I'm always on the hunt for exotic or foreign fruits when I go to international markets. I'll document some of my finds and what I like to do with them. I mostly make juices or syrups from some of these but others can be eaten as is or with other dishes. Prickly Pear/Barbary Fig So this fruit buds off the end of paddle cacti. It's super sweet when ripe (dark red) and I like to make a syrup out of it by boiling skinned chunks in enough water to barely cover the pieces, straining, then adding a roughly equal amount of sugar to the leftover liquid. Gently boil that until the volume is reduced to about 1/4 its original volume or until the thickness is how you want it. The taste is almost like a citrusy-watermelon to me. This simple syrup goes really well with club soda, gin, and a little bit of mint and lime. I haven't been seeing them around lately, I'd say the best time to buy (on the East coast) would be around January. Passion Fruit There are a couple varieties of these, but I think the ones with purple rind are the best. The flower of the vine that they grow on is beautiful. Passion fruit tastes like a very sweet orange juice mixed with pineapple. You'll know a passion fruit is ready to eat if you shake it and can hear something sloshing around inside. The skin should feel kind of leathery. You can munch on the arils and spit out the seeds similar to a pomegranate or make juice out of them which is what I do. Scrape out and throw the brains (trash the rind) into a blender or food processor with some cold water, enough to get a consistent liquid when blended. Strain, making sure to get rid of all the seeds, then you can either dilute with more water to get more volume while adding sugar until sweet enough for you or keep it as a concentrate and add a bit of sugar to be used in cocktails. I just like drinking the juice after diluting it with some water. Guava There are also a couple kinds of guavas, the kind pictured above are typically called baby guavas but I just know them as 'those guayabas I get from the Mexican market.' I make juice with these (another juice, I know. Sorry!) and it's my favorite spring-summer drink. They're ready when the skin gives a bit to pressure and is soft to the touch (but not squishy). Too firm and it'll taste bitter and pretty bad. They should also smell just like they taste when they're ready. When they're unripened, the inside is a cream color whereas it changes to reddish when ripe. To me they taste like a very subtle mixture of strawberries and bananas. I make juice from these in a similar way to the passion fruit, by blending straining and diluting, then adding sugar. 5 guayabas can give about 2 mason jars of delicious juice. I have 4 regular sized guavas ripening right now, I'll make another post when they're ready and what I'll do with those (since they're kind of different). Both of these types of guavas are in season now, so get looking. More will follow this post.