Fancy a jelly nut or a prickly pear?
Or how about one of those long green veggies that look just like the snozzcumbers children’s writer Roald Dahl’s BFG was so terribly fond of?
Adventurous shoppers in Ecclesfield are expanding their tastebuds with all of these and many more strange-looking fruit and veg from around the globe.
And they don’t have to go any further than their local Morrisons to find them.
The supermarket was converted into a Store of the Future by the 440-strong Morrisons chain just before Christmas.
Tomorrow Sheffield’s Halfway store reopens after its own rapid, one-day Store Of The Future makeover and store managers are hoping locals will be as keen to experiment with new ingredients as shoppers in Ecclesfield have been.
As at Ecclesfield, the fruit and veg section will boast over 450 different types of fresh fruit and vegetables, many appearing from shrouds of fog created by high-tech misting technology and ice beds that ensure maximum freshness.
Purple skinned sweet potato, mooli, a giant radish found in Asia, eddoes, a tropical vegetable commonly found in China and Japan and tamarillo, Peru’s native fruit, will have even the most adventurous cooks scratching their heads.
Staff have had to go through intensive training so they can recognise the most unusual products and advise customers on cooking tips.
The range of mushrooms alone runs to at least ten different varieties, King Oyster, Enoki, Horse mushroom, Golden Enoki, Buna Shimeji, Shiro Shimeji and Shiitake sitting alongside traditional British field and button mushrooms.
And if it’s chilli you’re after, you’re similarly spoilt for choice; Scotch bonnet, Thai chilli, jalapeno and finger chillis all feature.
The market concept also sees cured meats hanging Continental-style above the deli counter, 150 cuts of meat at the butchery counter plus an ‘unrivalled’ selection of cheeses from the UK and around the world. Over 40 varieties of bread will be baked from scratch every day.
James Stacey, produce manager at Ecclesfield, comments: “We’ve had brilliant feedback from customers about the range of produce. Customers have been very inquisitive about them and ask staff for tips and hints of how to cook or prepare the most unusual fruit and vegetables. Yellow courgettes, eddoes, Swiss chard and water chestnuts have been particularly popular. We reckon Halfway customers will be just as adventurous.”
Top Tips: Jelly nuts come from Costa Rica. They are young coconuts; open the fruit to find refreshing juice and white, jelly-like flesh. Eat as a snack, use in fruit salad or a smoothie.
Prickly pears hail from Italy and have a similar texture to watermelon, but with a stronger flavour. Use in salads or to make jams or jellies.
Pepino melons come from Ecuador and have an aromatic, slightly sweet flavour, some way between a honeydew melon and a cucumber, that intensifies as it ripens.
You eat them skin and all and they are good in salads or with yoghurt and also as a starter wrapped in Prosciutto ham.