Two types of fruit to look out for in August at farmers markets, Chinatown markets and supermarkets: mangosteens and dragon fruit, both grown mostly on Big Island farms.
Mangosteens have nothing to do with mangoes but everything to do with delicious eating. It’s a tropical Asian fruit with soft, juicy, cream-colored segments beneath its hard purple-brown skin. The flesh is sweet-tart, kind of grapelike but creamy, unique and refreshing. If you see a mangosteen, try one and you’ll no doubt become addicted.
In the past several years, dragon fruit have become prolific in the islands, another Southeast Asian fruit that farmers have cultivated. A relative of the cactuslike night-blooming cereus, dragon fruit have to be hand-pollinated at night to produce fruit. And what a striking fruit it is: a brilliant magenta skin surrounding white or bright pink flesh with black seeds.
Choose dragon fruit with bright colored skin; the fruit should give a little to the touch when ready to eat.
This fruit is a good source of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. The sweet soft flesh is refreshing on a hot summer day; blend it in concoctions such as daiquiris or margaritas.
Hawaii food writer Joan Namkoong offers a weekly tidbit on fresh seasonal products, many of them locally grown. Look for "Fresh Tips" every Wednesday in the Star-Advertiser.