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Noni is about the size of an average russet potato with a lumpy texture. The skin of the Noni fruit is semi-transparent and can range in color between pale yellow and lime green. The flesh is off-white, semi gelatinous and houses many dark brown seeds around its center. The Noni fruit has a distinct and fowl smell, often compared to vomit with a bitter, sharp flavor.
Noni fruit is available year-round with gaping in the winter months.
Noni fruit, botanically known as Morinda citrifolia, grows on a small tropical evergreen tree in the Rubiaceae plant family. There are 80 types of Morinda that exist throughout its tropical growing regions with 3 varieties, including Morinda citrifolia var. citrifolia, being the most common. Due to its potent and unpleasant odor the Noni fruit is commonly referred to as "cheese fruit" or "vomit fruit".
Noni fruit contains natural enzymes and immune boosting anthraguinones and polysaccharides. Noni fruit boasts proxeronine, which aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, as well as vitamins A and C. Noni fruit is available for medicinal use in fresh, powdered, juice, tea and supplemental pill forms. Noni is used for a range of treatments from diabetes to fever, though the effectiveness has yet to be studied clinically and claims are not supported by the FDA.
Noni fruit can be consumed raw out of hand, though many find its flavor much more palatable blended as a juice. It is common practice to mix the pungent Noni fruit juice with other varying fruit juices to help mask the unpleasant flavor. Noni may be used in cooked applications such as curries and sauces, jams and jellies. Another common application is to cook the Noni fruit with other fruits, blend it and dry it into fruit leather.
For over 2,000 years the Polynesian people have used Noni fruit and its tree for many basic survival needs. The wood of the Noni plant was burned for fire, the bark was ground up and used in the production of yellow and red cloth dyes, the leaves were fed to livestock as a supplemental feed and the fruit was consumed as a prescribed medicinal treatment. Because of its unpleasant flavor the Polynesian people considered the Noni fruit a "famine food", consumed for survival after natural disasters had wiped out most other vegetation.
Noni developed around the tropical islands surrounding New Guinea where its ability to thrive in new lava flows gave it a distinct advantage over all other native plants. Approximately 3,200 years ago the migrations of humans from the New Guinea area helped transplant the Noni to neighboring regions such as Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga. The spread of Noni is directly related to the colonization of the Polynesian people and their culture throughout the Pacific.
People have spotted Noni Fruit using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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