Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Handful of Cherries

I am a fruit lover. This wasn't always the case though. I wouldn't eat strawberries when I was young because of the seeds and 'fuzz.' That's the truth! How crazy was I? Now I can't get enough. Summer is always my favorite time for fruit. There is something incredibly refreshing, cool, and satisfying about a big bowl of fresh fruit salad, a crisp apple or a huge slice of watermelon that drips all over and makes my fingers sticky. Here are some tips on how best to enjoy fruit as we get closer to fall.
When to buy:
Now is still a great time to buy berries like raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Peaches (white peaches is a current obsession of mine) and nectarines are plentiful and pomegranates are starting to come onto the market. The end of summer is also a great time cantaloupe and grapes. Apples will be arriving soon enough although some farmer's markets like the ones here in NY seem to have them available year round.
How to store:
A good thing to remember is that the nutritional value of any fruit begins to decrease the moment it is picked so it is always best to eat your fruit as soon after it is harvested to get the most nutrients.
- Apples should be stored in a plastic or paper bag and for no longer than 3 weeks.
- Unripe bananas can be kept at room temperature however ripe fruits can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks (apparently it is okay if the skin turns black).
- Blueberries should be kept in the refrigerator and can last up to 10 days but it is best not to wash them until just before they are going to be eaten.
- Mangoes can be stored at room temperature for 1 to 2 days and stored in the refrigerator after they are peeled and sliced.
- Fresh figs should be kept in the coldest part of your fridge and eaten within 2 days.
- Whole pomegranates can be stored in a cool and dry area for 1 month or up to 2 months in the fridge.
Organic v Conventional:
It's been found that there is no real nutritional difference between organic and conventionally grown fruits. HOWEVER, the different growing methods result in the presence of pesticides and herbicides on the fruit. The Environmental Workers Group compiled a list of produce that is worth spending the extra few dimes on to purchase organically because they contain the highest levels of chemicals. This list was compiled from research data released by the FDA. Peaches, apples, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, grapes, and pears are included on the list. Click here for a handy shoppers guide.
How much fruit is enough?
Sometimes it is hard to eat enough fruit each day. We are busy people! The latest recommendations suggest we only need 2 cups of fruit a day (1 apple, a banana, 8 strawberries, and 1/2 cup of dried fruit). Just remember, it's better to have a little fruit, even if it isn't 2 cups, than to have none at all. Just stay away from the sugary 5% fruit juices - they don't count!
Now go grab an apple!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I always thought blueberries were supposed to sit at room temperature . Good to know.. I've never even seena white peach.