From Monkey Oranges to Tsamma Melon little-known fruits can provide nutritious food to help alleviate hunger and poverty.
Rolf W. Hapke/Chromorange/picture-alliance/Newscom/File
No single fruit can put an end to hunger. But worldwide there are many different fruits and vegetables that are helping to improve nutrition and diets, while increasing incomes and improving livelihoods.
Today, Nourishing the Planet features five fruits that you have likely never heard of that are helping to alleviate hunger and poverty.
1. Monkey Oranges: Similar in shape and size to apple, pear, and orange trees, Monkey Oranges are a highly coveted African wild fruit tree, and farmers will often leave them standing when clearing land for cultivation of field crops.
Best Way to Eat It: It is traditionally eaten raw, or made into jam, juice, or fruit wine. The grapefruit-sized fruit tends to be yellow, orange, or brown, and emits a sweet scent with a touch of clove. They are known for their delicious sweet and sour flavor and are rich in vitamin C and in B vitamins.
Monkey Oranges in Action: Monkey oranges are an important indigenous African resource that support farmers in times of crop failure, providing a supplemental food in rural areas. By adding them to crop fields, gardens, parks, fence lines, and street sides they can boost food security and nutrition. They are a source of shade and erosion protection, and the wood is commonly used for firewood, tool handles, and building poles.
2. Ackee: The ackee tree (Blighia sapida) is indigenous to the tropical forests of West Africa. Although it is not popularly eaten there, it is cultivated in the region for several nonfood uses: Immature fruits are used to make soap; the wood from the tree is termite resistant and used for building; extracts from the poisonous seeds are taken to treat parasites and are sometimes used as a fish poison; topical ointment made from crushed ackee leaves is applied to the skin to treat headaches and ulcers. And the Ackee leaves are also good as a fodder for goats.
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