Every year, as part of the Rosh Hashanah tradition, we have to sample a new fruit that we haven't eaten for at least six months. Back in the olden days, when fruits were seasonal, there was always a wide variety of fruits newly harvested at this time. Even back in the ancient 1970's, we sampled "exotic" fruits like mango, papaya, and that weird fuzzy egg-shaped thing from New Zealand that was bright green when you opened it.
Well, mangoes, papayas and kiwifruits are available all year long nowadays, so they are no longer exotic and "new." Pomegranates and fresh figs and dates still qualify since they usually come into season at about this time, but there is always that search for the newest, most exotic thing-that-grows-on-a-tree, to make a special Rosh Hashanah blessing.
Here are some fruits that we have sampled in the past.
1.) Lychees. These are little things about the size of cherries, with a hard, knobbled peel. When you remove the red knobby peel, you will see something that looks like a human eyeball. It also has the texture of an eyeball. Having never tasted an eyeball, I can't say that it tastes like an eyeball, but it's pretty gross to bite into. It actually tastes kind of like a strawberry or something, an eyeball that tastes like a strawberry.
2. Dragon Fruit. These are pretty, have an exotic name, and look like poppy-seed custard when you cut into them. They taste kind of like...nothing. Meh.
3. Passion Fruit. These have an exotic name, are kind of wrinkly and lame looking, and when you cut into them you see this smelly, green mess. But be brave! Scoop out the sloppy green guts and it's really very flavorful and sweet!
4. Tamarillo. These will make you pucker. Just have some honey to sprinkle on them and don't taste the peel whatever you do!
5. Star Fruit. They're pretty 'cause they're shaped like a star when you slice them! It's recommended to serve them, as a nice garnish, with other fruits like mango and papaya which are actually, you know, edible. Because Star Fruit tastes and smells like dirty socks. Which brings us to:
6. Durian. Don't. Even. Think. About. It. Durians smell like a whole gym full of stinky socks. I don't know what they taste like, because I have never eaten one. You can only buy them at specialty stores because Americans just kind of HATE THEM.
SHANAH TOVAH U'METUKAH! (Happy and Sweet New Year!)