have seeds

The tree has large, deeply lobed, dark green leaves, which provide some shade. Mature trees grow to a height of 8-20m depending upon locality.

 

Select firm, well formed, medium to large fruit with green skin if wanting to use as a cooked vegetable otherwise allow to ripen, i.e. skin colour should be yellow-green and the fruit should yield slightly to gentle pressure.

 

Breadfruit is traditionally baked in ground ovens or roasted over hot coals. It is also rather nice when cooked the same way as potatoes, boiled and mashed with milk and butter. Breadfruit chips are very popular. Other uses include bread, puddings and for pie making.

 

The fruit tends to become somewhat gluey if boiled or cooked in a microwave oven for 5 minutes. The palatability of breadfruit like that of other starchy foods is much improved by the addition of fats.

 

Trees grow best in damp, hot, tropical lowlands. They are a tropical species and are very cold sensitive, not tolerating frost of any description. Young trees benefit from protection from the hot sun until they are established, however after this they prefer full sunshine. Breadfruit will grow on a wide variety of soils providing that they are deep and well drained. Flowering takes place from August through to December.

 

The breadfruit is believed to have originated in South-East Asia where a wild species has probably given rise to the domesticated species more commonly grown today. Breadfruit and other plants such as taro and sweet potato are important starch staples for various tropical regions.

 

Breadfruit evolved in Indonesia’s Sunda Archipelago and became the staple diet for islanders throughout the tropical Pacific Islands. The breadfruit and breadnut are one species. The breadfruit originated by chance as a seedless breadnut, and is perpetuated from root-cuttings.

 

To Polynesians, breadfruit and bananas were vitally important. The threat of cyclones, droughts, and the total destruction of crops by enemies were a constant danger to their existence. Total destruction of crops was the second greatest victory over one’s enemies in Polynesian society; the greatest was to obtain the foe’s “mana”, by eating him.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Sukun

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Tropical North

 

Nutritional Value:

 

447kJ/10Og. Good source of fibre and vitamin C. Like potatoes and bananas, breadfruit is rich in starch and is therefore an excellent staple.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

7-10°C at 90-98% relative humidity. The shelf life can be extended up to 2 weeks by cool storing fruit wrapped in polythene bags at 12°C.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Ripen at room temperature and store in the refrigerator crisper for a short time.

 

 


Buddha's Hand

 

Botanical Name:

 

Citrus medica var. sarcodacylus

 

General Description/History:

 

Buddha's Hand is a variety of the citron - one of the most ancient of the citrus family. Ripe fruits have extremely fragrant, thick, yellow, rind, and contain no pulp. It is mainly used to perfume a room or clothing and for devotional purposes. It can be candied or pressed to extract oil, which is used in confectionery or cosmetics. Choose bright, sound fruit, which will keep for about two weeks at room temperature and exude a pleasant aroma.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Fingered citron

 

 


Carambola

 

Botanical Name:

 

Averrhoa carambola (Oxalidaceae)

 

General Description/History:

  • Green/yellow, waxy, thin skin
  • Star shaped in cross section
  • Crisp juicy flesh which is a transparent yellow/white
  • Usually sweet - similar taste to an apple
  • 4-5 seeds

Fruits are oval in shape, 80-200mm in length, and 60 - 100mm in diameter, with five acutely angled sides, giving a star shape in cross section. Technically the fruit is a fleshy berry.

 

Consumers vary in their preference. Some like very green, acid, others prefer yellow, fully ripe fruit with the strong oxalic acid/tannin taste and others favour the milder types. Oxalic acid and tannins strongly influence taste, and are present in higher levels in the ridges of the fruit wings than in the body of the fruit.

 

The maturity stages of the fruit influences taste considerably and sugar levels do not increase after harvest. Most varieties must be picked at near full colour development (either orange, yellow or yellow/white) to ensure maximum sweetness.

 

Select firm, well-coloured fruit that is free of dark blemishes, with a clean waxy skin and crisp appearance. It may be best to stock a range of fruit to cater for varying consumer tastes.

 

Carambola are lovely eaten fresh and because of their star shaped form when sliced, make a very attractive accompaniment or garnish to pavlovas, fruit salad, gateaux’s and platters. They compliment seafood dishes and savoury salads well and make a refreshing drink when juiced.

 

The trees grow best in a tropical to subtropical climate, with 1500-3000mm of rain, well distributed throughout the year. Carambola fruit are grown successfully as far south as northern New South Wales, where growth is slower. Trees grown in drier areas like Cairns, Cardwell, Mareeba and Townsville-Ayr produce sweeter fruits than areas such as Daintree, Innisfail and Tully, in Queensland.

 

Climatic factors and, in particular, temperature have the largest effect on fruit quality and control the size, sweetness, acidity and flavour of the fruit. Fruit sweetness is affected both by genetic and climatic factors, particularly by the total hours of sunlight during the last few weeks of fruit maturity.

 

Soil should be well drained, as Carambola does not thrive in waterlogged conditions.

 

Young trees may be damaged or killed by frost whilst mature trees are more tolerant. They prefer full sun and should not be shaded. Seedlings fruit at the age of 5-8 years whilst grafted trees fruit at 1-2 years.

 

Carambolas are reasonably resistant to dry periods, however irrigation is usually required for good growth and fruit development.

 

The Carambola originated in Malaysia and Indonesia. The characteristic star-shaped fruit has been grown in northern Australia for over 100 years, but not until recently has the fruit gained wider consumer appeal due to the introduction of sweeter and better flavoured varieties.

 

Between 1975 and 1985, a number of the world’s best cultivars were imported into Australia

and subsequently the fruit has emerged as an interesting addition to the fruit table.

 

Alternative Names:

 

Five corner

Star fruit

 

Growing Areas:

 

QLD - Tropical North

NSW - Northern Coast

NT - Darwin

 

Nutritional Value:

 

Good source of vitamin C, reasonable source of potassium. 231kJ/100g.

 

Storage/Handling:

 

0°C and 90-100% relative humidity.

 

Consumer Storage:

 

Ripen at room temperature and store mature fruit in the refrigerator crisper for a short time.

 

 

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