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October, 2010

Fresh fall fruit...

Baby Kiwi
Baby Kiwi
Baby kiwi is the cousin to the regular sized kiwi. They are small berries about the size of a grape. Their skin does not have the stiff ‘fuzz’ the larger kiwi fruit has, making the whole fruit completely edible. Baby kiwi can be eaten as you would eat grapes, as a snack, or tossed into fresh fruit salad. They are high in vitamin C making them even more appealing! Baby kiwi are expected to be available the entire month of October, but sometimes Mother Nature changes her mind and they are only available for the first few weeks, so make sure you don’t miss out!

Korean Pears
California Asian Pears and Korean Pears
Asian Pears and Korean 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 these 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 and Korean pears are great on fruit platters, in salads, in pies, or desserts, or where ever you may use an apple. Most Asian and Korean 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 and Korean 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.


Cactus Pears
Also called Prickly Pears, Indian Figs or Tunas, cactus pears are a fruit indigenous to Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. They are now grown across the country and are becoming more and more popular among consumers. Currently, they are coming from growing areas in California. They are an egg-shaped fruit full of thorns or pricks, which are carefully removed before you purchase them. However, caution should still be taken when handling them. Cactus pears are delicious cut in half and scooped out. The vibrant red flesh is full of edible seed and can be used in jams, sauces, salads or drinks. Cactus pears are low calorie and a good source of vitamin C. They are also an excellent source of magnesium. Ripen fruit at room temperature, and then refrigerate until ready to use, no more than a few days. Cactus pears have a limited shelf life, so they are best when eaten as soon as they are ripe.

Persimmons
Persimmons
Persimmons are thought to have Chinese origin, although today they are grown in Japan, China, Korea, Israel and the United States. There are many varieties of persimmons, the most familiar being the FUYU and the HACHIYA. The Fuyu persimmon is flat, and looks similar to a tomato, only orange colored. The Hachiya is also orange, but has a teardrop shape. The Fuyu is generally eaten like an apple, while it is firm and crunchy and the Hachiya is eaten when it is soft and juicy. Another variety is called the Cinnamon Persimmon. This is a variety of Fuyu persimmon and is available for a limited time in the fall. They get their name because they appear to be speckled with cinnamon. In Israel, there is a variety called Sharon Fruit, which is more like the Hachiya variety, only this variety has large inedible seeds. Persimmons have almost no fat (less than 1 gram) and only 70 calories per 3 oz. fruit. They are a good source of vitamin A and also contain Vitamin C, potassium, and copper. Persimmons should be purchased with no bruises and generally firm. Store at room temperature until ripe and refrigerated once ripened. They are great dried, pureed into sauces for desserts, seafood or poultry. They are great for holiday meals and decorations, too.

Feijoas
Feijoas
Feijoas are sometimes referred to as ?pineapple guavas?. They are actually in the same family as a regular guava, cloves and the eucalyptus. Feijoas are grown around the globe with New Zealand being the top producer. Feijoas are small, oval shaped fruit that are generally used in desserts, fruit salads or jellies. They are often pureed for use in ice cream, sherbet, and pudding. Feijoas can be used in place of apples in many recipes. Feijoas should be stored at room temperature and are ripe when soft to touch. They will turn brown once cut open, so a sprinkle of lemon or lime juice will help prevent the oxidation. Feijoas are relatively low in calories with about 50 calories per 3 oz. serving.

Pomegranates
Pomegranates
Pomegranates probably originated around Persia. The word Pomegranate is Latin for "apple of numerous seeds". They have been cultivated worldwide for thousands of years. There is even record of pomegranates being buried in Egyptian tombs, dating back thousands of years. Pomegranates are a Greek symbol of fertility. These beautiful red fruits were used for fabric dye and medicinally years ago. Today, they are eaten as a sweet and delicious treat whenever they are in season. Pomegranates are generally chosen for size; the larger the fruit, the sweeter it will be. They are best when eaten at room temperature, but can be refrigerated to prolong the shelf life. Pomegranate juice and seeds can be frozen for later use. The seeds in the pomegranate are completely edible, although many choose not to eat them. Use pomegranate seeds in fruit salads, as a garnish on plates, in sorbets or desserts, or in juices. They are low calorie, with about 20 calories per ounce. They are a good source of potassium, low sodium and also a source of vitamins C and B.

Starfruit
Starfruit
Starfruit originated in Southeast Asia or India, thousand of years ago and has been gaining popularity since. Most of the starfruit in the United States is grown in Florida, but Taiwan is also a huge exporter. Melissa’s imports starfruit from Taiwan because of its superior quality and size. Most US grown starfruit are about 4-6 inches in length, while starfruit from Taiwan are about 6-8 inches in length. Starfruit, also known as Carambola, gets its name from its shape, once cut cross-wise. It has a waxy appearance and once the small seeds are removed, is completely edible. Most starfruit are sour tasting, but have a sweet-tart flavor. Starfruit is a tropical fruit with many uses; it is great sliced in salads, as a garnish for drinks or platters, served on meats, made into chutneys, and more. Always look for starfruit with no bruises, however, a slight browning on the edges of the ribs is normal (some say this is sugar!), and means the fruit is ripe. Starfruit will ripen at room temperature, from a lime green to a golden yellow (with brown edges). Eat immediately when ripe, to enjoy the crispness of the fruit. Starfruit is very low calorie and a good source of vitamin A & C. About 4 1/2 ounces of starfruit is only 42 calories.

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 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 31/2 oz. serving. They are also a source of vitamin B and fiber.

Strawberry Papayas
Strawberry Papayas
Strawberry papayas are the most delicious papayas of all varieties. They are red-flesh papayas and are juicy with a hint of fresh peaches and berries. Strawberry papayas can be eaten plain, once ripe, or in fruit salads, in desserts or blended into drinks. Just cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and eat. You will think you are in the Tropics, once you taste one of these papayas. Strawberry Papayas are grown in several areas throughout their season. They grown in clusters at the top of the tree and are picked once they begin to streak with color. When you purchase a strawberry papaya, choose one that is soft to touch; it should have a slight blush of yellow as opposed to solid green. You can ripen fruit at room temperature in a paper bag in about 3 days. Strawberry papayas are low calorie and high in vitamin C. They have about 39 calories per 3 1/2 ounce serving.