Going Bananas and Other Tropical Treats
By their nature and by their very definition, tropical fruits only flourish in parts of the world that maintain a constant temperate-to-hot climate year round. Numerous fruits fall within this category, from the very familiar bananas, pineapples, and avocados to the very unfamiliar mangosteens, star fruit, and custard apples.
Fortunately for the passionate cook, such natural beauties as pomelos (which look like oversized grapefruit but have a sweeter character), yellow mangoes, and papayas—even the pungent durian from Southeast Asia—are now more readily available in well-stocked markets once they come in season.
Most sources can describe the nutrient profiles of the commonplace fruits, but, according to a University of Florida document from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences issued in September 2007, not much research has been done on the tropicals.
Reams of facts and legions of followers, however, have documented all aspects of the banana, the one tropical fruit that almost every American knows, if not adores. Portable for the lunchbox, sliceable for the breakfast cereal, and adaptable for the baking pan or the ice cream maker, the banana offers plenty under the skin: vitamins B6 and C and the mineral potassium.
Besides, a medium-size banana packs in only 110 calories, not bad for such a sweet treat. No wonder, as the Chiquita corporation has tracked, the typical American eats about 27 pounds of bananas each year.