Melissa's refreshing summer fruits
Sweet Young Coconuts
The Sweet Young Coconut is traditionally used and noted for the large amount of water it contains. The water is sweet and delicious right out of the shell. It contains a sweet pudding-like flesh that is delicious right out of the shell as well as in fruit salads and custards. Sweet Young Coconut lacks the husk of the well-known coconut.
The easiest way to enjoy the water is to carefully pierce one of the “eyes” on the coconut and insert a straw…then enjoy the delicious coconut water as a refreshing drink. Once the water is done, you can crack the shell and enjoy the flesh too.
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.
Also known as the African horned melon, this very interesting piece of fruit contains a lime green, jelly-like inside with the texture of a cool cucumber. The taste is a subtle combination of cucumber, banana, melon and lime. The outer shell is spiky golden-orange and is often used as a serving dish filled with fruit salad, dip 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. 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 calories with only 24 calories in 3½ ounce, and contain more potassium than a banana. They are also high in Vitamin C.
Passion Fruit originated in South America, most likely Brazil. Now, passion fruit is grown worldwide. Passion 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 looks like an egg, with a thick, hard shell that gets wrinkled as it ripens...the more wrinkles, the better the fruit will be. Contrary to popular belief, passion fruit is named for the bloom of the passion fruit 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 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 the 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.
Organic Black Seedless Grapes
Melissa’s Organic Black Seedless Grapes are grown in a micro-climate vineyard in Central California. These organic black seedless grapes are grown specifically to produce a better-tasting, larger-sized grape than conventional black seedless grapes. In order to ensure consistent production and high quality fruit, our growers go through a labor-intensive process of hand pruning, cleaning and harvesting. The grapes are grown on high trellis systems which allow the grapes to get more sunlight for better growth and sugar levels.
Black Seedless Grapes are delicious in fruit salads or eaten as a healthy snack anytime. They are great for kids because they are seedless and offer plenty of vitamins A and C. They are also a great low-calorie treat with less then 70 calories per cup. Try freezing them for a real treat!
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.
Sprite Melons are a relatively new variety of melon available in the commercial marketplace. They are grown exclusively in North Carolina and are available through the summer until September. These melons are smaller melons about 4-5 inches in diameter. They look similar to miniature honeydew, with a taste that is incredibly sweet! The sugar content in a sprite melon is about 5% greater than in other melons. Sprite melons are generally crisp when eaten, but always sweet, unlike other melons that are un-ripe when they are crisp. Sprite melons are great in fruit salads or for dessert by themselves.
Sprite melons are low calorie, about 110 per melon. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and have no fat or cholesterol. Store sprite melons at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate. They are best when eaten with 2-3 days of ripening.
These tiny grapes are actually a Zante Currant (also known as Black Corinth) variety that is seedless. The name stems from Greece where they were grown and very popular over 2000 years ago. These miniature grapes grow on vines in clusters of as many as 300 grapes! It is believed that champagne grapes get their unique name because of their California usage: draped over a glass of champagne or wine as an edible garnish. They are a very sweet grape in which the entire cluster is edible, including the small stems. They are generally eaten as is, and are often dried to use in baking and cooking (currants and raisins). Any way you eat them; these are delicious and unusual grapes.
Champagne grapes should be washed before eaten. Keep them stored in the refrigerator for longest shelf-life and eat within a few days for best taste. Grapes are a good source of potassium with about 65 calories in a three ounce serving.
Saturn peaches get their unique name because of their unusual shape: they are flat and round, looking like the planet Saturn. Saturn peaches are a white-fleshed peach, with a semi-free stone in the center. They have a beautiful blush on the velvety outer skin and a deliciously juicy inner flesh. They are great eaten out of hand for a snack, and are delicious eaten in pies, desserts or fruit salads. They are a very sweet peach and are only available for a limited time in July.
Saturn peaches should be stored the same as other peaches; Keep at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate a day or two until eaten. They are best when eaten immediately. Peaches are low calorie and have no fat or cholesterol.
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 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 once ripe for a few days. Cherimoyas are not a low calorie fruit, containing about 94 calories per 3½ oz. serving. They are also a source of vitamin B and fiber.
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 oz.) making them the perfect snack.