Fruits are a vital component of any diet. Most fruits have the role of keeping you healthy and enhancing your immunity. I like to refer to them as the candies of nature.
Since China has a varying temperature which ranges from tropical to temperate, different fruits grow in different regions of China. South China is particularly prominent when it comes to planting and harvesting fruits.
Pineapples are common in the tropical climatic areas of the globe. In China pineapple is a 3rd common fruit after mango and bananas. Guangdong is home to about 50-60% of the pineapples grown in the country. They are also grown for commercial purposes.
The fruit is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes. Furthermore, they, like many other fruits may help in boosting your immunity, bones strengthening and aiding in digestion.
Aside from eating the ripe pineapples, they are vital ingredients to most major recipes. Some of the recipes include: pineapple cakes, sweet and sour pork with pineapple, pineapple fried rice, Chinese pineapple chicken, prawn and pineapple fried rice among others.
It is also known as Jack or Jak. This is another tropical climate fruit that you may use when making your savory dishes. For those who don’t know it, a Jak is huge and grows on one of the largest fruit trees in the world.
Its outer skin is spiky and usually green or yellow in color. Jackfruit is sweet with enhanced flavor. Note that, it tastes like a mixture of pineapple, apples, bananas and mangos. It is also a highly nutritious dish that vegetarian and vegan use to substitute meat mostly because of its texture.
It is packed with nutrients that balance your sugar level, enhance your immunity and help you maintain a healthy heart among others. It can be eaten raw but aside from that you can use it in various recipes below are a few examples: Moo Shu jackfruit, Jackfruit Philly Cheesesteak, Jackfruit Ropa Vieja, Sweet and sour jackfruit and Vegan sticky Chinese jackfruit.
This fruit like the preceding ones is a tropical type of fruit that is native to Southern China. The heart-shaped fruit when spelt in Chinese means ‘the gift of a joyful life‘. It is also historically a fruit that symbolizes romance and love.
Lychee is vastly beneficial to your body since it contains fibers, it’s an antioxidant, it carries potassium which is essential for our body cells, it helps regulate the blood pressure as well as the heart rate and protects you against stroke among other benefits.
Lychee is eaten as a ripe fruit, juiced or as an ingredient in various recipes. Some of the recipes include: lychee Yuan Xiao, lychee fish, lychee chicken oriental, lychee drop doughnuts, it is used in beverages as well as desserts and salads
Kumquat is a small orange-like fruit that is native to South Asia and Asia-pacific. Being a citrus fruit, it is expected that the rind is bitter, however, the raw rinds are sweet with an acidic and sour flesh.
Furthermore, it has a sharp flavor although it has less juice compared to other citrus fruits. It closely resembles the orange on both the inside and outside. It’s health benefits include ability to regulate the digestion, boost immunity system, strengthen your bones, lower your cholesterol level among others
Apart from being a fruit, you can use it in various recipes which include: kumquat tagine, spiced and grilled steaks with citrus chutney, chocolate kumquat spring rolls, prawn kumquat skewers, tilapia with spicy kumquat salsa and others.
This is one of the largest citrus fruits that are native to south and south-east Asia. Its outer color is pale green to yellow when ripe and ready for consumption and the inside is white although, it is sometimes orange or pink in color and tastes like grapefruit.
The fruit is used when making salads and juices. Furthermore, it can be used to make pomelo summer salad, Thai pomelo and chicken salad, pomelo noodles and pomelo green beans among others.
- BUDDHA‘S HAND FRUIT
This is a natural citrus fruit with fingerlike divisions. It was first discovered in India but was later brought to China by the Buddhist monks. The fruit symbolizes happiness and longevity and has been offered in temples for many years.
It has yellow rinds with no pulp, seeds and juice. You can use it anywhere you use lemon which includes salad dressings, pasta, and alcohol infusions.
- PASSION FRUIT
This is a small tropical fruit that has a purple or yellow outer cover that is hard. Its inner part is juicy and has many seeds. In China, it is grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions called Hainan, Fujian, Guangdong and Guanxi provinces. Passion fruits are rich in vitamin C and A as well as fiber. This can, therefore, work as a great antioxidant.
The fruit is used when preparing deserts like souffles, cakes, mousse, Pina Coladas, smoothies among others. I specifically love using it when making mango and passion fruit fool. When looking for some unique flavor for your dessert, always go for passion fruit.
- DRAGON FRUIT
This is also known as pitaya fruit in some places and is native to tropical climates. They are fruits that grow on certain types of cactus plants. They are basically slightly larger than softballs and it got its name from its fierce look.
Although the fruit was previously imported from Vietnam, Thailand and other regions. China‘s dragon fruit is found in Hebei province of North China, Hainan island and Guangxi province among others.
Dragon fruit is partly similar to Kiwi fruit although it has 3 varietals. One with pink skin and white flesh with black seeds, one with pink skin and red flesh with black seeds as well as one with yellow skin and white flesh with black seeds. It is used to make dragon fruit smoothie, dragon fruit salad, dragon fried rice, dragon dipping sauce, dragon candies among others.
- GOJI BERRIES
This fruit was used for spiritual and medicinal purposes for over 600 years. Zhongning county is the hub and ‘birthplace’ of goji berry. They are normally dried and made into powder form. Goji berries look like Roma tomatoes and are bean shaped.
The berries taste like a mixture of cranberry and sherry. They are used in most sweet and savory dishes as well as pastries. You can use them to make jewelled rice and energy boosting vegan superfood protein shake.
This is another citrus fruit that grows naturally in China. It has a green rind with a sour taste similar to that of lemon. When it ripens it could turn to pale yellow in color. However, one distinct characteristic from other citrus fruits is its smooth rind.
You can use the fruit when making main dishes like eggplant with sesame ponzu sauce and chicken tempura. It can also work perfectly for your salad dressings and juices.
This fruit grows in the Yangtze and Chang valley region of China. It is sometimes known as gooseberry. The fruit has a hairy brown outer cover with green flesh and black seeds. It’s sour and sweet taste. You can use it when making square ribs with kiwi, three fruited beef, Chinese kiwi chicken among others.
This is largely produced in Hainan province of China. Its color is yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Bananas are rich in potassium and fiber. Banana is one of the most consumed fruit in China and the globe. You can use it to make Chinese banana fritters, Chinese toffee bananas, Chinese banana and cinnamon pancakes among others.
This is another common fruit around the globe. China is the second largest mango producing country in the world. They are grown in Hainan province. There are varieties of mangoes which are green in color when raw and mostly become yellow when they are ripe and those that are green in color and then red when ripe.
Note that, the fruit is amongst the juiciest fruit in the world. The list of cuisines that mango is used to make is endless. When it is raw you can make pickles and chutneys with it and when it is ripe you can make smoothies, juices and salads. Moreover, you can make easy mango chicken with Chinese noodles and Chinese beef and mango fry among others.
Pawpaw which is best known as papaya is found in various parts of China and the globe. It’s a tropical fruit which grows in areas like southern China. The pawpaw has a green outer cover when raw and when ripe it could have between green-yellow outer coat. The flesh inside ranges from yellow to orange and it contains black seeds.
Pawpaw fruit is a meat tenderizer, it boosts your immune system, helps with digestion and pawpaw is rich in fiber. It can make papaya-stuffed chicken and basmati rice, papaya and chicken curry, papaya smoothie among others.
- CHINESE PEAR
The pear has a more elongated top and bulbous bottom. Its color ranges from green when raw to golden brown when ripe. The flesh is white, ripe and crunchy. The pear is used to make Asian pear pie, Asian pear fritters and Asian pear slaw with ginger and lime.
It’s a fruit that is planted throughout the Southeast Asia and the non-indigenous tropical areas. In China it is planted along pearl river, Fujian province, in Guangzhou. The fruit is oval in shape and when cut in cross section it looks like a star. It has thin skin that is smooth and waxy. When ripe it becomes either light or dark yellow but when raw it’s green in color.
Starfruit is also called carambola and you would describe the taste as sweet and sour. It’s okay to eat the skin as well. The fruit is rich in fiber, folate, copper, potassium and magnesium. It is used when making fish dishes although it is also used when making pork and meat dishes.
- GREEN PLUM
If you love sour treats this green plum will be your best fruit. They are green in color and the size of a cherry. Green plum is crunchy in texture and will give your taste buds that whiz you desire. The fruit like most other fruits is rich in vitamins sodium, protein, calcium and potassium. It helps in digestion, it’s an antioxidant and could help keep your gums healthy.
In China, it is used to make pickled plum and plum wine. There is a speculation that the Chinese were the first to start cultivating plum. It is believed to be a symbol of good fortune. It is also used to make plum sauces and syrups.
This fruit closely resembles lychee. They have a red fury outer skin with a white golf ball size flesh. In fact, if you have eaten lychee and Logan, these are the same in taste except they are not as juicy as lychee. The oval fruit has a thicker exterior that makes it look bigger than the normal lychee.
The best rambutan in China is produced in Baoting. Note that, the crop grows in tropical regions. It has a high content of fiber and low calories which makes it appropriate for those trying to lose weight. You could use the fruit to make summer rambutan curry, rambutan martini, deserts among others.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Who else loves apples?
These are fruits found in almost every city around the globe. This fruit is readily available in most towns and is usually red, green or yellow in color. It is crunchy yet juicy and is best eaten raw. However, you can juice the fruit and use it in your cooking recipes for desserts, and main meals like apple pies, puddings and sauces among others.
This is the king of fruits. It is grown in the tropical regions. While it’s one of the most expensive fruits in China, most people love it. The fruit is large in size with a spiky hard exterior and whitish-yellowish flesh. It tastes like a custard pudding made with almond.
It is quite nutritious and filling as well. It’s said to reduce high blood pressure among other health benefits. You can eat it as a fruit or use it to cook dishes like durian chicken soup, vegan durian pizza and raw durian alfredo pasta.
China being a country blessed with different kinds of weather pattern, has a variety of fruits. Whenever you feel the need to try the Chinese fruits always go to any Asian grocery store in your vicinity and get the fruit of your choice for your recipes.