Looking to add some healthy and delicious variety to your fruit bowl? Get ready to discover 53 greenish fruits that are sure to tantalize your taste buds and boost your nutrition game!
We can think of plenty of reasons to crave a list of green fruits. Maybe you’re planning a festive display for Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day, or perhaps you’re looking to optimize your health with the “Eat the Colors of the Rainbow” approach.
Whatever your motivation may be, we’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide to green and greenish (mostly green?) fruits, complete with some of our favorite recipes featuring the most popular picks. While a few of these exotic green fruits may be hard to come by in your local grocery store, you might be surprised to find them available on Amazon.
The most expensive fruit ever sold was purchased for $27,000. What was it? (Answer at the end of this post!)
c. Green Fig
Types of Green Fruits
There are virtually thousands of types of greenish fruits out there. Here are the 53 most popular green fruits you may incounter!
Avocados have a huge seed surrounded by pulp, so they are technically fruits. These nutritious gems have recently become an American favorite. There used to be an US ban on fruits from Mexico, the nation of origin for the avocado. When these import restrictions were loosened in the 90’s and finally removed in 2007, avocados began to flow freely into our country (and mouths). America’s rising Hispanic population also brought with it Mexican cuisine and guacamole. And if this wasn’t enough reason for the avocado’s rise, in the early 2000’s the low carb, high fat diet craze began and the humble avocado came to front and center in this new way of eating. Looking for avocado inspiration? Try any of these 17 Ways to Eat Avocado for Dinner.
African Breadfruit are hard and fibrous, and can weigh up to 20 lbs. It is eaten broadly in Africa and its seeds are often roasted and eaten as snacks.
The cantaloupe really only has hints of green in its skin, but we did title this article Greenish fruits. The precise origin of the cantaloupe isn’t clear, but they likely came from Southern Asia or the Middle East. In the USA around 75% of cantaloupes are grown in California, and China is by far the world’s leading producer growing over half the world’s total. Cantaloupe is most often eaten fresh in balls or slices. It is great in fruit or veggie salads, and for our money in recipes like this Vegetarian Curried Melon Salad. Cantaloupes are loaded with vitamins A & C, fiber, and a bunch of micronutrients, so this is definitely a no guilt snack.
The cempedak is a close relative to the breadfruit. They grow in Southeast Asia, and are known for their scaly skin and terrible smell. Locally the cempedak is often eaten raw, deep-fried, grilled, or boiled. They are not often found outside of SE Asia.
Chayotes are native to Southern Mexico and Honduras. They can be eaten raw, sliced into salads, boiled, mashed, baked, or fried. Basically, they can be cooked as one would most summer squash.
Cherimoyas are also known as Custard Apples due to their creamy texture. They are also known as Ice Cream Fruit as they are often chilled, cut open, then the pulp eaten raw from their skin. The name “Ice Cream Fruit” alone begs us to try them. Cherimoya are grown in tropical regions around the world.
Crispin Apples, or Matsu Apples, originated in Japan, but are available pretty much worldwide today. They are an excellent apple eaten whole (raw) as they are quite sweet with a bit of tartness to their juicy pulp. We won’t list every green apple in this post. There are something like 30,000 apple varieties grown around the world, and a fair number are green when ripe. We will just list a few of our favorites like the crispin.
Cucumbers are technically a fruit, but like many fruits are thought of more as a vegetable. Cucumbers are an especially low calorie fruit as they have under 5 calories per ounce. This is because they are 95% water! They are unfortunately also low in most micronutrients. For more on cucumbers check out our Cucumber 101 guide!
The Doddler Lauren grows on a parasitic vine in Australia. The small fruits are picked from the wild plants and eaten out of hand. This is not a fruit you will often find outside of Australia.
Durians are grown in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The fruit is fairly sweet, but only if you can get past its awful smell which is often described as rotten cheese. Their smell is so bad that many hotels and public transports do not allow them to be brought in by tourists who pick these oddities up at local markets.
The elephant apple is named after its most common consumer, the Indian elephant. It is a hard-shelled fruit native to India and China. The fruit is sour and often used in curries, jams, and jellies. In many regions humans are discouraged or simply not allowed to eat the elephant apple because it is a primary food source for elephants. .
Feijoas are also called guavasteen or pineapple guava. They are native to South America and cultivated in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This sweet fruit is also grown in California, and is often eaten raw or made into crisps, crumbles, bread, or ice cream.
Genips are a juicy fruit grown largely in the Caribbean to include Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. Once peeled they reveal a uniquely salmon-colored pulp that is tangy and mildly sweet.
Gooseberries are generally green, but can also be orange, red, purple, yellow, white or black. They are grown around Europe and Western Asia, and are eaten raw or used in a variety of desserts.
Granny Smith Apple
Granny Smith apples are the third most sold apple in the USA, and are also known as Sour Apples or sometimes Green Apples though they are far from the only apple that remains green when ripe. They were developed in Australia in the 19th Century on the farm of Maria Smith whose nickname was. . . wait for it. . . . “Granny”. The superpower of the Granny Smith apple is that it remains firm when cooked making it a favorite baking apple. Give them a try in this Savory Apple Tart.
Green Apple simply refers to any apple with a green skin when ripe. There are dozens of varieties, many of which are very popular like the Aurora, Crispin, Granny Smith, and Lodi. Many green apple varieties are great eaten whole, but they are most prized as baker’s favorites. Try any variety in this Easy Apple Galette Recipe (with Maple Caramel Sauce).
Bananas varieties that stay green once ripe are actually fairly uncommon though there are some types that do like the Musa Dwarf Green. The plant itself is “dwarf” only growing to about 6 feet high, but it’s tasty bananas with their creamy orange pulp are normal sized.
Green Bell Pepper
Bell Peppers are as essential in my kitchen as a good chef’s knife. Also known as paprika or sweet peppers, they are most commonly green, yellow, orange, or red, but can also be found in purple, white, and brown. Peppers are native to Mexico as well as Central & South America, and were introduced to Europe by Spanish explorers shortly after Columbus “discovered the New World”. The bell pepper we know today didn’t evolve until the 1920s, and today China is the leading producer of bell peppers.
Green Egg Squash
Green egg squash look very much like a zucchini or 8-ball squash (round zucchini) because they are basically a zucchini hybrid. They are an oval squash typically 5” long, and can be used in lieu of zucchini. We like them in this Stuffed Zucchini Recipe. Their short squat shape is perfect for making a stuffed zucchini bowl. If you want to know more about this low calorie, nutritionally dense family of squash checkout Everything You Need to Know About the Humble Zucchini.
Green figs are normally a bit larger and fatter than their dark brown cousins. They are ripest when their weight seems heavy to their size, so a heavy fig is generally ready to eat. Figs appear to have originated in the Mediterranean region thousands of years ago, but are grown around the world today with Turkey being the world’s leading producer. Figs can be eaten fresh, dried, in jams and jellies, and in an endless variety of desserts.
Green Gage Plum
This sweet green plum is a hybrid of European and Damson plums. They have a sweet, honey tasting flesh with a pleasant flavor and texture. While bred in Europe, they spread worldwide due to their popularity. We believe that Thomas Jefferson grew them in his private gardens. Today, however, they are not widely grown commercially as they are a difficult fruit to grow. You can, however, find them at farmer’s markets and some online vendors.
There are, of course, dozens if not hundreds of varieties of green grapes, so we won’t attempt to list them all here. In the US the most prevalent are Thompson seedless grapes which are the ubiquitous green variety you can find year-round at the grocery store. You can certainly cook with Thompson grapes. Try them in this decadent Sweet Potato Smashers with Roasted Grapes recipe, but their best use is probably as a snack eaten chilled.
We generally think of lemons as yellow as that is largely the way they are sold at the grocery. The ripeness of a lemon, however, is less a matter of its color than it is size. Have you noticed that most lemons at the store are about the same size? Lemons are ripe when they get to be 2 inches in diameter. They can have a green, yellowish green, or yellow rind when picked, but will continue to ripen and turn yellow after harvesting.
Green raisins are, of course, just dried out green grapes. They are nutritionally very similar to their darker cousins. You can use them interchangeably in cooking based on your taste preference. The thing to keep in mind about all raisins is that they are very calorie dense. At Live Eat Learn we love raisins and either color makes a good add to this Grilled Broccoli Salad Recipe.
The first known reference to strawberries was in Europe in the 15th Century. We know of no strawberry variety that remains green when ripe, but there are people who like the tart taste of green strawberries. You will not likely find them in any market, but fortunately strawberries are quite easy to grow in a home garden, so if you want to try this out, give them a try!
The vast majority of commercially available types of tomatoes tomatoes are red or yellow, but there are a fair number of tomatoes that are green when ripe. A few you may be able to find include: Artisan Green Tiger, Emerald Apple, Cherokee Green, Green Doctor, Green Pear Tomato, and Green Zebra. Fried green tomatoes became a thing in the USA after the movie by that name over 30 years ago. They are, however, quite good in their own right. Our favorite tomato for that purpose is the large Beefsteak tomato. The trick is finding them green. Try specialty markets or just grow your own. Tomato growing is hugely rewarding as they seem to thrive about anywhere and can be grown in a pot on your apartment balcony if space is an issue.
Guavas are a popular type of tropical fruit eaten around the world. They are native to Mexico and Central America, but are grown more widely today. The sweet juice from guavas is, in our opinion, best used in Hawaiian POG Juice. Besides their sweet flavor and just tasting great, guavas are healthy. A single ounce of guava has over 100% of the RDA of Vitamin C and 1.5g of fiber.
Guava berries are not related to Guava. They are a blueberry sized fruit that grows wild in Central and South America, as well as Florida and Hawaii. They are often used to make several varieties of European schnapps.
The honeydew melon is a wonderfully sweet and juicy fruit with a light green flesh. People have been eating them for thousands of years, and in ancient Egypt they were considered a sacred food. For all their sweetness they only contain about 10 calories an ounce which seems almost gravity defying. Please don’t write to us to say how scientifically misguided that assertion is, but they do have a great nutrition profile to go with their taste. Give honeydew a try in this Curried Melon Salad, or in any fruit salad, particularly when balled together with cantaloupe.
The Ilama is a tropical fruit found in Central America where they are often chilled, cut in half, and the pulp eaten by spoon. Ilama are green or pink. The green skinned variant contains a sweet white flesh and the pink skinned a tart rose colored pulp.
The Indian gooseberry is native to India where it is also called Amlas, and is used to make amla juice. These sour green berries are commonly used in candies, chutneys, pickled, and in an Indian lentil based dish called dal. The gooseberry is also said to aid in reducing LDL and triglyceride levels. While we can’t speak to the validity of these claims, they are high in vitamin C. Gooseberry supplements can be found on Amazon.
The jackfruit has a fibrous texture similar to mango or pineapple. They are sweet, but when cooked their flavor has a hint of pulled pork. For this reason jackfruit is sometimes used in vegetarian meat substitute recipes. If you want to give this a try, check out our jackfruit pulled pork recipe or jackfruit carnitas! While jackfruit doesn’t have the protein content of pork, it is a great source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
Jujubes are also known as Red or Chinese Dates, and are native to Southern Asia. These sweet fruits have a chewy texture making them good in candies and as dried fruit. Jujubes are high in fiber and have a fairly good vitamin and micronutrient content.
Junglesops can grow to as large as 15 Kg (33 lbs), and are native to Central Africa. While they are often eaten by the native pygmies, they are mostly reserved as an alternative food source for times of famine. The problem with Junglesop is that about 70% of the trees produce fruit that just doesn’t taste good.
The Keitt Mango was developed on the Florida farm of a Ms. Keitt in 1939. Today these large sweet mangoes are grown mostly in California. The Keitt mango is often eaten raw as it is fiber free making it quite creamy. While a creamy mango would be best, you can’t go wrong with any mango in a Mango Smoothie.
Kiwi are native to China, but were first grown commercially in New Zealand which is where they got the name “kiwi”. Kiwi have since become popular worldwide to include in the United States. They are nutritionally very impressive, containing more vitamin C than oranges, and their acidity makes them a useful cooking ingredient due to their ability to tenderize and digest proteins. For a healthy kid friendly summer treat try these Green Smoothie Popsicles (sugar-free)!
Kowai are also known as Ivy Gourds. These small oval shaped fruits grow in the tropical regions of Southern India where they are used in local cuisines and medicines. Medicinally, Kowai is purported to reduce blood sugar thus preventing diabetes.
Langsats are tropical fruits native to SE Asia where they are mostly grown in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. They resemble small potatoes and can be eaten raw or juiced as the fruit is quite sweet.
Limes are among the world’s most common citrus fruits. They are easily grown in tropical regions, and are found across much of the globe. Limes are used extensively in drinks, desserts, and a host of cuisines to include Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Mexican etc. For more on the nutritional value and uses see Limes 101, and if you just want something easy and delicious try this Healthy Key Lime Pie Smoothie Recipe.
Mangoes are native to Southern Asia, but they made their way to America around 1880. Mangoes are now one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the world with over 40 million tons grown each year. India is the world’s leading producer, but not a big exporter as their 1.4 billion people eat most of what they grow. For information on how to select, store, and cut mangoes plus a whole lot more check out Mangoes 101 And, did we mention that they make fantastic tropical smoothies? The BEST Mango Smoothie Recipe (3 Ingredients).
The Marang is also known as the Terap, and is native to Borneo. They look like a jackfruit, but are larger and covered in spines. Their pulp is quite sweet, so they are often eaten as or used in desserts. Terap’s however, have a downside. They are a smelly fruit. Their smell can be so bad that when tourists find them at local markets, hotels often do not allow them to bring them inside. We included the marang just as a fruit of interest as you won’t find it at a farmer’s or even most international markets. You can’t even find this one on Amazon.
Newton Pippin Apple
The Newton Pippin apple has been grown in America for a long time having come from England in the 18th Century. It is believed that these trees grew on the estates of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Commercial cultivation of this variety has dropped sharply since colonial days. Once grown as a popular dessert apple, the Newton Pippin today is used mostly as a cider apple.
This is another entry we include more out of historical interest than culinary possibility. The “oranges” are nothing like the citrus fruit we think of as oranges. They are a hard fruit with a dry texture that doesn’t taste very good. Squirrels eat their seeds, but attempts to feed these to livestock have generally failed. The plants, however, once had a very important purpose. They were used as hedges to keep free-range livestock out of corn fields and gardens. The roots and shoots of the plants planted close together became interwoven and formed dense thorny hedges that livestock couldn’t get through. They were of considerable use in this regard until barbed wire was invented in 1874 obviating the need for the hedges.
The papaya originated in Central America probably thousands of years ago, but today India is the world’s leading producer of this healthy and delicious fruit. There is evidence that this nutrient dense fruit aids in digestion, diabetes control, heart disease, and possibly cancer prevention. While our founder is a nutritionist, we can’t validate these claims, but hey they also just taste great.
Pears are grown and eaten around the world, and there may be as many as 3,000 varieties. It is a high fiber fruit often eaten raw, dried, candied, juiced, in wine, schnapps, etc. Check out our guide on Pear Types 101, and perhaps consider yet another way to enjoy pears in Pear Pizza with Gorgonzola and Thyme.
Pineapple is native to South America though it is often confused with being indigenous to Hawaii. Truth is, commercial pineapple cultivation on the Hawaiian Islands is falling fast as the land is largely seen as too valuable for that use and production in Asia is much cheaper. Pineapples are a versatile fruit great in juices, cocktails, desserts, and just eaten in fresh slices or from a can. If you want to know more about how to select, store, cut, and more on pineapples check out More about pineapples here! And, by all means try this Grilled Pineapple Salsa served out of the pineapple skin.
Plantains are a group of banana varieties characterized by their small size and high starch content which is generally highest before they ripen. This starch content leads to them being used mostly for cooking, generally while they are still green. Plantains are a good option for savory dishes, and are great fried, steamed, or roasted. Like any of the hundreds of banana varieties, plantains are a healthy dietary choice high in fiber and vitamins A, C, several B vitamins, and potassium.
The Soncoya is a native of Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, and Panama where it is generally eaten raw, juiced, or used in traditional medicines. The softball sized fruit is covered in spines that when cut open reveals a bright yellow pulp that is quite fibrous, full of seeds, and of indifferent taste. These traits limit cultivation.
The soursop grows in tropical areas of the Caribbean and Latin America. The flavor is said to be a combination of apple and strawberry with mildly sour flavor notes. The texture is thick and creamy, and has been compared to ripe bananas. The fruits are often used in smoothies, fruit juices, candies, sorbets, and ice cream. You may be able to find these at international markets.
This light green to yellow fruit is also known as the Carambola, and gets its primary name from its five-pointed star shape. There are two varieties of star fruit. The larger is sweeter than the smaller variety, but both can be eaten fresh as the skin is edible. You can also use star fruit in salads, bake them in pies, dice them into your curry recipes, or make preserves from them. You should be able to find this aesthetically interesting fruit in international markets, or you can order them on Amazon.
Watermelons are, as the name would suggest, about 92% water, so their name is appropriate. Scientifically they aren’t melons at all as they are classified as a type of berry called a pepo. If that doesn’t have you confused, consider that the State of Oklahoma named the watermelon their state vegetable.
Watermelons appear to have originated in Southern Africa, and we know they were cultivated in Egypt over 4,000 years ago. Their normally red pulp is famously sweet and juicy, but don’t neglect the rind. The rind is often used in Chinese cuisine and is not only perfectly edible, but great in this Strawberry Watermelon RIND Smoothie Recipe. For more ideas on how to use, select, store, and more check out Health Benefits of Watermelon (According to a Nutritionist!).
This is a unique summer squash looking like a yellow squash in the top half but a green zucchini in the bottom half. Use it like you would other yellow summer squash.
Zucchini is, in our opinion, an under appreciated fruit. At less than 5 calories per ounce, it is a low calorie food that packs a lot of fiber, and a commendable variety of vitamins and micronutrients. (And yes, because zucchini is a squash, it is also a fruit!)
The Answer is D – Cantaloupe! In 2017, two Yubari cantaloupes were sold for $27,000.
We hope you have found information on a few delicious green fruits that you can use in your cooking, kids lunch boxes, or just displaying on the table. And, as always, happy cooking!
Leave a Comment