Cool and Refreshing Fruits for the month of June
A squeeze of lemon without the seeds speeds up prep time and enhances the flavor of many dishes including chicken, fish, vegetables and soups. Lemons are available year round to add juice and zest to marinades, sauces and even used to retain color and add zing to fruit salads. Squeeze some lemon juice on your favorite salad, or use as a garnish on appetizer plates or in your favorite drink. These delicious lemons are available all year around.
Lychees are round, beautiful rosy red to dark brown colored fruits, about 1-2”, encased in a thin bumpy shell. They are sometimes referred to as ‘Chinese Cherries’. Lychees are considered a good luck fruit and are often given as gifts during Chinese New Year. The inside resembles a peeled grape and the taste is phenomenal! Lychees taste like a mixture of honey, strawberries and Muscat grapes.
Lychees also have a large, inedible seed inside, so use caution when eating them. To eat a lychee, just crack the shell gently with your hand or teeth. Remove half of the shell and pop the lychee flesh into your mouth (or serving dish). Be sure to remove the seed. Lychees are delicious as a snack, in fruit salads, as a garnish or in stir-fry. They are best when purchased and eaten immediately, but can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Store them in a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. Lychees are low calorie and have very little fat. They are a good source of potassium and an excellent source of vitamin C. Lychee is said to help relieve coughs, and is being tested by The Cancer Institute for activity against tumors.
Tamarillos are also known as “tree tomatoes”. They grow world wide, but are generally from New Zealand, 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 crème, 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.
Mangosteens are a tropical fruit grown in Southeast Asia. Until now, they have not been allowed into the United States. Melissa’s has been working very close with the USDA and FDA to allow these wonderful fruits into the United States and as of July 23, 2007, they are now permitted for import into the U.S. For centuries, the varied cultures and societies of Southeast Asia have revered the mangosteen. Although the mangosteen has been touted for its splendid flavor, it has also been suggested that use of the whole mangosteen fruit can promote good health.
Mangosteens have a smooth hard rind with fleshy segments inside. Caution should be taken when cutting a mangosteen, as the older the fruit gets, the tougher the rind. Carefully cut into the rind, and work your way around the rind, trying not to cut the inner flesh. One the diameter is cut, “pop” it off and your flesh is ready to eat or use in recipes.
A pleasant surprise lies inside the wrinkled, dimpled, unusual Passion Fruit. The aromatic, jelly-like golden flesh of this tropical fruit is sweet-tart in flavor and filled with soft, edible seeds. Passion Fruit is egg-shaped and has a thick, hard shell that is deeply wrinkled when ripe. Contrary to popular belief, Passion Fruit is named for the bloom of the Passion Fruit flower which 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 passionate powers it was once believed to contain. New Zealand Passion Fruit is purple while the Hawaiian variety is yellow. Passion Fruit is generally eaten fresh but may be cooked for use in sauces and fillings. Simply halve fruit and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon.
Passion fruit can be purchased with smooth skin for use later, 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.
Once grown only in New Zealand, Melissa’s Kiwano Melons are now grown in California as well. Consumers are drawn to these intriguing, yet versatile tropical fruits whose look easily capture attention. The spiky, orange colored shells of Kiwano Melons encase a soft, succulent bright green flesh. Melissa’s Kiwano Melons are mild in flavor and similar in taste to juicy, seed-filled cucumbers. Once peeled, Melissa’s Kiwano Melons can be tossed in fresh fruit salads or served as a garnish with roasted meats.
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 in calorie with only 24 calories in 3 ½ oz., and contain more potassium than a banana. They are also high in Vitamin C.
Ojai Pixie Tangerines
Pixie Tangerines are exceptionally sweet tangerines. They are a hybrid of a King and a Dancy tangerine. Pixies are not only sweet and delicious, but they are also seedless and have a very low acidity. They are delicious when juiced or simply eaten out of hand. Pixies were once considered a backyard fruit, only grown in small gardens and local areas of California; they were not commercially grown. Now, because of their great taste and attractive characteristics, they have grown in popularity and are available from Melissa’s from April through June.
Like most tangerines, they are an excellent source of vitamin C and also contain potassium, vitamin A and folic acid. They can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, but are best when eaten immediately.
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, with about 50 in a 3 ½ oz. serving. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C.
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 3 ½ oz. fruit. Feijoas are best when kept refrigerated and are ripe when they are a bit soft to the touch.
Melissa's Dessert Sauces
These delicious sauces are available in 6 flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Kiwi Lime, Mango, White Chocolate, and Raspberry. They are perfect for quick and easy desserts – use them on crepes, ice cream, and cheesecake or drizzled over fresh berries or sorbet. They come in a ready-to-use squeeze bottle that will make you look like a gourmet dessert maker! Perfect for adding a touch of elegance to the finish any meal.