Take a look at our fresh May fruit...
The quince is an ancient fruit, possibly dating back to the Garden of Eden. Some biblical historians believe this was actually the apple in the story of Adam and Eve. Also known as the “golden apple”, it is believed to symbolize love and happiness. Quince was brought to the United States in the 17th century, although they are still grown around the world. Quinces are fruits that should always be eaten cooked, never raw. The raw fruit is bitter and undesirable to eat. Generally, quinces are used for sauces, jams, or preserves, baked, or even stewed, as they stay firm even when cooked for a long time.
The quince is a good source of Vitamin C; it is low in calories (about 53 per medium fruit) and a good source of minerals. Store quinces in the refrigerator, carefully wrapped, as they bruise easily.
Lychees are round, beautiful, rosy red or green colored fruits, about 1-2” round, 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 have a sweet perfume and a taste reminiscent of a mixture of honey, strawberries and Muscat grapes.
Lychees also have a large, inedible seed, so use caution when eating them. To eat a lychee, just crack the shell gently with your thumbnail just below the stem. Peel away the shell and pop the lychee into your mouth, making sure to spit out the seed. Lychees are delicious as a snack, in fruit salads, as a garnish or in stir-fries. They are best when eaten immediately after purchase, 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 in calories and have very little fat. They are a good source of potassium and an excellent source of vitamin C. Lychees are said to help relieve coughs, and are being tested by The Cancer Institute for prevention against tumors.
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.