The fruits grown on the southern islands of Okinawa are characterized by their colorfulness and eye-catching shapes.
Eat them and enjoy their sweetness and refreshing smells. They are also great when used in cooking and desserts. Enjoy them in many different ways.
Appreciate the seasonal flavors of the fruits of Okinawa.
The starfruit is a pretty fruit whose cross section has the shape of a star. Abundant in vitamin C, potassium and polyphenol, it also contains citric acid and has a unique crunchy texture. The green fruits have a sour taste making them great for salads and pickling, while the ripe yellow ones are soft, juicy and sweet with a nice citrus tang. In Okinawa, the main production area is in Haebaru, south of the main island.
Dragon fruit is a member of the cactus family native to Latin America, and contains vitamins and minerals as well as a lot of dietary fibre. It is said that the fruit was given its name because the surface of its skin resembles that of dragon scales. It has red and white pulp, with the red being sweet and juicy while the white provides a refreshing tangy flavor. It is recommended to eat this fruit as soon as possible after purchasing because it does not ripen, and a lack of wrinkles is a sign that it is fresh.
With a rich aroma and a sweetness that melts in your mouth, mango also has a slight tang, and having been grown under sun-drenched conditions, it is a fruit that represents summer in Okinawa. Not only does this fruit fill you with joy when eaten raw, but it is also popular as juice, pudding and jam.
The main production areas in Okinawa are on the main island, Miyako island and Ishigaki island. The Irwin mango, commonly known as the “apple mango”, has a reddish purple skin. The Keats mango is a larger variety with a green skin once fully ripened, and is shipped later than the Irwin mango. The mango season is from July to August, and mangos
Pineapple, which contains high levels of vitamin C, can be eaten raw and contains plenty of bromelain which helps to break down proteins, making this a great ingredient for meat dishes. It is also rich in fibre and contains high levels of citric acid to aid recovery from fatigue. Although it is sweet, it is surprisingly low in calories and is recommended for those who care about beauty and health.
Pineapples are mostly grown in the northern area of the prefecture where soil is well-drained and acidic, including the Yaeyama area such as Ishigaki island, and Higashimura, which boasts the largest production volume in Japan. Most of the domestic pineapples sold in Japan are from Okinawa Prefecture.
Once harvested, the fruit does not ripen and so Okinawa’s pineapples are harvested and shipped after they have already ripened on the trees. This gives them a full-bodied fragrance and taste that is refreshingly sweet and sour.
Shekwasha is a traditional Okinawan citrus fruit. In Okinawan dialect, “shii” means “acid” and “kwasha” means “to be eaten”. Containing plenty of vitamins and carotene, it is also rich in nobiletin. Usually harvested before it turns ripe, its slightly tangy flavor goes perfectly will fish. The ripe ones are yellow and sweet, and can be eaten as they are but are also popular for making juice and confectionary. Ogimi and Nago are some of the places where shekwasha is produced.
The Barbados cherry, or acerola, is primarily grown in Motobu and the northern part of Okinawa’s main island, and this small red fruit is said to contain more than 30 times the amount of vitamin C than a lemon. However it is difficult to grow and there are often bad harvests, so it is difficult to find on the marketplace and more commonly sold in juices or jams. Recently, new products such as tea and pickled cherries have been created.
Passionfruit has a sweet yet sour taste and a refreshing aroma, typical of southern Japan. All varieties can be eaten and inside the fruit is a yellow jelly-like centre filled with seeds and fruit juice. Poplar in jams, jellies and juices, it can also be eaten raw.
The main production areas in the prefecture include the southern part of the main island, Onna village and Ishigaki island. This is a fruit recommended for those who care about beauty and health, With a sweet taste but low calorie count as well as being rich in vitamins and minerals.
This fruit loses its acidity as it matures and is ready to eat when wrinkles appear on its skin. You can also enjoy a sherbet-like texture if put into the fridge.
Tankan, a natural cross breed of Ponkan and Navel Orange, has the highest sugar content amongst all citrus fruits and is filled with juice. In Okinawa, it is an important fruit for decorating the dining table in winter and New Year. It is said that sweetness increases as the temperature difference increases, and it is cultivated in the northern part of the main island. It has gained popularity in recent years as a gift for outside the prefecture.