Fruits and vegetables certainly don't come to mind when calling to mind new products that have hit the grocery store shelves recently. But if you think innovation is lacking in the produce department, you're wrong. Over the last decade, we've seen a rise in interesting, colorful, and exotic new varieties, whether through their introduction to the United States market for the first time, or their sudden rise in popularity.
From the funky staples we're used to seeing in a different color, like purple tomatoes, to the distant cousin of the tomatillo that hails from South America, here are the most interesting new varieties that may soon become commonplace at your grocery store.
Ever seen white strawberries? According to Southern Living, the fruit has been around since 2012 and was developed by a Japanese farmer. White strawberries are unique for their pure pale coloring and are said to be much sweeter than the regular red strawberries you're used to (the fruit is even being compared to the flavor of a pineapple). You can snag this variety at grocery store giants like Aldi, Walmart, or Publix when they're in season.
You may not have seen purple tomatoes yet, and that's because they are expected to hit grocery stores later this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved genetically-modified purple tomatoes and seeds for consumption just last fall. Apparently, the fruit was created in 2008 and carries some unique health benefits due to its abundance of antioxidants.
"Purple pepper"—say that three times fast! The dragonfly pepper is purple on the outside and bright green on the inside, and makes for a beautiful addition to any plate. The vegetable is said to have a robust and sweet flavor and a long shelf life (but that doesn't mean you should forget about it in the fridge!). If you are looking for a new vegetable to try out in the spring or summer, the dragonfly pepper will be available mainly at Walmart and Target.
Jackfruit has become a popular vegan trend in the United States. According to NPR, this food comes from India and is said to be the largest tree fruit in the world. You can order a fresh jackfruit via Instacart or Amazon. It's also available in the produce aisles at many grocery stores. Due to the fact that jackfruit often replaces meat, you can use it in sandwiches, tacos, and more.
So dragon fruit isn't exactly an unheard of food, but it wasn't widely available in North America until 2008. The USDA signed a trade agreement with Vietnam to import the fruit to wholesalers with its origin being Central and South America. Dragon fruit is grown commercially in warmer states such as California, Florida, and Hawaii. The fruit is available frozen, dried, or organic in most stores, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Safeway, and Publix.
Golden berries have been around for quite some time but are relatively new to the United States. These nightshades, native to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, come from the same family as the tomatillo and are considered a superfood thanks to their nutrient density, particularly in the vitamin C and vitamin A departments. And you can tell by their tart taste, which some describe as a combination of clementines and cranberries.
The fruit became popular stateside several years ago and has since become available at Trader Joe's and online.