Blueberries, pomegranates, acai and goji are so last year. Now there’s a new crop of superfuits ready for their close up.
I recently wrote about prickly pear (or cactus fruit), that I enjoyed in Lebanon last summer, and lychee fruit, which is a delightful grape-like fruit with a pebbly shell from China and Southeast Asia.
Both of these fruits are in the running to be the next big superfuit. Trouble is, once a fruit like this gets popular, it starts showing up in pills and potions (such as the Lichi Super Fruit Diet) or as extracts in fancy juices or energy drinks — and who knows how much actual fruit is inside.
Rarely are people actually going out and eating these whole fruits. For some of these, you need to go to the Amazon to even find them fresh. I’m all in favor of people getting excited about eating more fruit — and if the superfruit phenomenon does the trick — then that’s great. But has the exotic fruit trend gotten out of hand?
Are we overlooking apples and other homegrown fruits to get just a small spoonful of pulp that was squeezed from a mysterious fruit from the rainforest? Are we drinking gallons of pricey high antioxidant juices from the Amazon and ignoring whole fruit?
It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote about the next big superfuits, but now there are even more new ones on the scene and a lot more products that boast about these exotic fruits on the label. Here are some of the most popular:
A sweet cousin to the cacao tree (where we get chocolate). Typically grown in Brazil, cupaucu has been dubbed a “pharmacy in a fruit.” [photo credit: cupuacu-fruit on flickr]. One of the latest products to add a squirt of cupuacu is Musselman’s applesauce.
A deep purple berry native to South America, often sold as supplements or blended in mail-order superjuices. Claims to have massive amounts of antioxidants. [photo credit: sunfood on flickr]
A fruit from a shrub native to Brazil and Venezuela. Most commonly used as a stimulant (similar to caffeine), rather than a flavor. That’s why you’ll see guarana used in lots of energy drinks and nutrition bars. [photo credit: amberbrasil on flickr]
A Brazilian fruit from an evergreen shrub. The fruit is creamy in texture with a rind that softens when ripe. [photo credit: larique on flickr]
The nickname of the Yang-mi fruit that is mainly cultivated in the subtropical region of southeast China, with evidence dating it back to 6,000 years ago. [photo credit: jeremy! on flickr]
A tart African fruit that’s sometimes referred to as ”monkey bread.” Baobab is one of the latest flavors of Pepsi in Japan, although there’s no actual fruit inside the bottle. [photo credit: tonrulkens on flickr]
A Colombian fruit that’s commonly used in jam, wine and desserts. It also has a long history in traditional medicine in the tropics. Now it’s become the latest source for dietary supplements. [photo credit: climambiente on flickr]
A Chinese citrus fruit that tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit. [photo credit: aWee on flickr]
Additional superfruits vying for attention (some easier to find than others in whole form): blackcurrants, blood oranges, kiwiberry, mangosteen, mamey fruit, cashew apple, lulo fruit and fejoia. A dozen Australian fruits may be in the running, according to an article published in Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies: brush cherry, Burdekin plum, Cedar Bay cherry, Davidson’s plum, finger lime, Kakadu plum, Illawarra plum, Molucca raspberry, muntries, riberries and Tasmanian pepper.