Exotic “Freaky Fruits”™ Make Delicious Halloween Appetizers!

 

I partnered with Melissa’s World Produce for a Halloween-themed segment on the “Home & Family” Show called “Freaky Fruits”™.

The artisans at Melissa’s came up with the “Freaky Fruits”™ concept, where they use some of their in-season, exotic fruits as Halloween appetizers.

Don’t let the creepy display deceive you, these fruits are mouthwatering delicious!

 

Take a look and next time you are at the market, pick up some of the exotic and mysterious fruit shown here!

 

“Dragon Egg Stew”

Deep, rich red juice made from the cactus pear found on the Noplaes cactus.

Float some rambutans in the juice for a Halloween feel.

 

ITEM LIST:

Peeled Rambutans

Cactus Pear/apple cider mix

Sparkling Water

*****BE CAREFUL HANDLING, PICK UP BY STEM & FLOWER END, WEAR GLOVES*****

 

FOR ASSEMBLY: 

  • Arrange rambutans in martini glasses
  • Pour juice mixture on top

 

ABOUT CACTUS PEARS:

  • The fruit growing on common cactuses:
  • You see them growing all over L.A. this time of year!
  • Floral, juicy flavor similar to a mellow watermelon
  • Great for juice, margaritas and aguas frescas.
  • Extremely high in fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants like anthocynanins believed to help fight free radicals

 

ABOUT RAMBUTANS:

  • Fun to eat given its grape-like texture and sweet lychee-like flavor
  • Seed is not edible
  • Native to Southeast Asia
  • Cut off the tops and show them off!

 

“MINI MONSTER SNACKS”

Enjoy tangy pomegranate seeds cradled in a hairy-looking Rambutan!

Little monster snacks are emptied rambutan shells filled with pomegranate seeds

 

ITEM LIST:

Rambutans

Pomegranate arils

YOU WILL NEED:

Cutting board

Pairing Knife

Pretty bowl to put rambutans in

Very small spoon for putting pomegranate arils into empty rambutan shells

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1.  Cut rambutans in half, but avoid cutting through the center of fruit and piercing the seed. Keep in tact.
  2. Release rambutan and put in a small clear bowl
  3. Scoop pomegranate arils into empty rambutan shells- that’s it! Just fill the shells.

 

MORE ABOUT RAMBUTANS:

  • Related to lychee and longan
  • “Rambut” means hairy in Malay
  • Sweet and mild flavor

 

ABOUT POMEGRANATES:

  • Pomegranate seeds are called “arils”
  • Rich, fruity red flavor
  • Ancient fruit, cultivated in Persia as long as 4000 years ago
  • Very high in antioxidants and fiber

 

 

“Freaky Fruit”™ Salad

A tasty selection of tropical fruit cubed and balled and displayed in empty papaya, dragon fruit and melon shells.

Sprinkle Finger Limes on top for extra zip.

Freaky Fruit salad with tropical fruit- papaya, cherimoya, dragon fruit and pomegranate

 

ITEM LIST:

Papaya, Dragon Fruit and Kiwano Melon empty shells to use as bowls

Cubed and balled Dragon Fruit, Kiwano Melon, Maradol Papaya, Strawberry Papaya

Finger limes for garnish

 

TIPS FOR DISPLAY: 

  • Add a fresh top layer of cut fruit every few hours if you are displaying at a long party.
  • Gently mist the Freaky Fruits Salad with an Evian mister to freshen it up!

 

TIPS FOR TASTING: 

  • Spoon the finger lime pearls over fruit salad before tasting!

 

ABOUT PAPAYA:

  • Gorgeous and mild sweet tropical fruit with a slightly musky flavor
  • Great in fruit salads, on Asian noodle salads, as a salsa; great chip dip or on chicken or fish
  • Bursting with nutrition like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate and lots of phytonutrients
  • Papain, a digestive enzyme in papaya, helps break down proteins and can help make you feel less full—try serving some after Thanksgiving dinner before dessert!
  • STRAWBERRY: pink, sweet and firm, smaller
  • MARADOL: large, slightly musky, salmon-colored papaya (3-5 lbs)

 

ABOUT DRAGON FRUIT:

  • Mild and sweet—think kiwi texture and a kiwi and melon-like flavor
  • Legend has it fire-breathing dragons blew out these fruits in battle!
  • Very popular in Southeast Asia

 

ABOUT CHERIMOYA:

  • Mark Twain called cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to man.”
  • Flavor like a blend of pineapple/mango/banana/strawberry
  • Very custardy and creamy
  • Wait! Cherimoyas are ripe when their green skin starts to turn black, when they give to gentle pressure, and when they are quite fragrant

 

 

“HAUNTED GRAVEYARD”

 

 

ITEM LIST:

9×14” baking pan

Crushed Oreos

Chocolate Pudding

Cool Whip

Gummy Worms

Black Icing Gel pen

From Melissa’s: 

Jackfruit Slice for gravestone

“Buddha’s Hand” Citron

Sugarworms (candied Buddha’s Hand citron)

 

FOR ASSEMBLY: 

  • Layer pudding, then a mound of Cool Whip in pan. Cover with Oreo crumbs.
  • Cut a Buddha’s hand and place so it looks like it’s coming from the grave
  • Carefully arrange gummy worms and Sugarworms
  • Very carefully insert jackfruit slice into the back of the pan so it looks like a tombstone
  • Write “R.I.P.” on the tombstone with icing pen

 

ABOUT JACKFRUIT:

  • Super tropical taste, like Juicy Fruit gum or a Piña Colada!
  • Weigh around 18 lbs on average! The largest tree fruits in the world!
  • Vegans love jackfruit: can be cooked and prepared like pulled pork for delicious tacos and sandwiches!

 

ABOUT BUDDHA’S HAND CITRON:

  • Prized for unusual shape and incredible perfume
  • Great housewarming gift and centerpiece

 

“LIME SLIME” PUNCH

A nutritious and filling fruit punch with Chia Seeds!

I think Chia seeds are the new Boba!

 

YOU WILL NEED:

Attractive Punch Bowl

Whisk

Ladle

Glasses to serve

 

ITEM LIST: 

Prepared Limeade juice

Chia Seed Mixture

5 pre-scored finger limes

Finger limes

 

INSTRUCTIONS: 

  1. Combine pre-mixed chia seed mixture and limeade in a punch bowl.
  2. Whisk very well to break up any chia clumps.
  3. Add 1-2 drops of green food coloring; stir. Add more if needed.
  4. Pour punch into glasses
  5. Garnish glasses with pre-scored finger limes

 

ABOUT CHIA SEEDS:

  • Nutty taste, very filling, easy to eat. Add to drinks, granola, smoothies, salads and more
  • Excellent source of fiber: 11 grams/oz., nearly half the RDV for women
  • Excellent source of protein: 4 grams/oz.

 

ABOUT FINGER LIMES:

  • The caviar of citrus! Tiny pearls of little edible lime juice pop on your tongue
  • Amazing in drinks, on sushi and seafood, on fruit salad, mixed into ice cream…
  • These are the next big thing!
  • Native to Australia, now grown in California

 

TIP: THIS IS A GREAT PRE TRICK-or-TREATING DRINK FOR KIDS & ADULTS: THE CHIA SEEDS MAKE YOU FEEL FULL, SO YOU MAY NOT FILL UP ON AS MUCH CANDY!

 

“MONSTER MELONS”

This appetizer is very simple because all you do is cut into the melon flesh and a slimy, but delicious gel oozes out of the fruit!

Kiwano melon tastes similar to a lemony cucumber!

Have fun with this project.

You can add Halloween teeth or cut some Rambutan and use as hair on the monster!

 

Kiwano melon monsters for halloween melissas produce

 

ITEM LIST:

Kiwano Melons

Rambutans

Grapes

Pomegranate Arils

 

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the bottom of the Kiwano melon so that it sits flat on a dish.

Cut holes for eyes and mouth and detail with chocolate candy eyeballs and add a plastic rat to wow the crowd!

 

ABOUT KIWANO MELONS:

  • Also known as “horned melon” or “blowfish melon”
  • They are spiky, but the flesh is easy to cut
  • Safe for kids to decorate
  • Jelly-like seeded flesh tastes like wet, lemony cucumber with hints of banana
  • Very rich in Vitamin C and fiber
  • Can be enjoyed sweet or savory—add either sugar or salt to boost flavor if desired

 

 

 “Sugar Worms”

The aromatic and densely flavored Citron is unmatched for candying, cooking with and adding to your favorite tea, juice or cocktail!

sugared worms made from fragrant citron, buddah's hand

 

ITEM LIST:

Buddha’s Hand Citron strips – cooked in simple sugar and water mixture for at least 30 minutes.

Crushed Oreo

Extra slices of Buddah’s Hand to use in graveyard scene.

 

TIPS FOR DISPLAY: 

  • Don’t put too many “worms” on the Oreo dirt—they look better if you can see individual shapes
  • Worms can be bent to create optimum shapes

 

ABOUT CANDYING CITRUS:

  • EASY: Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan with the peels, bring to a boil, simmer 45 minutes, let sit 30 minutes off heat, strain, and dry on a rack 2 hours until tacky. Roll in sugar.
  • Make sure to save the syrup! Amazing in tea, cocktails, cakes, on ice cream…
  • We’ve done these to look like worms for Halloween, but these are great for the holidays and make amazing homemade gifts! Technique’s easy and once you get the hang of it you’ll want to candy like crazy! Try Buddha’s Hand Citron, orange peel, grapefruit peel and more!
  • TIP: We added edible pearlescent baking dust to our sugar (available online) to give our worms a subtle glimmer

 

ABOUT BUDDHA’S HAND CITRON:

  • Buddha’s Hands are a citron—related to citrus fruits like lemons, but no flesh or juice inside, just pith!
  • Considered lucky in Asia
  • Popular Chinese New Year gift—believed to bestow good fortune on a household
  • The perfume is absolutely amazing, like a flowery lemon.
  • The pith is not bitter, so you can candy it!
  • Makes a great centerpiece because it perfumes a whole room
  • BAKING: Try zesting and adding to sugar for future cooking
  • COCKTAILS: Slice off fingers and put in vodka to steep for 2 weeks, then strain—citron vodka!

 

 

“ZOMBIE EYEBALLS”

This is my favorite “Freaky Fruit”™ appetizer because it only has three ingredients and looks very creepy!

The passionfruit in this appetizer will knock your socks off- so fragrant.

Zombie eyeballs made with stuffed passion vine fruit shells, grapes and pomegranate seeds

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Slice passion fruits in half horizontally

2. Slice grapes in half horizontally

3. Cut a slit in grapes

4. Push a pomegranate aril into the grape

5. Push the pom-stuffed grape half into the passion fruit

 

YOU WILL NEED

Cutting board

Small knife

 

ITEM LIST: 

Passion fruit

Red and/or green grapes

Pomegranate arils

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the passionfruit in half and add a halved grape with a small pomogranate seed inserted in the middle of grape to act as an iris!

That’s it.

 

ABOUT PASSION FRUIT:

  • Delicious tropical flavor and incredible smell
  • High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, antioxidant carotenoids and iron
  • High in fiber: 24.5 grams of fiber/cup!

 

ABOUT POMEGRANATES:

  • Seeds make a beautiful garnish on mashed sweet potatoes and yams, fall salads, pies and desserts
  • Some people think the apple in the Bible would have actually been a pomegranate!

 

ABOUT GRAPES: 

  • Melissa’s Muscato grapes are very sweet with a crisp bite followed by great juiciness
  • Grapes contain phytonutrients believed to help cell longevity (ie, help you live longer)
  • Grapes have a low glycemic index and may better insulin regulation

 

 Freaky Fruits Display by Melissas as seen on Home & Family Show, Hallmark

 

I’ll be posting more photos of #FreakyFruits in this article, so subscribe to Foodie Gardener so that you can receive a notice of new blog posts!

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About the author  ⁄ Shirley Bovshow

I'm known as "EdenMaker," as well as a "Foodie Gardener" on the web, but you can call me "Shirley" anytime! When I'm not eating or growing my own food, I'm busy designing gardens and producing garden TV shows! When it's time to cook, I ask my family, "What country do you want to visit tonight?" Thank God for WeightWatchers, most of my fruits and veggies are "0-Points." Some of you know what I'm talking about!

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