Besides being a country that inhabits a diverse civilization; the United States of America also carries out diverse cultivation and processing of a wide variety of fruits. Fruits that are unique to America have gradually permeated the global fruit market thereby validating the advanced agricultural biodiversity that has developed across the US. A wide variety of fruits are cultivated in different parts of America; during different seasons.
Cranberry is a significant commercial crop of America; with Wisconsin as its leading producer. The second-largest producer is Massachusetts and it also forms a major crop of Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Maine, and Washington. They are predominantly grown and found in the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere. The plant is a low shrub with slender stems; with small evergreen leaves. The berry (fruit) is larger than the plant leaves and develops a deep red color in its fully ripe phase. The fruit is a tad acidic sweet and possesses many antioxidant qualities. It is popularly known as the “superfruit” of America due to its rich nutrient content. While cranberries are sold in their fresh forms to consumers; mostly cranberries are processed into sauces, juices as well as dried cranberries (sweetened). In fact, Cranberry sauce forms a significant culinary item during the American Thanksgiving as well as various European festivals. Cranberries are usually harvested during the months of September and October. The fruit is also favored due to its health benefits.
This fruit is also termed as the Devil’s apple, Hogapple, Indian apple, Wild lemon, or the American Mandrake. While the flower of this crop appears in May; the fruit only appears during summer and the Mayapple plant is perennial. It is usually found in the woodlands in Canada as well as East of Oklahoma. The plant stems are approx 30-40 cm tall and the rhizome of this plant is supposed to have various medicinal properties. It is important to note here that the Mayapple plant, except for the fruit; is toxic in nature and if consumed can kill a human within 24 hours. The fruit, in some cases, may cause diarrhea. The plant is therefore rated as “unsafe” by the FDA.
The American Persimmon tree is native to the Eastern region of the United States and the fruits typically appear when the tree is about 6 years old. The American Persimmon fruit is orange to black in color and is round or oval. The fruit size may vary between 2 – 6 centimeters. They are commonly referred to as “Simmons” and forms an essential part of American desserts or cuisines. Its commercial varieties include Early Golden, John Rick, Woolbright, and Miller, and the Ennis. The fruit is juicy and sweet in its ripened phase. The fruit ripens during late autumn and is a rich source of vitamin C.
The Blueberry plant is native only to the North American region and its leaves are either evergreen or deciduous and bell-shaped. The berry fruit develops a dark purple color when fully ripened with a sweet and acidic taste. The fruiting takes place between the months of May and October, with July being the peak fruiting season. For this reason, July is referred to as the “National Blueberry Month” in the US and Canada. The Blueberry fruit has been categorized as a “superfruit” as it is rich in nutrient content and also happens to be a rich source of antioxidants and has various health benefits. It is also used in the manufacture of various consumer products.
The Beach Plum (plum species) is native to the Atlantic coast of the North American region, from New Brunswick south to Maryland. This shrub grows naturally in its sand dune habitat. The blooming takes place during mid-May and June and the ripening of fruit takes place in August and early September. A well-drained soil and sun is preferred by this plant and it well tolerates the salt. In its sand dune habitat; the plant gets partially buried in the sand. The plant is commercially cultivated primarily for its fruit, which is used to make jams. Plum Island in Massachusetts gets its name from the Beach Plum Fruit.
The Pawpaw plant is native to the Eastern region of North America. Locally; the fruit has assumed various common names such as the Prairie Banana, Indiana Banana, Kentucky Banana, Ozark Banana, and Michigan Banana. The Pawpaw fruit is among the largest fruits of North America. The fruit is approx 5 to 16 cm long and resembles a large berry with numerous seeds. Upon ripening it develops a yellow or brown color. It happens to be a rich source of protein and Southeast Ohio happens to be the largest grower and harvester of the Pawpaw fruit.