Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Fruits

Well summer is upon us and as the heat rises, so does our desire for delectable summer fruits. From using them in baked items, smoothies, toppings or just as is, summer fruits provide that perfect refreshment during a hot summer day. And let us not forget the nutritional value of these fruits.


The following are a few summer fruits to get reacquainted with:



Blueberries:
Season- May through September, peak in July.

They are great with breakfast and cereal and sweet enough to eat raw without sugar. They are also good with pancakes, in cakes, lightly stewed and spooned over ice cream, or baked into healthy blueberry muffins.



Cantaloupes: Season- June through September, peak in July.

Cantaloupes have significant amounts of Vitamins A and C. They are a good source of potassium, and contain small amounts of many other minerals. The rind is rich in nutrients so the whole melon may be juiced. They are full of flavor and low in calories.

Cherries:
Season- May through August, peak in July.

Avoid cherries that are soft, have wrinkled skin, are leaking and sticky or that have any visible signs of decay. Immature cherries will be smaller and less juicy while over-mature product will be soft, dull and wrinkled. Sweet varieties are good raw and can be added to salads and fruit salads. Sharper varieties need cooking, to use in tarts, compotes, pancake fillings or as a tart sauce to serve with meat.
They are great for pies, tarts, jellies, jams, and on ice cream.

Honey dew:
Season- February through November, peak in July and August.

Good quality Honeydew melons will turn a creamy yellow color and the skin will have a slightly waxy feel when ripe. They will be firm with a small amount of softness at the stem and will be fairly large - those weighing about 5 pounds have the best flavor. Sometimes, the seeds of an especially juicy melon will rattle if the melon is shaken.

Mangos:
Season- May through August, peak in June.

Great in fruit salads or eaten out of hand. Can be frozen & used in jam. Mango juice is both delicious and healthy. Good quality mangoes will yield slightly to gentle pressure when ripe. The coloring will be deep red and/or rich yellow with only a blush of green at the most. (Very green mangoes are used in certain dishes). Medium to large mangoes are generally best. A ripe mango will smell fairly fruity on the stem end as long as it is not cold. They are best eaten when soft.

Nectarines:
Season- June through September, peak in July and August.

Good quality nectarines will be fairly large, have smooth, unblemished skin and will be firm but not rock-hard. Ripen nectarines at home for 2 to 3 days at room temperature until they are slightly soft along the seam. Ripe fruit will have a sweet nectarine smell that is stronger when the fruit is at room temperature.

Peaches: Good quality peaches will be fairly large, firm to slightly soft and have a yellowish or creamy background. A red blush may be present, on some peach varieties to differing degrees, but this is not a true sign of quality. An extremely ripe peach that is at room temperature will also have a sweet peach smell. When picking peaches, pick ones without bruises or marks.

Plums:
Season- June through October.

Most plums are sweet enough to eat raw, or you can bake them, or make them into crumbles, pies or tarts. Try slices added to green or fruit salads, or bake them alongside meat. Ripe plums feel plump and not too hard

Raspberries:
Season- June through July, peak in July.

Raspberries should be plump and deep red. Look for squashed berries inside containers. They contain high levels of antioxidants, rich source of vitamin C and dietary fibers. Great in salads, pies, cakes, pureed for dressings and jams.





For more information, contact your closest Doris Italian Market and ask for the produce manager. For more information on-line, check out http://www.produceoasis.com/ or simply use your search engine to get more specifics about your favorite fruit. Have a safe summer and try to stay cool.

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