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Aug 22, 2007 08:38 PM

Mystery fruit, can you help me identify?

My daughter has asked me for the name in English of a fruit that she first tasted in the Middle East (in Palestine, where it is apparently common) so she can find it in markets here (well actually, in LA, where she lives)...but she has me stumped based on her descriptions. She and I haven't been able to find it on the internet, but then, all I have to go on is her description. I have the bad feeling that the answer is obvious, and is just alluding me, but maybe not...

Anyway: here are the hints, keeping in mind that daughter's powers of description are not, well, the world's most sophisticated:

1. Grows on a tree (as opposed to a shrub or bush or vine). Common in Israel and Palestine.
2. has more than one pit inside each piece. Pits are similar in shape to an apricot pit, but perhaps smaller, but she doesn't think it is a stone fruit...(ok, this one really has me scratching my head). This makes me think of a fig, but she definitely says they are pits, not seeds...still, possible that they are big seeds, since I can't think of any fruit with more than one pit (?)
3. the fruit is orange-yellow, and about the size of a large pear or just a bit bigger than that. A bit of an oblong shape.
4. delicious taste.
5. Name in Arabic probably begins with a sound that is the equivalent of 'Iss'
6. She hasn't seen it in LA grocery stores, but believes that it may grow wild on trees in SoCal in a few places. (on street, trees or in private gardens, not necessarily in a commercial grove). that said, she had never tasted this fruit until she visited Israel about two years ago.

I admit to being stumped. Only thing I could think of was kumquats, (though I can't remember what type of seeds they have, as I am not that fond of kumquats) but she says those are too small, and besides she has loved kumquats since childhood so would know the name...

Any ideas would really keep me from going crazy trying to figure it out. A photo would be great! Even guesses would help so I could google it. Thanks!

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  1. Some type of mango maybe?

    1. sounds like an esrog. look in wikipedia for a great definition. grows heavily in the mideast and fits that description.

      3 Replies
      1. re: kashavarniske

        But esrog are more greenish than orange, right?

        1. re: kashavarniske

          we may have a winner! (and yes, looks more yellow than orange to me, but like I say, her powers of description aren't the best...). and the Arabic name is basically a cognate of the Hebrew so esrog or etrog sounds right...anyway, I am going to forward the link to her and will report back! Thanks!

          1. re: susancinsf

            Could probably rule the esrog in or out rather quickly by asking whether she observed thorns when she was picking them from the tree? I read that this fruit comes from a thorny plant.

            1. re: kobetobiko

              hmm...dont think the trees are big/tall enough...She has described 'reaching up to pick the fruit right off the tree' and she is fairly tall...

              no, I take that back. Just re-read it and 3 to 4 meters is tall enough. I misread it the first time. Will forward that link along too, thanks!

            2. They do sound like loquats,, good call, even if it's not right!