Mango & Passion fruit Lassi. | Marc Fosh

These days most supermarkets stock a good selection of exotic fruits including lychee’s, kumquats, guava’s, papayas and passion fruit etc. and now is the best time to experiment with them before spring and summer arrive with a plentiful array of fresh local fruit to tempt us.

My favourite exotic fruits are papaya and passion fruit. With its pleasantly sweet and tart flavour and the most amazing aroma, passion fruits are hard to beast. In fact the aroma and taste of passion fruit are so intense that it is usually considered too strong to be used in pure passion fruit juices and it is normally mixed with different flavours to help enhance them. Passion fruit is also high in dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and Potassium. The nutritional value and health benefits of passion fruit make it ideal for maintaining optimum health and weight loss. The truth is you should avoid including passion fruit in your diet if you are interested in weight gain and they also have somniferous properties, and when taken before going to bed they are effective in relaxation and a restful sleep during the night.

Purple passion fruits are generally smaller but more flavorful than yellow-golden varieties. Both the seeds and pulp of passion fruit can be added to fruit salads and desserts. But basically, because of their strong acidity, passion fruit juice can be used in most recipes in place of lemon juice and they are also good in drinks, jellies and mousses. Passion fruit become more wrinkly as they ripen so avoid fruit that feels light for its size or is very wrinkled.

I think fresh papaya is a slightly underrated fruit, which is a shame as it does have a deliciously sweet flavour with musky undertones and a soft, butter-like consistency. It is no wonder that papaya was reputably called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus. Their flesh is a rich orange color with either yellow or pink hues. Inside the inner cavity of the fruit are black, round seeds encased in a gelatinous-like substance. Papaya’s seeds are edible, although their peppery flavour is somewhat bitter. They can be used many different ways when added to a fruit salad or to a host of different recipes. One of the easiest and most delightful ways to eat papaya is to eat it just like a melon. After washing the fruit, cut it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and then eat it with a spoon. For a little extra zest, you can squeeze lemon or lime juice on top.

You can also use a melon baller to scoop out the fruit of a halved papaya. If you are adding it to a fruit salad, you should do so just before serving as it tends to cause the other fruits to become very soft. Papaya is very sweet and needs lemon or lime juice to bring out its flavour.

Much of the exotic fruit in my house ends up in a glass. It’s a pretty perfect morning that starts with a tumbler of mango and orange and then I mix my juice with yogurt, making a thick, velvety smoothie or lassi. If the only yogurt you have is thick Greek, then add a good slug or two of water to the fruit and yogurt.