What is Egg Fruit (Canistel) and How to Eat It?

The unique flavor and appearance of egg fruit makes it a fun ingredient to bring into your cooking. This guide makes it easy to learn everything about what egg fruit is and how to eat it.

How to eat egg fruit (canistel)

There are so many amazing varieties of fruit available out there in the world, and yet so often, we eat the same ones each season. It’s been a recent passion of mine to discover the flavors and uses for the many tropical fruits that exist like dragon fruit, star fruit, and papaya, just to name a few.

This guide is dedicated to another unique, but delicious fruit that I hope to encourage many of my fellow home cooks to explore: egg fruit. I’ve shared everything I’ve learned about where it comes from and how it tastes, plus tons of tips on choosing good ones and what to do with it when you’ve found them.

What is Egg Fruit?

Egg fruit, also known as canistel fruit, grows on trees native to Mexico and South America. In those regions it’s common to see it growing in backyards and on the street, but it’s now cultivated and grown all over the world, including throughout much of Asia.

They’re round with a tapered, pointed end, and can vary in size. The thin skin is delicate and requires hand-picking to avoid damage. They change from green to yellow-orange when ripe, sometimes with brown spots.

Fresh ripe egg fruits

Egg Fruit Taste

The unique appearance of canistel fruit continues with the entirely unique flavor of the orange flesh inside.

The texture has been described as similar to the yolk of a hard-boiled egg, hence the name egg fruit. But thankfully it doesn’t taste like that!

It’s very sweet, rich, and dry, almost like a baked sweet potato, but with tropical notes of papaya or mango.

Health Benefits

As with most fresh fruit, eating it comes with health benefits too. Much like other orange fruits and vegetables, they’re high in beta-carotene, which is known to be good for your immune system and vision.

They’re also low calorie, low fat, but contain good amounts of niacin, vitamins B and C, calcium and other minerals.

What is canistel fruit

Where and When to Buy it

As one of the more unique, lesser known tropical fruits, the best place to find it will be specialty markets, especially Asian or Latin American ones.

If you live in a tropical region, you may even have luck at local markets during the fall and winter when they’re in season.

For anyone really wanting to try it, but having no luck, you can even order them online nowadays.

How to Pick the Perfect Fruit

There are three easy ways to tell if an egg fruit is ready for eating. The color, aroma, and texture all change when they’re ripe.

The skin should be a golden orange color. Don’t be put off my brown marks, those are normal, but big, brown, mushy spots are best avoided.

Ripe egg fruit cut in half

A sweet, squash-like aroma is also a good way to know they’re nice and ripe, as is the texture when gently squeezed. They should be soft, like a peach or an avocado.

If all you can find are firm, green ones, don’t worry. They ripen well on the counter at home so go ahead and grab a few. But be sure to let them ripen fully before eating. The unripe fruit is often bitter and hard.

How to Eat Egg Fruit

Once ripe, feel free to eat it raw and fresh. The skin peels away easily, and the inside should be soft and crumbly, very similar to an egg yolk.

There will be a few seeds on the inside as well. They’re not edible, but are large and easy to remove. Some contain a single one, while others may have a group of up to five.

It’s commonly eaten with a sprinkle of salt and citrus juice, or even in some cultures with salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. Raw fruit can be spread onto warm toast or blended into creamy drinks like smoothies or milkshakes. One popular preparation is to blend them with non-dairy milk and spices to make a vegan ‘egg-nog’.

What is egg fruit (aka canistel)

They’re popular in baked goods and desserts like custards, sauces, puddings, cakes, and other pastries too. They happen to pair really well with many baking spices and flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, toasted nuts, and maple syrup. In some recipes, the sweetness of the fruit can even replace sugar.

In savory recipes, they’re great in creamy soups or as a thickener to spiced curries. You could use them as a wonderful replacement for winter squash or sweet potato as well.

No matter how you decide to consume them, you’ll discover that the unique egg fruit is a fun addition to your diet and cooking. I hope this guide has answered your questions about what egg fruit is, and given you tons of inspiration and motivation to go out there and discover how you like to eat it.

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