The Durian according to legend...In the early 15th Century, famed navigator Zheng He, of the Ming Dynasty, set out from China with a crew of sailors, on a mission to explore Southeast Asia. Homesick and restless, the sailors were an unmotivated group, and Zheng He was eagerly searching for some spark to keep the journey going.
One day, while exploring on land, Zheng He came upon a pile of spiky, egg-shaped fruit laying under several towering trees. The captain quickly ordered some of his crew to gather the fruits and sample them for edibility. After just one taste, the crew was hooked. The fruit was said to be indescribably delicious, and everyone on the boat indulged. The crew`s spirits were lifted and they began to forget about returning home altogether. Instead, they longed to stay close to the trees bearing the tasty fruits.
Asked to name the new discovery, Zheng He gave it the title Durian. This word is pronounced "liu lian" in Mandarin the exact sound as the Mandarin word meaning "desire to stay in a particular place" or "reluctance to leave."
To this day, the Durian is widely admired for its heavenly flavor and its plethora of medicinal properties. In fact, in its native lands, the Durian is known as the reigning King of Fruits.
The benefits of Zheng He`s discovery have been observed over the last 600 years. Traditional Chinese medicine incorporates the eating of the Durian fruit to hasten a women`s recovery after pregnancy and to strengthen and improve the health of vital organs. The fruit is also said to replenish the vital breath known as qi and to improve the positive energy yang in one`s body. That yang is matched by none other than the reigning Queen of Fruits the Mangosteen completing the legendary pairing.
The Mangosteen, according to legend...It has been said that on a royal appointment in Asia, Queen Victoria, of England, sampled the Mangosteen fruit for the first time. Upon returning to her homeland, the memory of that encounter lasted in the mind of Her Majesty, and she craved another taste of the delectable fruit. Though she ordered her subjects to retrieve more, all of their efforts came up short and no Mangosteens arrived to her throne unspoiled.
Known for her relentlessness, Queen Victoria put a bounty on the Mangosteen: anyone who could deliver fresh Mangosteen would be rewarded with 100 pounds a handsome sum, for the era. Despite the best efforts of multiple British subjects, no one succeeded. Try as she might, the Queen increased the reward: anyone delivering fresh Mangosteen would be knighted by the Queen herself.
Still her wish was unfulfilled. Yet it is with that quest in mind that the Western World was introduced to the Mangosteen, which earned the title as the Queen of Fruits after Victoria`s regal efforts.
In its native lands, the Mangosteen has earned that moniker because of its remarkable ability to reduce heat in one`s body and, therefore, offer medicinal benefits. In fact, Chinese medicine considers the Mangosteen beneficial for a sore throat, sore eyes and restoring the health of anyone suffering from an illness or lack of nutrition. Its protein and fat are also known to be extremely nourishing to the body.
The Mangosteen`s cooling property acts as the yin counteracting the yang of the warming Durian so that the two perfectly match and enhance each other. Incomplete on their own, the combination of the Durian and the Mangosteen creates the ultimate "marriage" of the King and Queen of Fruit. This perfect pairing of two of the world`s most renowned fruits, alongside two of the world`s celebrated super fruits, the Acai Berry and the Blueberry, delivers the optimum flavorful and nutritional balance.
The AçaíThe fruit, a small, round, black-purple drupe about 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter, similar in appearance and size to a grape but with less pulp, is produced in branched panicles of 500 to 900 fruits.
Two crops of fruit are produced each year. The fruit has a single large seed about 0.25–0.40 inches (7–10 mm) in diameter. The exocarp of the ripe fruits is a deep purple color, or green, depending on the kind of açaí and its maturity. The mesocarp is pulpy and thin, with a consistent thickness of 1 mm or less. It surrounds the voluminous and hard endocarp, which contains a seed with a diminutive embryo and abundant endosperm. The seed makes up about 80% of the fruit (Schauss, 2006c).
The berries are harvested as food. In a study of three traditional Caboclo populations in the Amazon region of Brazil, açaí palm was described as the most important plant species because the fruit makes up such a major component of diet (up to 42% of the total food intake by weight) and is economically valuable in the region.
The BlueberryBlueberries, also known as bilberries, whortleberries and hurtleberries, are named for their velvety, deep-blue color, of course. These luscious berries are one of the few fruits native to North America.
Native Americans used the berries, leaves, and roots for medicinal purposes. The fruit was used as a fabric dye and combined with meat into a nutritious dried jerky.
The shrub is of the genus Vaccinium, from the Latin vacca for cow since cows love them, a fact first noted by Captain James Cook in the late 1700s.
Blueberries are often confused with huckleberries, which are of the Gaylussacia genus.
Blueberries used to be picked by hand until the invention of the blueberry rake by Abijah Tabbutt of Maine in 1822, so it’s no wonder that Maine’s state berry is the blueberry.
The most popular variety of blueberry is Vaccinium corymbosum, known as the “highbush” blueberry. The wild “lowbush” varieties are a favorite of those who like to pick their own in the wild.