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April, 2012

Melissa's has fabulous fruits in April...

Feijoas
Feijoas are grown throughout the world and have become very popular in the United States. Sometimes feijoas are referred to as a pineapple guava, but they are actually two different fruits. Feijoas are lime-green, egg shaped fruits, with a soft succulent flesh. They are very fragrant and are often eaten as a dessert, in compotes, jams, pies, and sauces. Fresh feijoas are great in fruit salads, or as a garnish. Feijoas are rich in Vitamin C, 28mg per 100 g serving, and have only 35 calories per 3½ ounces fruit. Feijoas are best when kept refrigerated and are ripe when they are a bit soft to the touch.

Kiwano Melons
Kiwano Melons
Also known as African Horned Melon, this very interesting piece of fruit contains a lime green, jelly-like inside, with the texture of a cool cucumber and taste with a hint of cucumber, banana, melon and lime. The outer shell is spiky golden-orange and is often used as a serving dish filled with fruit salads, dips or other delicious recipes. Kiwano melons are also used to create exotic tropical drinks or delicious sauces for seafood, poultry and vegetables. Kiwano melons last for several weeks without refrigeration from their initial picking. Once they “give” to the touch, they are ripe and ready to eat. Do not store them near apples or bananas, as these fruits will shorten their shelf life. They are low calorie with only 24 calories in 3½ ounces, and contain more potassium than a banana. They are also high in Vitamin C.

NZ Tamarillos

New Zealand Red Tamarillos are also known as “tree tomatoes”. They grow world wide, but are currently from New Zealand. They are also grown in the United States and Ecuador. Tamarillos are egg-shaped fruit, about 3-4 inches long. The outside is inedible, but the inside is full of rich, meaty flesh that contains small seeds, similar to a regular tomato. Tamarillos have a tart, tangy flavor and are used as both a fruit and a vegetable. When used as a fruit, tamarillos are generally served in a tart with creme, or some other sweetener. They are often eaten raw with a little lemon juice and sugar. When used as a vegetable, they are generally used like a regular tomato, in sauces, stews, sautéed or grilled. Tamarillos are a very versatile fruit. Tamarillos must be peeled before eaten, as the skin is not edible. They are very low in calories and sodium, and are a good source of vitamins A and C. Store unripe tamarillos at room temperature until they yield to gentle pressure. Otherwise, store in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Asian Pears
Asian Pears

Asian pears are thought to be a cross between an apple and a pear, when actually they are closely related to a pear. They taste very similar to a pear, but resemble an apple, which is where the name derived. There are hundreds of varieties of Asian pears available today, making them available just about all year around. They are delicious eaten out of hand, firm and crunchy with plenty of quenching juice. Asian pears are great on fruit platters, in salads, in pies, or desserts, or where ever you may use an apple. Most Asian pears will last about 30-60 days when refrigerated, but it is always best to eat as soon as possible. Store them in the refrigerator, wrapped carefully so they will not bruise. Most apple pears are handpicked and individually wrapped to prevent any bruising in shipping. Asian pears are a good source of Vitamin B and potassium. They are also low in calories (about 44 per 3 ounces) making them the perfect snack.

Kumquats
Kumquats
Originally introduced in the mid-19th century to the U.S., this ancient fruit has been familiar in Japan and China for thousands of years. These tiny citrus are bright orange and shaped like an egg. They are completely edible. The sweet, thin rind offsets the tart flesh. They are great as a snack or even candied. Kumquats are generally available year-round with a few gaps in growing regions. Kumquats are best when kept refrigerated. They should have bright skin with no blemishes. They are very low in calories and have about 50 calories in a 3½ ounces serving. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C.





Baby Bananas

Baby Bananas
Also called niño, ladyfinger, or finger bananas, baby bananas are somewhat smaller than even the most popular yellow Cavendish banana, and are actually sweeter. They are native to tropical countries like Central and South America, the Caribbean and Mexico. Familiar in Latin American, African and Asian cooking, baby bananas are amazingly versatile. Shaped like a miniature slender banana, this small, crunchy specialty banana is usually eaten out of hand or sliced raw in fruit salads. Did you know… that the banana is considered an almost perfect food? The banana is very low in sodium, high in potassium, and contains approximately 6 vitamins and 11 other minerals.




Burro Bananas

Burro Bananas
The shape of this banana is flatter, smaller and squarer, yet just as versatile as other bananas. The burro banana is described as having a tangy lemony flavor. Once ripe, the soft flesh is creamy white or yellow with some firmness toward the center. Used when firm, the burro banana can be sliced and added to cereals or made into banana chips. The burro, softened, can also be mashed and used in cake and other dessert recipes.








Red Bananas

Red Bananas
A sweet banana with a touch of raspberry flavor, the short and plump red banana is easy to distinguish. The slightly pink and creamy flesh within a reddish-purple skin is often used to add flavor and color to many dishes. Similar to the traditional banana, this tropical fruit is imported from Central America, generally Ecuador. Red bananas are great in fruit compotes and salads or used in baking as you would any banana.








Plantain Bananas

Plantain Bananas
Larger and firmer than dessert bananas, plantains are commonly used as vegetables rather than fruits because of their lower sugar content. Extremely popular in Latin American countries, plantains are also favored in West Indian and African cooking. Plantains are rarely eaten raw unless completely black to insure ripeness, and are usually baked or fried and served like a potato. These “cooking bananas” have a mild, squash-like flavor and are used in a wide range of savory dishes.







Cherimoyas

Cherimoyas
Also called Custard Apple or Custard Fruit, this delicious heart-shaped fruit is a delicacy in the exotic fruit arena. They are a hand-pollinated fruit, which makes them a time-consuming commercial crop. However, since they are grown in so many areas now, supply is not a problem. The flesh of the cherimoya is cream-colored with large, black, inedible seeds. They have a flavor similar to a blend of strawberry, mango and pineapple. To eat one, simply cut it into wedges and spoon out the creamy flesh, while discarding the seeds. They are generally eaten as is, but they can also be used in drinks, fruit salads or desserts. Cherimoyas should be kept at room temperature until ready to eat, and can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days after ripening. Cherimoyas are not a low calorie fruit, containing about 94 calories per 3 ½ ounce serving. They are also a source of vitamin B and fiber.



Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit
Passion Fruit originated in South America, most likely Brazil. Now, it is grown worldwide. The fruit comes from the passion flower, which is a beautiful tropical flower with a wonderful fragrance. Passion fruit is generally purple, but can also be golden, and has a jelly-like golden flesh, filled with soft, edible seeds. Passion fruit is round or egg-shaped, with a thick, hard shell that gets wrinkled as it ripens. Contrary to popular belief, Passion Fruit is named for the passion flower – this bloom is thought to symbolize various parts of the Passion of Christ (such as the crown of thorns and the nails of the crucifixion) – and not because of the passionate powers it was once believed to contain. Passion Fruit is generally eaten fresh, but may be cooked for use in sauces and fillings. Simply halve fruit and scoop the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Passion fruit can be purchased with smooth skin for later use, or with wrinkled, dimpled skin for immediate use. The more wrinkles, the better it will taste! Passion fruit can be frozen once the flesh is removed from the shell. It is best stored at room temperature. Passion fruit is very low- calorie, with about 18 calories per medium fruit and contains vitamins A and C.

Sweet Young Coconuts
Sweet Young Coconuts
Melissa’s delicious sweet young coconuts are a fun way to enjoy the tropical flavor of coconut! These young coconuts don’t have the hard husk like a mature coconut making them popular for snacking and cooking. The refreshing milk in the coconut is often used in exotic drinks, curry dishes or even by itself for a delicious treat. The inner flesh of a sweet young coconut can be easily scooped out to eat as a snack or to use in recipes. It is wonderful in salads, soups or desserts. Sweet Young Coconuts are very perishable, so it is important to keep them refrigerated. They are available year around and should last about two weeks in the refrigerator.





Strawberry Papayas

Strawberry Papayas
Melissa’s strawberry papayas are the sweetest, most flavorful of all papayas. They are beautiful green on the outside, with a salmon-pink inner flesh. They are very fragrant and juicy. Strawberry papayas are delicious when cut in half and the flesh scooped out… great in fruit salads, tropical drinks or even grilled. Papayas also make a delicious marinade as they can help tenderize meat. Try them sliced for breakfast, or scooped over ice cream for dessert… any way you eat them, you will love them! Strawberry papayas are available year around. They can be stored at room temperature to ripen, and then moved into the refrigerator until ready to eat. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and contain only 50 calories per cup.




Pixie Tangerines

Pixie Tangerines
Pixie Tangerines are very sweet tangerines. They are a cross between a King and a Dancy tangerine. These tangerines are not only sweet and delicious, but they are also seedless and have very low acidity. They make delicious juice or snacks. Pixies were once considered a backyard fruit; only grown in small gardens and local areas of California. They were not commercially grown. Because of their great taste and attractive characteristics, they have grown in popularity. They are now available from Melissa’s throughout the U.S. Like most tangerines, they are an excellent source of vitamin C and they also contain potassium, vitamin A and folic acid. They can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, but they are best when eaten immediately.




Key Limes

Key Limes
Melissa’s Key Limes are small, delicious citrus fruits that are available year around and are very versatile. Key Limes are smaller than a common lime, and look rounder than a common lime. They have several seeds and are very fragrant. Key Limes are used in many tropical cuisines throughout the world; limes are a staple of Mexican, Caribbean, Central and South American, African, Indian, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian and Pacific Island cooking. Generally limes are used to flavor or enhance recipes. They are also used as a tenderizer for meats or as a marinade. Key Limes are delicious in drinks, adding a touch of flavor to whatever you add a fresh squeeze to. Try a squeeze in your favorite dish and you will be pleasantly surprised. Key Limes can be stored at room temperature or stored in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life. Always rinse any citrus fruit before slicing and using in recipes or drinks. Limes are a good source of vitamin C.


Cara Cara Oranges

Cara Cara Oranges
Cara Cara Oranges are an unusual navel orange with a beautiful pink colored flesh. They look like a regular orange on the outside, but once cut open, have a rosy colored flesh with a sweet, juicy flavor; they are a superior tasting orange. Cara Cara oranges originated in Venezuela and are now available to enjoy in the U.S. They are great as a snack and make a beautiful presentation in salads because of their extraordinary color. Also, cara cara oranges are generally seedless. Cara Cara oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of potassium and are low in calories. Keep them at room temperature for about one week, or store them in the refrigerator for best flavor. The juice and zest can be frozen for up to 3 months. Use them immediately for the freshest flavor.



Blood Oranges

Blood Oranges
Melissa’s Blood Oranges are currently grown in California. These delicious sweet oranges get their name because of the red juice that turns the flesh, and sometimes the rind, a deep “blood” red. The juice is delicious and often served in fine restaurants instead of regular orange juice. Most blood oranges are seedless, but some varieties contain seeds. Blood oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C. They are best when kept in the refrigerator and eaten within several days of purchasing.