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Five fruits you've never heard of that are helping to end hunger

From Monkey Oranges to Tsamma Melon little-known fruits can provide nutritious food to help alleviate hunger and poverty.

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4. Tsamma Melon: The Tsamma Melon grows wild in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Like cacti in the deserts of North America, Tsamma melons can store large amounts of water. Tsamma melons include several varieties that range in flavor and texture.

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Best Way to Eat It: Sweet varieties are eaten raw like watermelons, while the more bitter, tougher varieties are cooked over coals to soften the flesh. Traditionally, they have also been used as a standby source of water in times of drought.

Tsamma Melon in Action: Native to the desert, Tsammas are very drought-resistant, a trait many domesticated watermelons now lack. This genetic material, largely lost in commercial varieties, is being used in breeding new varieties of watermelon that could help to benefit both farmers and the environment.

5. Safou: Native to the humid, tropical forests of West and Central Africa, safou (Dacryodes edulis) is also known as the “butterfruit” for its rich, oily pulp. People in West and Central Africa have been eating safou for centuries as a fresh fruit between meals and cooked as a main course.

Best Way To Eat It: When roasted or quickly boiled in salted water, the pulp separates from the skin and seed and takes on a buttery texture. In Nigeria, cooked pulp is combined with starchy foods like maize to make a main course.

Safou in Action: The World Agroforestry Center promotes safou as a key tree species in agroforestry systems that can be intercropped with food crops to provide shade and biomass while also producing edible fruit. And the UK-based International Centre for Underutilised Crops has been searching for varieties that combine high-quality taste, nutrition, and disease-resistance.

To read more about how fruits you’ve never heard of are helping to end hunger, see: Safou: The Butterfruit, Monkey Oranges: Mouthwatering Potential, Tsamma Melons: Watermelon’s Wild Cousins, Ackee: The West African Expatriate, and Wild Ethiopian Coffee: Harvesting the Perks of an Indigenous Crop.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

This article originally appeared on Nourishing the Planet, a blog published by the Worldwatch Institute.

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