Reimagining Fruits

America is falling back in love with fruit.  There are so many reasons why that’s a good thing, but one new benefit was revealed this week by a Swedish study showing that a fruit-rich diet may lower aneurysym risk.  Published in the journal Circulation, the study analyzed data from more than 80,000 people for 13 years and found that the people who ate two servings of fruit a day had a 31 percent lower risk of developing abdominal aortic aneurysm, a bulge in the wall of the part of the aorta (the largest artery in the body) that runs through the abdomen.

This comes at a time when fresh fruit is now the top snack food consumed in America and is one of the fastest growing, according to the Snacking in America report from the NPD Group. Highlights from the report, along with an interesting look at fruit trends, were featured in this month’s Food Technology journal.

Fresh Blueberries

fresh blueberries by scottfillmer on flickr

As one of the few fruits native to the Americas, blueberries have a thoroughly American heritage, writes Donald Pszczola. About 100 years ago, the highbush cultivated blueberry was a revolutionary development, which evolved into today’s blueberry industry.

Blueberries’ health halo makes them a natural in new products and new product categories such as trail mixes, energy bars, sports bars, antioxidant extracts, and meal replacement bars.  And food product developers continue to take advantage of the quasi-mythical power of blueberries to rev up interest in their products.

Examples of reimagining the use of blueberries include condiments with blueberries (salsas, barbecue sauces, vinaigrettes and mustards), sausages, beef jerky, blueberries and chocolate, and blueberry wine.   Because of its traditionalism (such as Blueberry Buckle from New England, Blueberry Brown Betty or All-American Blueberry Cobbler), the article indicates that the blueberry is the perfect fruit to get the berry rolling and inspire food manufacturers to look at the different ways fruits can be reimagined in food formulations.

It’s not just home-grown fruit that’s fueling the trend. Fruits from around the world are driving the pro-fruit climate, and many interesting varieties were highlighted at the Tenth Innovation Roadshow held by David Michael & Co. from Philadelphia.  Here are a few examples you should know about:



jackfruit by sergey yeliseev on flickr

You’ll find the green oblong jackfruit in South or Southeast Asia, maybe India, and it will be hanging from a tall 30-feet tree.  Inside each green shell are numerous edible fleshy bulbs can can be eaten raw or sliced up and cooked in various ways.  At the roadshow, the chef showcased the versatility and desirability of this “slightly stinky but extremely tasty, one-of-a-kid fruit.”

Ripened jackfruit has a taste that is reminiscent of fruit cocktail — sweet and juicy with notes of pineapple and melon — while the taste of a young green jackfruit is closer to hearts of palm, artichoke, and green banana.


jackfruit by pamela cooks on flickr



chicozapote by sergio niebla  on flickr

An exotic tropical fruit popular in Mexico, Central America, and Southern Asia, chicozapote (also known as sapodilla) first became famous for its sticky sap — known as “tchikli” — that was turned into chewing gum.  It was the inspiration behind Chicklets gum.  Now the fruit is gaining wider praise.  Chicozapote resembles a blend between a potato and a kiwi with the texture of a tamarind, with an inside grainy flesh that can range from pale yellow to a caramelized brown color.


chicozapote by LMS on flickr

With a taste like a blend of pear and fig, chicozapote is being paired with Greek yogurt and frozen desserts, including ice cream and sorbet, along with juice beverages, smoothies, baked goods and savory dipping sauces.



lingonberries by Anna’s Flickr Corner on flickr

A dominant Scandinavian flavor (think Swedish meatballs), lingonberries are being hailed as a super fruit — like so many of the exotic fruits.  The top notes are cranberry, ripe berry, and cherry, followed by a sweet, jammy candy ending — and the fruit is showing up in beverages, syrups, fruit spreads, yogurts and ice cream.

Arctic Raspberry


Arctic raspberries by finnarct on flickr

Also known as brambleberry, the Arctic raspberry grows in Siberia, Canada, Finland, and the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  The flavorful, dark red berries are part of the rose family and are considered a delicacy in their countries of origin.

Wild Sour Jujube


Sour jujube by Nick Hang on flickr

Flavors of China are becoming popular, including wild sour jujube and pickled dark plum.



South Africa’s marula by Program on Forests on flickr

South Africa’s marula and Southeast Asia’s rambutan were two of the fruits highlighted by Bell Flavors & Fragrances in its fifth annual Flavorology event in Chicago.



Southeast Asia’s rambutan by Elfrieda on flickr



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