Time to Feast on Fruit
Fruits are so naturally sweet and delicious, we don’t need to know they’re good for us to enjoy eating them.
Bananas and pineapples evoke lazy, warm days at the beach, don’t they? So treat yourself to some, maybe while kicking back on your favorite chair or hammock.
- Bananas, one of the most popular fruits, are a great source of potassium, vitamin C and iron, plus they’re rich in fiber.
- Bananas are picked from the tree while still green. A ripe banana is completely yellow. Keep this in mind if you want to eat your bananas immediately.
- To ripen bananas, place in a paper bag with another sweet fruit, such as an apple, and let ripen on the counter (the riper the fruit, the higher the antioxidant levels).
- Bananas can be used to thicken fruit smoothies or milkshakes, to add sweetness to pancakes or waffles or to add exotic flavors to a curry recipe.
- Add bananas and honey to a peanut butter sandwich in place of jelly (Elvis liked his this way, with the addition of bacon).
- Pineapple is great on the grill. Add chunks to a pork or shrimp kabob or grill thick slices with a little sugar for a simple dessert.
- Pineapple is a great addition to any marinade for meat or seafood since it contains the enzyme bromelain, a natural tenderizer.
- Pineapple is ripe when you can easily pull one of the thorny leaves from the crown. Pineapple will continue to ripen on the counter.
Berries are at the height of flavor in the warmer months, so make the most of them while they’re freshest.
- Low in calories and loaded with vitamin C, antioxidants and sweet juicy flavor, strawberries are the perfect snack.
- While strawberries are one of the most versatile of fruits, they are also one of the most perishable. Enjoy them within two to three days of purchase.
- Strawberries do not ripen after they are picked, so select plump, deep red fruit.
- Do not wash strawberries until you are ready to eat them.
- To create a simple grilled dessert, combine chunks of plum, pineapple or apricot, banana and whole strawberries. Brush with light vegetable oil, dust lightly with sugar and grill for a couple of minutes until seared. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or sweetened sour cream.
- All vividly colored fruits and vegetables (like spinach, broccoli and strawberries) are loaded with antioxidants and none more than blueberries.
- Blueberries are great as an after-school snack or blended into a smoothie. Add them to cereal, fruit salad or pancakes.
- Add fresh blueberries to the roasting pan for the last 10 minutes of cooking pork chops or a pork roast to create delicious pan gravy.
- Blackberries are loaded with vitamins A, B, C and E and provide a valuable amount of fiber.
- Add blackberries to a salad of spring greens along with almonds and some crumbled chèvre or feta.
- Gently warm blueberries with a little honey or liqueur and drizzle them over your favorite ice cream.
- Sprinkle them on family cereal bowls all week long.
- Raspberries are another of the deeply hued foods that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins.
- Now that raspberries are in season, there are so many wonderfully easy ways you can enjoy them. Purée raspberries with a little powdered sugar and vanilla for an elegant sauce to drizzle over cheesecake or ice cream.
- Try raspberry shortcake as a great variation on the classic.
- Freeze raspberries in ice cubes to add to iced tea or soda water.
Raspberry Mint Iced Tea
(Makes 2 quarts)
The perfect complement to a lazy summer afternoon in the backyard.
- 10 tea bags (black or peach)
- 3 cups fresh raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (or more to taste)
- 4 qts. boiling water
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Fresh mint and berries as a garnish
1. Bring water to a boil and stir in sugar to dissolve.
2. Remove from the heat and add raspberries, tea bags and lemon juice. Cover and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Strain; discard berries and tea bags.
3. Transfer tea to a pitcher and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour. Serve over ice with a sprig of mint and a fresh berry or two.
(Makes 4 servings)
Pineapple, sweet onion and a little chili heat make this one succulent burger.
- 4 large slices fresh or canned pineapple
- 1 lb. ground beef (lean 90%)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 4 slices mild or sharp Cheddar cheese
- 4 thick slices red onion
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 4 favorite burger buns
- Mayonnaise and your favorite mustard (honey mustard is excellent with this)
- salt and pepper, to taste
1. Combine beef and all dry seasonings. Mix gently to blend and form into 4 equal patties, pressing your thumb lightly in the center of each patty to make it a little thinner in the middle.
2. Heat grill to medium-high. Place pineapple slices and burger patties on grill. Cook burger to your liking on the first side. Flip pineapple and burger. Place a slice of cheddar on top of each burger to melt, while the second side cooks. Add buns face side down to grill to toast for 1 to 2 minutes.