While I love shopping my local farmers market year round, there is something about summer that is synonymous with fresh fruit. From watermelon to pineapple to cherries and beyond, summer fruit is a delicious and healthy indulgence that I just can’t get enough of. In the wintertime I’m always tempted to reach for a baked good or a square of chocolate after a meal. But the incredible selection of fresh fruit readily available in the summer is really all I need to satisfy my sweet tooth this time of year.

But in case you want to branch out and try something a little different than the standard fruity fare, today I am sharing a list of 10 exotic fruits to try. I’ve tried several of these while traveling abroad for The Little Market, and it has been quite the treat. While you may not be able to find all of these at your neighborhood farmers market, trust me when I say they are worth seeking out. Many of them can be found at ethnic markets if they aren’t available at your city’s central farmers market stalls or supermarket aisles. They’re delicious on their own or would also make for quite the artisanal cocktail or Pinterest-worthy smoothie bowl. Check out my list below…

try these interesting fruits for a change this summer

1. Jackfruit

Fun fact: jackfruit is the largest fruit that grows on a tree, weighing as much as 80 lbs! Jackfruit has a sweet but subtle taste and a meaty texture. It can be used to make custard, cake, or even jackfruit chips. Because of its subtle sweetness, it is also used in savory dishes like curries or tacos.

2. Prickly Pear

Prickly pear is the fruit of the nopales cactus variety, which is native to California, the Southwest, Mexico, and the Mediterranean. The fruit is very sweet, delicious, and has a beautiful neon pink hue. The juice of the prickly pear fruit is often used to make jam, candy, or in cocktails. Just be careful: if you are going to be picking and preparing one yourself, you will need to wear work gloves and remove all the tiny thorns covering the fruit!

3. Cherimoya

Cherimoya has a creamy custard-like texture. The taste is said to be a blend of banana, pineapple, papaya, peach, and strawberry. The fruit can be chilled and eaten with a spoon for an ice cream-like treat.

4. Mangosteen

Mangosteens have a sweet, tangy, citrusy and peachy taste. It is easier to find canned or frozen mangosteen here in the States, but fresh mangosteen is not very common.

5. Dragon Fruit aka Pitaya

Dragon fruit (or pitaya) is one of the prettiest tropical fruits you will find. It has a vibrant pink skin and the flesh is white with little black seeds, similar in texture to a kiwi. Dragon fruit is known to be a super fruit with many nutritional benefits, including more active antioxidants than acai.

6. Lychee

Lychee, which is most popular in China and Southeast Asia, has a floral smell and a fragrant, sweet flavor. They are somewhat similar to grapes in taste and texture. Lychees also contain an impressive array of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

7. Passion Fruit

Chances are you’ve had a passion fruit flavored treat at some point, but if you haven’t had fresh passion fruit, you are missing out. Passion fruit is either yellow or dark purple on the outside, with a soft, juicy interior filled with little seeds. My favorite way to eat fresh passion fruit is to scoop out the inside and use it as a topping for vanilla ice cream.

8. Durian

Durian is common fare in Southeast Asia and can be found in Asian markets in the U.S. It has a pungent smell that is not the most appetizing. But if you can get past the aroma, it has a custardy, almond-like taste that many people enjoy.

9. Cucamelon

Cucamelons might win the award for the cutest fruit… they look just like miniature watermelons! They are about the size of a grape and are actually a type of cucumber with a citrusy taste. They make for an especially adorable cocktail garnish.

10. Loquat

Loquats are an exotic fruit that is tangy and slightly sweet. They look similar in size and shape to kumquats but are entirely different fruits. The loquat plant is a member of the rose family and is related to the apple, pear and peach; whereas kumquats are a citrus fruit.

How many of these exotic fruits had you already heard of?

Let me know if you have any other favorite exotic fruits that I should add to my grocery list!

XO Lauren

P.S. Thanks to Alexzandra Fajardo for the beautiful illustrations!

Artwork: Alexzandra Fajardo for LaurenConrad.com
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  • We get passion fruit, litchis and loquats in South Africa quite easily. I have tasted dragon fruit and mangosteen in Thailand. Haven’t gotten round to Durian yet.

  • I know some of them but I’ve only tried cherimoyas, I eat it very cold using a spoon and as you say it feels like you are eating ice-cream so it’s a great for us with a sweet tooth to satisfy our cravings and still be healthy! Unfortunately it’s only available in summer.

    http://memoriesofthepacific.blogspot.com.es/

  • I’ve heard of about 5 of them but can’t say I’ve tried any. I’m going to pin this list and make it my summer mission! x

    http://www.wonkylauren.com

  • I love lychee!

  • Helen Harm

    I have been hearing about Dragon Fruit all summer! I must try it!

    XO Helen | http://www.KaleidoscopeSpinning.com

  • I’ve had prickly pear flavored things before so I definitely want to give the fruit a try!

    xo, Carey
    https://thedaintydetails.wordpress.com

  • Taste of France

    Dragon fruit is delicious. We had some locally grown, but ouch are they expensive.
    I adore passion fruit. There’s a whole technique to cracking the shell between your palms without getting squirted with juice.

  • I am not sure how many of these fruits I can even get in Denmark but I am sure going to look for them! I love, love, love passion fruit. They are so good! Thanks for the tips, Lauren.

    http://www.thesparklingdarling.com

  • Kirsty Warren

    Living in tropical Australia I have most of these fruits growing nearby. Passion fruit, Lychees and mangosteens are my favourites and in the summer I can pick mangosteens from a tree on my street for free

  • Caroline Bogush

    I love that the LC staff features artists with their blog posts! I love Alexzandra’s work as well as Carrie Beth Taylors!!

  • My aunt grows dragonfruit in her backyard, and this year, she’s gotten some with pink flesh as well as the normal white fleshed ones 🙂 <3 They're super pretty, and honestly, the pink fleshed ones taste a lot sweeter! You should definitely check them out if you get the chance! Loving all of these exotic fruits – thank you so much for sharing!

    XO, Elizabeth
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/

  • I love making smoothies, especially in the summer when all of these fruits are in season! passion fruit and dragon fruit are so yummy!

    http://www.dreamofadventures.com/

  • Most of these tropical fruits are very delicious. Living in the tropics provides great access to these fruits. I’ve tried all of them with the except for the Cherimoya and the Cucamelon. Durian though, I’d have to draw the line at Durian. Texturally amazing, but otherwise quite offensive on the flavour front. 😝