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July, 2008

Melissa's fruits for July 2008 include red tamarillos, kiwano melons, Champagne grapes, Saturn peaches, lychees, cherimoya, and sprite melons.

Red Tamarillos
Red Tamarillos
Red 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 cream, 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.


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 3 ½ oz., and contain more potassium than a banana. They are also high in Vitamin C.



Champagne Grapes
Champagne Grapes
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
Saturn Peaches
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.




Lychees
Lychee
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.


Chilean Cherimoya
Chilean Cherimoya
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 3 ½ oz. serving. They are also a source of vitamin B and fiber.


Sprite Melons
Sprite Melons
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.