It’s that Time of the Year
Green Dragon Apples
In Chinese culture, the dragon is a symbol for royalty; hence the name of this apple. Green Dragon Apples are highly prized and sought after and have become the ‘dragon’ of apples. Green Dragon Apples look like a green Golden Delicious with white crisp-textured flesh encased in a skin that resists bruising. It is an Orin variety mixed with Mutsu and Shizuka apples from Japan. Green Dragon Apples are a sweet apple with low acidity and numerous fruit esters in the aroma.
Eat these apples out of hand or use them in baking. Perfect for holiday platters with caramel dip or cheese. Enjoy these apples throughout the month of December as the season will wind down as the month winds down.
Crab Apples are firm, well colored and have a fresh fragrance. They are perfect for garnishes or fruit bowls because of their miniature size and powerful taste. They are widely used to make outstanding jams and jellies because of their sweet-sour flavor and high pectin content. These small fruits make a delicious accompaniment to pork and poultry. Crab apples are perfect for holiday meals and desserts. Fun to eat because of their size, too.
Lady Apples have a brilliant green skin with some red blushing. Their flesh is sweet and very tart and can be eaten raw or cooked. Lady Apples make a favorite garnish during the holiday season.
Also known as "Hyakume" or "Howard's Amagaki", this so-called 'cinnamon' variety is named for the sweet flesh and dark speckling inside reminiscent of cinnamon. They are prized throughout Asia as a 'goma' or dark-fleshed variety that is softened and cured by traditional Japanese methods. The curing means the Cinnamon has very little tannin, which is often associated with regular persimmons. It is a great salad item with walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Season is late October-mid December.
Ready-to-Eat Steamed and Peeled Whole Italian Chestnuts
These ready-to-go chestnuts are perfect for cooking and baking. They are already steamed and peeled making them easy and ready to use in your favorite holiday recipes. They are great for baking and save a lot of prep time. Melissa’s Steamed and Peeled Chestnuts are 100% natural with no additives. They have an extended shelf life, due to the vacuum sealed packaging. They should be kept refrigerated for freshness. Convenient to use all year around.
Fresh Italian Chestnuts
Chestnuts are generally grown in northern climates, although they can be found from Alaska to the Middle East. In the past, most chestnuts were ground to make flour for breads, while today, chestnut flour is used primarily for fancy cakes. Chestnuts have been associated with good digestion when eaten. They have an extremely high sugar content, which makes them excellent for cooking and baking. Italian Chestnuts are a holiday favorite for roasting. Chestnuts should be cooked before eating to bring up the sugar content; otherwise they are starchy and often bitter.
Chestnuts can be microwaved or roasted. They are a good source of B Vitamins and iron, and they are low in sodium.
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.
Organic Crimson Gold Apples
These apples are grown near a National Forest in Cuyama Valley near Santa Barbara, California. Growing in this remote location promotes ideal conditions: warm days and cool nights. This in turn produces a good sugar acid balance and firmness in the apples. The Crimson Gold apple is a descendent of the Newtown and Spitzenburg heirloom apple. Season is October – December.
They are a smaller apple, but larger than a crabapple. These flavorful apples are a perfect snack. They are also an excellent baking apple, keeping their firm texture when cooked. They also make a delicious apple cider.
Meyer lemons are also referred to as a cooking lemon. They should not be confused with conventional lemons, as Meyer Lemons are rounder in shape, have thinner skin and often have an orange blush. Meyer Lemons are thought to be a cross between a lemon and an orange. They are a sweet tasting lemon which can be eaten whole including the skin and seeds. They have a nice tartness that gives a kick in everything you may use them in and are well suited for desserts because of their sweet flavor.
Melissa’s Strawberry Papayas are the sweetest, most flavorful of all papayas. They are beautiful green on the outside, with a salmon-pink inner flesh. They are very fragrant and juicy. Strawberry papayas are delicious when cut in half and the flesh scooped out; great in fruit salads, tropical drinks or even grilled. Papayas also make a delicious marinade as they can help tenderize meat. Try them sliced for breakfast, or scooped over ice cream for dessert… any way you eat them, you will love them!
Strawberry papayas are available year around. They can be stored at room temperature to ripen, then moved into the refrigerator until ready to eat. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and contain only 50 calories per cup.
Asian pears are thought to be a cross between an apple and a pear, when actually they are more closely related to a pear. 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 Asian 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.
Melissa’s Blood Oranges are as beautiful as they are tasty. These delicious sweet oranges get their name because of the red juice that turns the flesh, and sometimes the rind, a deep “blood” red. The juice is delicious and often served in fine restaurants instead of regular orange juice. Blood oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C. They are best when kept in the refrigerator and eaten within several days of purchasing.
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 also 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 for a few days after ripening. Cherimoyas are not a low calorie fruit, containing about 94 calories per 3 ½ ounce serving. They are also a source of vitamin B and fiber.
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.
Sweet Young Coconuts
Melissa’s Sweet Young Coconuts are a fun way to enjoy the tropical flavor of coconut! These young coconuts don’t have the hard husk like a mature coconut, making them popular for snacking and cooking. The refreshing water in the coconut is often used in exotic drinks, curry dishes or even by itself for a delicious treat. The inner flesh of a sweet young coconut can be easily scooped out to eat as a snack or to use in recipes. It is wonderful in salads, soups or desserts.
Sweet Young Coconuts are very perishable, so it is important to keep them refrigerated. They are available year around and should last about two weeks in the refrigerator.
Melissa’s has introduced a coconut opener for our Sweet Young Coconuts. Simple to use and it will make opening your coconut as easy as drinking the water! These are great gifts for the person who has everything…