Top Five Local Tropical Fruits in Season Now

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Robert Moehling, owner of Robert Is Here, the timeless fruit stand and farm in Homestead, knows all about the variety of local Florida produce. He's been a grower for more than 50 years. Because it can be tricky to get to know the selection, Robert is here to list the top five local tropical fruits in season now and year-round.

Although Robert prefers to eat his fruit straight up, those trips to farmers' markets usually stir up a lot of culinary inspiration. You might find yourself obsessing over how to incorporate these fruits into your meals. So if you're feeling creative, try these suggestions the next time you're faced with tropical bounty.

1. Passionfruit
Available until around December, passionfruit is small and packed with bright, citrusy flavor. You can tell the fruit is ripe when it's wrinkled. To eat it, simply slice it in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and shovel them into your maw. Don't freak out about the black seeds -- they're edible and delicious.

The pulp and seeds are tasty atop vanilla ice cream, panna cotta, flan, and cheesecake. The citrus flavor brightens up creamy desserts, and the seeds add an interesting texture.

2. Red Lady Papaya
Ppapaya is available year-round, and the Red Lady variety at Robert Is Here is grown right in the back of the market. The fruit is ripe when the skin and flesh give under gentle pressure. To slice it, bust out a large sharp knife and cut the entire papaya in half. Scoop out the small black seeds and peel off the skin; then enjoy the flesh.

Papaya can be great in a milkshake. Blend pieces of the fruit with very cold milk and a couple of tablespoons of honey.

3. Apple Banana
They might look too cute to eat, but these teeny bananas are packed with a much richer flavor than the larger, traditional variety. Apple bananas are available year-round, and they are ripe when they are soft, yellow, and have slight brown spots.

Apple bananas don't discolor as quickly as an average banana, so they are particularly good in fruit salad. Dice them and add to diced papaya and pineapple in a bowl. Dress with a squirt of lime juice, drizzle on some honey, and top with shredded coconut. That's the proper way to make a fruit salad.

4. Mamey Sapote
Mamey sapote is available until October. The fruit is ripe when the skin is loose and wrinkled and the flesh is extremely soft. There's a big black seed in the middle, so slice it like you would an avocado. Mamey sapote tastes like very sweet pumpkin.

To prepare mamey sapote creatively, bust out that dusty ice-cream maker you got as a gift years ago. Experiment by adding cinnamon and maple syrup to a mamey sapote ice-cream base.

5. Asian Guava
This variety of guava has white flesh and is available year-round at Robert Is Here. It's easy to eat because you can consume the fruit with seeds, skin, and all. You can also enjoy it either hard or soft. Asian guava is simple and no-fuss, just like Robert likes it.

A slightly ripe Asian guava can be made into a tropical, savory salad. Thinly slice the guava into strips and mix with slices of red onion and mango. Add a few squirts of lime juice and some chopped cilantro, and use the salad to top tacos or even as a fresh side dish.

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