We recently finished a Passport Program at Brooks Elementary in Medford, MA. During our last class I brought in two different kinds of fruit to share with the kids. Exploring unique food items is a great way to explore culture with your children at home as well!
First, we took out a Pitahaya, or "Dragon Fruit" as they are called in America. There are many different kinds of "Dragon Fruit" and they are all so visually interesting. This is a Cacti fruit that is native to Mexico but is cultivated and produced in many tropical regions.
Before cutting our fruit open I let our class pass it around. Part of the adventure when exploring food is to utilize all your senses. Each child was given an opportunity to feel the fruit. Then, we made some hypothesis about how it would look on the inside; it was not at all what they were expecting!
After cutting it open everyone had a chance to smell the fruit; there was not much to smell! One might be able to detect a slight melon whiff to the fruit but it was not very potent at all. I would say the same went for the taste. Though the texture was nice the fruit itself was a bit bland.
Though the taste left something to be desired the aesthetic was incredible; the magenta color of this fruit is so beautiful! After everyone had a chance to try the fruit, some came back for seconds.
We also tried Longan, which was a completely different experience! This is another tropical fruit but is native to southeast Asia. It grows on a tree in bunches, similar to grapes
I am not sure how the outer shell of the fruit feels when it is first picked but our store bought Longan (HMart) had a thin, hard, outer shell. Each child took their own piece and had to peel the skin back to get to the fruit inside.
The texture of this fruit was similar to concord grapes but the flavor was very unusual. Though this fruit is worth trying, it is not something I would choose to eat on a regular basis. Although the process of getting to this fruit was fun and something the kids enjoyed, there were a lot of kids spitting it out in the trash, asking for water, and wiping their tongue's off with paper towels; LOL!
Overall, 100% worth it! My only advice for anyone pinching pennies: Buy a fruit that looks interesting, then, regardless of whether it tastes good you will have at least spent money on something that was visually stimulating.