Fruits are a nutritious staple in many peoples’ diets. Which specific types you regularly eat likely depends on your geographic location and access to grocery stores. With modern technology and transport, fruits from around the world are available regardless of seasonality and climate. Yet still, what’s considered a familiar fruit for someone living in Southeast Asia or India may seem peculiar to someone living in North Africa, and vice versa. Whether you’d like to diversify your diet by trying different fruits or are simply curious about the underrated types of fruits found in Egypt, here are five fruits you probably haven’t tried before.
Sycamore exists in all Egyptian districts of Delta and Upper Egypt. It is considered one of ancient Egypt’s most essential and popular fruits. It has been cultivated in Egypt since the third millennium BC. You might have heard people call it Gemez, however, you wouldn’t usually find it in your neighbourhood market or grocery store. Considered rare, the sycamore tree, which used to grow in every village in Egypt, is now reduced to a few hundred in number. If you stumble upon it, give it a try – it has a delightful aroma and tastes sweeter than the common fig.
Some ripen to an ooey-gooey softness, others remain crunchy, but persimmons are sweet enough to entice every palette. This creamy orange-coloured fruit, also known as Kaka, is a great winter crop filled with nutrients and benefits. The fruit is originally from China, and its juicy flesh has a honey-like sweetness that complements any sweet or savoury dish.
The fig tree has grown in Egypt for thousands of years. This tree gave the ancient Egyptians food to eat and a shady place to rest in the hot sun. Generally, figs are a versatile fruit, and this specific variety tastes slightly different from regular figs. Green figs or Teen Tofahy are usually larger and plumper than black figs. When ripe, the figs will be pale lime green with pink to brown variegation and are typically available during summer.
The Sea Buckthorn berry, specifically the oil that is derived from it, has been valued by ancient cultures in the practice of folk medicine for centuries. This fruit contains various vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. It’s naturally full of antioxidants, which help protect your body against ageing and illnesses. Known by the name Nab’, this fruit grows in mountainous and sandy environments – you might find it next time you visit Aswan.
It’s often eaten with a spoon and served chilled like custard. Cherimoya or Eshta has a sweet taste similar to other tropical fruits, such as banana and pineapple. The fruit is often grown in tropical areas across the world; however, it’s available right here in Egypt during winter – but could get very expensive. Its scaly features and creamy insides make it a distinctive fruit in looks and taste. Give it a try next winter if you feel like splurging!