Abundant in the southern hemisphere, exotic fruits were once a rarity throughout the rest of the world, and were much more expensive than you could ever imagine. For example pineapples were brought by Christopher Columbus from the Caribbean at the end of the 15th century, and in the 18th century, a pineapple’s value was the equivalent of $8,000 today. They were a symbol of wealth and only the rich could afford to place one on their tables.
If you thought your supermarket offered a generous choice of exotic fruits, think again. I bet you’ve never even heard of half of the fruits on our list. Mother Nature had a blast creating these bizarre fruits, but in some cases, man interfered as well. Perfectly shaped flawless fruits are highly prized, especially in Japan, where they are often offered as gifts. However, this endless search for perfection has already become an obsession, and luxury markets are beginning to spread throughout the planet, selling some of the weirdest fruits whose rarity and exquisite taste come with a matching price tag.
10. Senbikiya Queen Strawberries: $83 for 12 Strawberries
A luxury fruit parlor in Tokyo sells this box of 12 perfectly matched Senbikiya Queen Strawberries for $83. Evenly colored and blemish free, they are so perfect that they seem unreal. However, don’t let yourself be fooled, as they are probably the sweetest tasting strawberries you’ve ever tried. Harvested in perfectly weathered greenhouses, these are sold for $7 per strawberry, and 12 of these weigh less than half a pound. Senbikiya, the most expensive fruit shop in the world, can easily be compared to a jewelry shop, and everything comes with a matching price tag. Nevertheless, they still sell an average 50 boxes of strawberries a day.
9. Senbikiya Cherries: $160 Per Pound
When the Japanese offer fruits as gifts, they do not go about shopping for them at the grocery store around the corner. There are high-end fruit markets that specialize in these types of fruits, often sold for as much as a piece of jewelry. These luxurious parlors do their best to deliver only the choicest fruits, with the richest taste and fragrance, perfect shape, and absolutely no blemishes. Senbikiya in Tokyo is the most expensive fruit shop in the world, selling these equally sized and evenly colored cherries for $160 per box. That is $4 per cherry. The prices are motivated by the laborious process of growing the cherries, closely monitored in weathered greenhouses.
8. Cupuacu: $250 Per Pound
Native to South America, cupuacu is not your average exotic fruit, as it looks more like a vegetable or a root rather than a highly-prized fruit. Resembling a large cocoa bean, almost the size of fully-matured melon, cupuacu grows throughout the Amazon. Its extremely hard exocarp is usually sawed open to reveal a chocolatey pineapple flavored flesh. Its sweet and tangy pulp can be used in desserts, smoothies, and shakes. Appreciated for its numerous health benefits, while it is quite common in South America, it is almost impossible to find for sale in markets anywhere else in the world. The only solution is buying it on the Internet.
7. Monstera Deliciosa: $50 Per Fruit
Also known as the fruit salad plant, Monstera Deliciosa grows in the tropical forests in Central America, and is native to southern Mexico and Guatemala, where it is called Ceriman. An extremely rare and bizarre exotic fruit, it takes a whole year for it to reach maturity. If consumed unripened, the fruit is toxic. The oddly-shaped long and green fruit has a distinctive fragrance and taste, a delicious and interesting combination of banana and pineapple with fruit salad, hence its name. A member of the lily family, Monstera Deliciosa is actually a common decorative plant, but it does not bear fruit unless it grows in the wild, which makes it rare and quite expensive. For this small four inch plant, the price tag comes in at $50.
6. Durian: $200 Per Fruit
Native to Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia, durians are also known as the King of Fruits, which is rather ironic considering its quite repugnant odor. Covered by a hard husk resembling a puffer fish or porcupine, its bad smell is often associated with sewage, skunk spray, or gas, which is why carrying durian is forbidden in public transportation and hotels in Southeast Asia. However, it does come with an absolutely divine taste that makes the bad smell worth it. It is the ultimate fruit of the gods in disguise. So cover your nose and have a bite of its sweet and nutty flesh, similar to pineapple and buttermilk, but which everyone agrees is unlike anything else in the world, all for $200 per fruit.
5. Square Watermelon, $800 Per Fruit
What is it with the Japanese and their obsession for perfection? Square fruits are gaining more and more popularity throughout Japan and the entire world as well. These Japanese-grown square watermelons are sold for around $200 in prestigious fruit markets, such as Senbikiya in Tokyo, which also sells large heart-shaped watermelons for around $300 each. However, wealthy Russians are buying these strange square-shaped watermelons for $800 each from high-end Moscow supermarkets. They’re not even intended for consumption, they are bought just for fun, as the watermelons are harvested and exported to Russia before ripening. The idea belongs to a forward-thinking Japanese farmer who decided to grow square-shaped watermelons that could be packed and shipped easier. They are grown exclusively in the Kagawa Prefecture.
4. Japanese Densuke Watermelon: $6,300 Per Fruit
A 100% Japanese creation, Densuke watermelons are harvested in only one place on the planet, in the Hokkaidu region in northern Japan. Awarded for its intense black color, with the interesting texture of a bowling ball, as well as delicious taste, it is an extremely rare fruit. Only 1,000 Densuke watermelons are available for sale each year, each weighing around 25 pounds, with no stripes or spots. One Densuke matermelon is usually found for $250-$400, but rare and flawless specimens like this particular Densuke watermelon, adulated for its perfection, are sold for around $4,000. In 2008, one of the first harvested watermelons was sold for $6,300.
3. Japanese Ruby Roman Grapes: $6,400 Per Bunch
Cultivated only in one place on the entire planet, in the Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan, these red colored grapes are the most expensive variety in the world. Each Ruby Roman grape weighs 20 grams, has an intense cherry color, and a sugar content of about 18%. These grapes are abnormally big, as each grape is close in size to a table tennis ball. The first Ruby Roman grapes were sold in 2008 for $910 per bunch weighing 700 grams. Nowadays, you can find them for around $100 a bunch in the Senbikiya fruit market in Tokyo. However, premium class Ruby Roman grapes must have at least 30 grams each and the bunch must weigh at least 700 grams. This makes them extremely rare, as only six bunches qualified in 2010 and only one in 2011, which sold for $6,400 in a wholesale market in Kanazawa. That’s a whopping $225 per grape.
2. British Pineapple: $16,500 Per Fruit
Pineapples are the symbol of endless summers and exotic flora, but a special variety has been harvested in England since the 19th century. These pineapples are grown in small greenhouses heated using a chemical reaction at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a botanical garden in Cornwall. The reaction is the result of 30 tons of horse manure, urine, and piles of straw interacting. As we speak, eight of these rare pineapples are already growing. They cost $2,000 each just to grow. Although, one pineapple in particular caught attention, as it already reached maturity and has been evaluated at $16,500 thanks to its rarity and production values, as these fruits usually grow in much hotter areas on the Globe. This pineapple was nurtured for over two whole years using traditional Victorian gardening techniques.
1. Yubari King Melon: $26,000 Per Pair
Another perfect variety of Japanese watermelons, the yellow Yubari is highly appreciated for its taste. A combination of two watermelon varieties, with a juicy orange kernel, it is often sold in pairs and offered as a gift. One Yubari watermelon can be found for around $150-200 in high-end fruit parlors. The entire process is so costly and time consuming, that $150 for a melon is actually considered a bargain. These cantaloups are grown in carefully weathered greenhouses, and each watermelon is given a hat to protect it from sun burn. Each plant only grows one fruit which receives all of the plant’s nutrients and sweetness, and all imperfect melons are pruned before reaching maturity. A pair of perfectly shaped specimens has recently been sold for $26,000. With perfect proportions, this pair of Yubari King melons goes straight to number one on our list as the most luxurious and expensive fruit on the planet.
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