No Hawaiian vacation would be complete without sampling at least some of the tasty tropical fruits in Hawaii.
Tropical Fruit in Hawaii
I started visiting Hawaii with my family when I was a teenager. After we arrived, my parents would always make it a priority to stop by a farmers’ market or fruit stand and pick up some local fruit. I grew to love the tropical Hawaiian fruit.
Now, the fruit in Hawaii is something I look forward to when planning a Hawaii vacation. Along with the beach and sunshine, I’m dreaming of fresh Hawaiian papaya, pineapple, and mango.
Here are ten of my favorite fruits in Hawaii.
Papaya is my all-time favorite fruit in Hawaii and it grows year-round so no matter when you visit you can always find fresh papaya. Yes, you can buy papaya in the continental United States. But, it will be outrageously expensive and won’t taste as fresh or as sweet the papaya in Hawaii.
My favorite way to eat papaya is to cut it in half, remove the seeds, drizzle with fresh lime juice, and then scoop the fruit out using the skin as a bowl. Best breakfast EVER.
2- Star Fruit
A Star fruit has a sweet mild taste and the consistency of a grape with a thicker skin. It looks like a star when sliced up and is a beautiful and tasty addition to a fruit salad.
Star fruit season in Hawaii is approximately September through April.
3- Rambutan and Lychee
Rambutan and lychee are from the same family and very similar in size and taste. Both fruits are about the size of a golf ball but the rambutan is covered with soft spikes and the lychee has rough skin without spikes. The fruit inside is sweet and has a consistency similar to a cantaloupe or grape.
To eat a rambutan or lychee, cut around the rough skin, remove the top half, and squeeze the fruit out. The pit in the center is large so you will want to remove it before eating the fruit.
Rambutan season in Hawaii is October through March and lychee season is May through September.
There are over 200 different varieties of avocado grown in Hawaii. You will be amazed at the size of some avocados you find at local farmers’ markets. One avocado can make a whole bowl of guacamole!
Avocados are plentiful in Hawaii when they are in season (September through April). In Kauai, we met a lady selling avocados out of the trunk of her car in the Wal-Mart parking lot! You will also see lots of road-side stands selling avocados.
Nothing beats a fresh Hawaiian mango. So juicy and sweet, it is better than any dessert.
Mango trees can grow huge, up to 100 feet high, and produce hundreds of mangos per tree. If you are visiting Hawaii during mango season (May through October) fresh mangos are plentiful and easy to find.
An easy way to eat a mango is to cut it in half around the flat pit in the center, score the fruit, and scoop it out of the skin.
Coconuts are plentiful year-round in Hawaii and can be purchased at most farmers’ markets and roadside stands. The coconut vendor will chop a hole in a green coconut (the young green coconuts have the most coconut water) big enough to fit a straw. When the coconut water is gone, bring the coconut back to the vendor to cut the coconut meat out for you. Because store-bought coconut flakes usually contain added sugar, the meat of a fresh coconut isn’t as sweet. But, it is still a tasty snack.
Tip – Look for a vendor who has their coconuts in a cooler on ice. Coconut water is even more refreshing when it is cold.
If you love pineapple, you absolutely need to try a pineapple grown in Hawaii. Good Pineapples are easy to find at any grocery store in the continental United States. But, a fresh-picked Hawaiian pineapple has the perfect blend of juicy, sweet, and tangy. Yum.
Interesting fact – Pineapples are slow-growing. It takes from a year and a half to two years to grow a single pineapple!
I’m always a little disappointed with any pineapple I buy from the store after returning from Hawaii.
Bananas are another fruit available all year round in Hawaii. They are plentiful and cheap to buy at farmers’ markets and road-side stands.
The apple banana is a unique variety of banana grown in Hawaii. Apple bananas are shorter and fatter than the bananas you commonly find in grocery stores in the Continental United States. They have a unique taste that is slightly tangy and a little sweet.
9- Lilikoi (Passion Fruit)
Lilikoi is the Hawaiian name for passion fruit. Lilikoi season is from June through January in Hawaii. The one and a half to two-inch round fruits are plentiful at farmers’ markets when in season.
Passion fruit can be eaten right out of the rind and the seeds are also edible. Simply cut the rind in half and drink or scoop the fruit out. The taste is tart with a slight sweetness.
If you are turned off by the texture of the Lilikoi, you can blend up the fruit and then put it through a strainer. The juice can be made into a delicious tropical drink.
10- Dragon Fruit
I love dragon fruit just because of its unusual exotic look both inside and out. Dragon fruit season in Hawaii is from May through December. For such an exotic looking fruit, the dragon fruit tastes surprisingly bland.
To eat dragon fruit, simply slice the fruit in half and spoon the fruit out of the rind. It makes a beautiful addition to a fruit salad and takes on the taste of the other fruits.
Farmers’ Markets In Hawaii
Because the fruit in Hawaii is so plentiful, there are lots of farmers’ markets in Hawaii.
Check out the State of Hawaii Agriculture Development Division website to find a farmers’ market to visit on your Hawaiian vacation. The website lists the dates and times of all farmers’ markets in the state.
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