When we go shopping for lush, ripe produce, we may not beeline for vibrant shades of brown. After all, brown usually implies a lack of freshness. Not so for the beauties on this brown fruit list! Though they’re the humblest of hues, fruits that are brown more than make up for their drab exteriors with vibrant flavors.
1. Bosc Pears
Most people probably wouldn’t have guessed that such exquisite flavour hides beneath these pears’ bland, papery skins. Bosc pears may look like morose little lumps, but they taste like absolute heaven. Their flesh is crisp and juicy, with bright floral flavors that taste like summer sunshine in every bite. Like many other fruits that are brown in color, they might not be the prettiest dance partners, but they’re worth inviting to the party nonetheless.
If you like sweet, juicy lychee fruits, you’ll definitely enjoy longan too. Like most other fruits that are brown in color, that tawny hue is limited to their thick skins. Inside, they have pale, translucent flesh wrapped around a hard black seed. They taste like a cross between lychee, red grape, and rambutan, and have a similar soft inner thigh texture to their flesh as well.
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These may be dried before you eat them, but they’re still important members of this brown fruit list! They’re some of the sweetest fruits on the planet, and are high in fiber, antioxidants, and magnesium. Dates are also recognized as having amazing brain-boosting power! Try them in power balls: pulsed through a food processor with coconut and cacao powder, and rolled into bite-sized superfood snacks.
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How could anyone forget the awesome kiwi fruit? These weird little wonders feel like the inside of a car roof until you slice them open. Then their bright green sweet-sour flesh beckons you to scoop them out and slurp up the deliciousness.
Unless you have a latex allergy, of course. Then just don’t, please. Back away from the fuzz fruit for your own good.
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The delightful, seed-filled fruits of the passionflower vine are often purple, but turn a rich shade of mahogany brown when they’re ripening. You’ll know they’ve reached peak ripeness when their skins start to crinkle, and give when you press into them. Basically, when they look like big, brown kalamata olives, they’re done.
6. Chojuro Pears
Do you like pears? How about pears that taste like butterscotch? If you answered “yes” to both those questions, then see if you can get your hands on some of these Japanese pears. They have a crunchy texture and unparalleled flavor, and seriously—they actually do taste like butterscotch. As far as fruits that are brown in color go, this is one of the most delicious you’ll ever try.
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Unless you live in Madagascar or Sub-Saharan Africa, you may never have a chance to taste fresh baobab fruit. Fortunately, it’s still on this gorgeous brown fruit list because it’s readily available in powder form worldwide. It has a creamy flavor and texture that blends well with sweet as well as savory dishes, and it’s full of antioxidants, prebiotics, iron, and vitamin C.
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The pulpy edible fruit from this legume tree has an utterly unique flavor, and is treasured in dishes around the world. In the East, it’s used to flavor sauces and stews, as well as desserts and drinks. In the West, you may have come across its tangy, aromatic flavor in Worcestershire sauce, curries, or chutneys. If you have trouble finding it fresh in your area, you can likely find tamarind paste to try out.
Have you ever heard of a kumato before? If you haven’t, then surprise! Kumatos are super-secret special hybrid tomato thingers that were developed in Spain. Apparently they taste quite a bit like tomatoes, but they’re both sweet and sour (?) and can be eaten at any ripeness stage. They’re at their most delicious when their skin darken to a deep reddish-brown.
10. Chocolate Habanero Peppers
Still trying to wrap your head around the fact that peppers are fruits too, huh? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Fortunately, these spicy additions to this brown fruit list can help you out. Chocolate habanero peppers look exactly as they sound: like they’ve been molded out of lush milk chocolate. They have great flavor and a seriously hot kick, so definitely try to find some!
When fully ripe, durians look like enormous yellow-brown hedgehogs. They also stink so horribly when you crack them open that they’re banned from many high-end hotels throughout Asia and the Middle East. They do taste rather incredible, however, so be sure to head down to your local Chinatown to try them out when and if you’re feeling adventurous.
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12. Musquee de Provence Pumpkins
If you’re a fan of pumpkin pie, and you have enough room in your garden to grow pumpkins, then definitely try to get your hands on these beauties. Although pumpkins might not instantly come to mind when you think of fruits that are brown in color, Musquee de Provence fruits are a perfect milk chocolate hue when fully ripe. The flesh tastes incredible, both sweet in desserts, and in savory soups, stews, and roasts.
Before you get all up in arms about coconuts being nuts, they’re not. They’re drupes, like apricots, cherries, olives, plums, and other species that develop tasty flesh around a hard, stone-like pit. They’re considered superfoods because they’re so nutrient-dense, and both their liquid and flesh are incredibly good for you.
Fun fact: if you’re ever stuck on an island where coconuts grow, you can use their water as a substitute for plasma during medical emergencies. Just so you know.
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Now, medlars are last on this brown fruit list because although they are technically brown when they’re ready to eat, it’s because they’re halfway to fermenting at this point. They require a ripening process known as “bletting”, which requires letting acidic fruits sit and chill for a while until they’ve softened and lost their edge. Medlar skins are orangey when ripe, but you’ll know they’re ready to eat when their skins look like used brown paper lunch bags.
As you can see, fruits that are brown aren’t necessarily going bad. In fact many of them taste so exquisite that it would be devastating not to give them a try. If your local supermarket doesn’t carry these, you may be able to find them in smaller fruit and vegetable markets in a nearby city. They’re definitely worth the effort to seek them out!