Prickly Pear
How they taste: Sometimes labeled cactus pear as it’s gleaned from any number of cactus varieties, the fetching ruby-red or golden pulp is reminiscent of a cross between watermelon and lemon. The bumpy skin is often purplish-red but sometimes green.  

Health perks: Each fruit is brimming with magnesium – more than an orange, apple and common pear combined. A 2009 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study that included more than 64,000 people found that as magnesium intake increased, type 2 diabetes risk decreased.

Pick the best: Choose prickly pears that give slightly to palm pressure. They should have a deep, even color and be free of squishy, moldy or dark spots.

Try this: To peel, slice off both ends and cut an incision lengthwise. Slide your knife carefully under the skin and pull it off. The skin should be tossed but the seeds are edible and pleasantly crunchy. Best served chilled, add slices to yogurt, cottage cheese and cereal. Or, combine them with olive oil, red wine vinegar and honey in a blender, and whirl into a fruity vinaigrette.  

Passion Fruit
How they taste: Named because sections of the plant’s flowers resemble different parts of the Passion of Christ, passion fruit is egg-shaped with dimpled, deep-purple skin and an addictive sweet-tart jellylike golden flesh.

Health perks: These tasty gems indigenous to Brazil are rich in vitamins A and C and provide a source of potassium and iron. The soft, edible seeds are particularly chock-full of fiber. A 2008 Dutch study found that for every additional 10 grams of fiber consumed per day, subjects chances of dying from heart disease declined by 17 percent while all-cause mortality fell by 9 percent.

Pick the best: Choose heavy for their size, deeply colored passion fruit with wrinkled skin. If the skin is smooth, keep at room temperature until wrinkled.  

Try this: Simply halve the fruit and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon or blend together passion fruit pulp with frozen blueberries, yogurt, milk and a dash of unsweetened cocoa powder to make a tasty smoothie.  

Guava
How they taste: The entire fragrant fruit, from the skin to the seeds, is edible. Each bite of guava is mildly sweet with a firm and crisp texture. The color of the skin can range from yellow to red to green, the flesh from pale yellow to bright red.

Health perks: Beyond impressive amounts of vitamin C and fiber (a mere cup delivers 9 grams of fiber), the pinkish-red flesh guava varieties provide lycopene – an antioxidant that may protect against several forms of cancer.

Pick the best: Try to select those that give slightly to hand pressure without any spotting or soft areas. Guavas at the grocer are often quite firm and should be ripened further at room temperature before taking a bite.

Try this: Chomp into this warm weather fruit like you would an apple. Or, slice guava in half, scoop out the seeds (setting them aside) and fill the middle with cottage cheese, the reserved seeds and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a healthy snack.