12 Strange, Yet Beautiful Fruits & Vegetables

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Here's a fun roundup of odd fruits and veggies. If you have any experience eating any of them, we're all ears! The comments are open below...

1. Durian

There are more than 30 durian species in Southeast Asia alone, but only about one third of them are edible. Those who don't like the flavor of the durian fruit often say it smells like dirty gym socks. Yum!

2. Pitaya

Whole hot pink dragon fruits surrounding a dragon fruit cut in half to reveal the black-speckled white inside.
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Pitaya is found on several cactus species. In different countries it's known as dragon fruit, dragon pearl fruit, and strawberry pear.

3. Yangmei

A basket of purple, bumpy-skinned Chinese bayberries.
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Yangmei (sometimes called/spelled yamamomo, myrica rubra, kanji, katakana, Chinese bayberry, or Chinese strawberry) is native to Southeast Asia, mainly China.

4. Bottle Gourd

The bottle gourd grows in tropical areas all over the world and can actually be used as a real bottle, rather than eaten.

5. Monstera Deliciosa

A cluster of green monster fruit in a tree surrounded by leaves.
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This guy is also known as monstereo, windowleaf, Mexican breadfruit, Swiss cheese plant, ceriman, fruit salad plant, or just monster fruit, due to its monster size (it can grow up to two feet in length!). It’s mostly native to Mexico and Panama.

6. Black Radish

Six black radishes with their green tops still attached sitting on a cutting board.
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Black Spanish or Black Spanish Round occur in both round and elongated forms, and are sometimes simply called the black radish or known by the French name Gros Noir d'Hiver.

7. Carambola

A whole star fruit with a cut up star fruit on a black background.
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The carambola, also known as starfruit, is native to Southeast Asia and is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and low in sugar, sodium and acid.

8. Horned Melon

A whole horned melon next to a horned melon cut in half, revealing the green insides.
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This fruit is another with tons of aliases: kiwano, horned melon, African horned cucumber, hedged gourd, jelly melon. It’s native to Africa, but also grows in California, Chile, Australia and New Zealand, as well. In California it’s widely known as Blowfish fruit. Although it’s edible, kiwano is mostly used as decoration food.

9. Buddha’s Hand

A yellow Buddha's hand fruit in a tree surrounded by leaves.
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Buddha's hand fruit is very fragrant and is used predominantly by the Chinese and Japanese for perfuming rooms and personal items, such as clothing. According to WIKI, "The fruit may be given as a religious offering in Buddhist temples. According to tradition, Buddha prefers the 'fingers' of the fruit to be in a position where they resemble a closed rather than open hand, as closed hands symbolize to Buddha the act of prayer."

10. Ugli Fruit

Two yello ugli fruit on a white background with an ugli fruit cut in half in front of them.
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The ugli fruit is actually a Jamaican tangelo, which was created by hybridizing a grapefruit (or pomelo), an orange and a tangerine. Because it's a bit unsightly when ripe, it was called the Ugli fruit by its trademarker, Cabel Hall Citrus Limited.

11. Noni Fruit

Talk about aliases! It's only called Noni in Hawaii. Elsewhere, this fruit goes as the great morinda, Indian mulberry, nunaakai (Tamil Nadu, India) , dog dumpling (Barbados), mengkudu (Indonesia and Malaysia), apatot (Philippines), Kumudu (Bali), pace (Java), beach mulberry, and cheese fruit! The tree that produces the fruit is actually in the coffee family.

12. Dulse

Technically, dulse is a red alga, but often considered a vegetable, most often found off the coast of Maine. In Iceland people eat it with butter!

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The Clever Reason Oranges Are Sold in Red Mesh Bags

Gingagi/iStock via Getty Images
Gingagi/iStock via Getty Images

If a detail in a food's packaging doesn't seem to serve a practical purpose, it's likely a marketing tactic. One example is the classic mesh bag of oranges seen in supermarket produce sections. When oranges aren't sold loose on the shelf, they almost always come in these red, mesh bags. The packaging may seem plain, but according to Reader's Digest, it's specially designed to make shoppers want to buy the product.

The color orange "pops" when paired with the color red more so than it does with yellow, green, or blue. That means when you see a bunch of oranges behind a red net pattern, your brain assumes they're more "orange" (and therefore fresher and higher quality) than it would if you saw them on their own. That's the same reason red is chosen when making bags for fruits like grapefruits or tangerines, which are also orange in color.

For lemon packaging, green is more commonly chosen to make the yellow rind stand out. If lemons were sold in the same red bags as other citrus, the red and yellow hues together would actually make the fruits appear orange. Lemons can also come in yellow mesh bags, and the bags for limes are usually green to match their color.

Next time you visit the supermarket, see if you can spot the many ways the store is set up to influence your buying decisions. The items at eye-level will likely be more expensive than those on the shelves above and below them, and the products near the register will likely be cheaper and more appealing as impulse buys. Check out more sneaky tricks used by grocery stores here.

[h/t Reader's Digest]