Winter Fruits Just in Time for the New Year
Melissa’s Blood Oranges are currently grown in California. 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. Most blood oranges are seedless, but some varieties contain seeds.
Blood oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C. They are best when kept in the refrigerator and eaten within several days of purchasing.
Cara Cara Oranges
Cara Cara oranges are deliciously juicy pink naval oranges. They have a deep orange flesh with a sweet cherry or grapefruit undertone. They are a seedless variety, making them very popular among mothers with small children. They are great for snacks, lunch boxes, salads, garnishes or for an on-the-go treat. They are packed with vitamin C, making them great for the cold season. Cara Cara oranges are one of the best oranges of the season.
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 delicious 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 milk 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 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 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.
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 oz. serving. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C.
The Buddha’s hand citrus is a very unique fruit. Known as fo-shou in China and bushukan in Japan, the impressive Buddha’s hand has a disputed history. Scholars cannot agree whether Buddhist monks carried it from India to China around the fourth century AD or if it naturally developed in the Yangtze Valley from another citron variety. It is a symbol of happiness, longevity and good fortune. It is very fragrant and has several “fingers” growing up from the base. This citrus fruit is generally used for the rind only, and can be substituted in any recipe that calls for lemon. It is often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year.