fruits

In case you haven’t heard – fruit is the candy that Mother Nature’s selling, so why not take that candy for a joyride. Whether a dish is sweet or savory, fruits are your new best friends, – love your new friends, appreciate your new friends – and they’ll be more loyal than Hachiko – but don’t keep them waiting – fruits have a shelf life and need to get involved far beyond an apple in a lunchbox!

When it’s straight from the vine or off the tree, fruit is simple, light and innocent, when it hangs with heat, fruit is succulent, luscious and sinful. So introduce fruit to heat and stand back and enjoy the show – diner discretion is advised. Magic is happening right before your eyes, between your lips and under your nose – sugars caramelize, flavors intensify, flesh softens – give me a moment – ok I’m back … anything coming into contact with hot fruit will never be the same again (including you) – grilled, seared, poached or sautéed, fruits will bring it every single time!

The “extra” will attach to the “ordinary” when you realize that fruit and heat go together like Lucy & Ricky, Bogey & Bacall and Scarlett & Rhett – and as a result, will never let you down. And what a relief not to have to belt out in our kitchens, while staring at a nectarine, peach or pineapple … don’t let me down … I rest my case.

And just when you think you’ve heard it all, how about fruit breeders –  we’re talking a pluerry, peacharine or a pluot. Does mankind really have nothing better to do? Personally, I’d be careful messin’ with mother nature – like she hasn’t done a bang up job!

fruit basics

Here you will find info about fruits that is pretty much common to all – why fruit got its’ own group, ways to do the obvious – from eating it as is, to pulverizing in a smoothie, freezing it for later and preserving it for much later to growing your own. Discover the world of fruit beyond the basics (apples, oranges, bananas & berries) – and depending on the climate, all cultures have their “apples, oranges, bananas and berries” – and because most fruits, regardless of origin, are very often available worldwide. Here in North America, exotic fruits are a common siting at the grocery store. So depending on where you live, take advantage of the imports at your local grocer or market and invite a few exotic bedfellows to your fruit bowl – the apples, oranges, bananas & berries will appreciate the company.

fruit cookbooks

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acai to berries

acai

Some things reach epic status as the next big thing – move over Justin, Selena and Taylor – acai berries are here, and they’re here to stay. The acai craze is really more about the juice than the fruit itself. Since the fruit has about 24 hours from harvest before it better leave the ball, and forget about going back for that glass slipper – which is why they most often show up as juice, pulp or supplements. Unless you live in the heart of the Amazon, acai berries will cross a few time zones to get to you after being flash frozen or freeze-dried before they make the long trek to a grocery store near you. With that said, the juice can be found bottled in many a grocery store, organic or not – and be forewarned, it will cost you. You need to be careful as many acai juices, powders & pulp are knock-offs parading around as the real deal but a quick read of the label will weed out any imposters. Add the juice and/or powder to your smoothies, shakes and cocktails – at least you can feel good about the health benefits – hiccup!

And when you do find them in the freezer section or freeze-dried on the shelf – grab them – they are great added to cereal, stirred into homemade granola, sprinkled over ice cream – anywhere you would use dried fruit.

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apples

Oh apples – where does one begin! Apples have been around well, I’m sure you’ve heard the story of that cheeky couple who chomped down on the forbidden fruit plunging them into a world of sin and damnation. I guess they were a little ahead of their time! If they’d only known how mainstream that forbidden fruit was to become, oh give or take 6000 years. Not to mention, a complete 180° on its reputation. How did the humble apple make its way from wicked and wild to innocent and pure, so much so, that your doctor would want you to be chomping down on one daily? Well, miracles never cease!

Of all the fruits, apples can get work practically anywhere – if you want sweet, they’ll bring it, and when you want not so sweet, they’ll bring it – from caramel apple pie to curried apple couscous and everywhere in between, suffice it to say – apples will bring it. There’s not much else to say really – who wouldn’t want to hang with a gainfully employed fruit – the two of you will make beautiful mouthfuls together, heck – entire meals.

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bananas & plantains

berries

In the world that is fruit – berries are an exclusive club – hey, we’re berries and you’re not! They’re sweet and juicy and remind us of summer, which, by the way, is really the only time we should be buying them. A berry that had to travel 1000’s of mile to get to you, is no berry worth your time – but a berry that lives in the freezer section of your grocery store most definitely is! Know this going in – berries (for the most part) are interchangeable and combine beautifully – so delve into this berry section, mix & match or fly solo – berries are your new best friend. What’s your excuse now?

blackberries

Think of blackberries as the dark-haired sister to the raspberry. They’re interchangeable in recipes and are very often used together – in jam, desserts & smoothies. If you are lucky enough (as I am) to live amongst the brambles or find them fresh at the market – give ’em a rinse, spread them on a baking tray and freeze them for whenever you’re in the mood for a little summertime. And to max out your berries – blackberry jam will be the first thing you tackle –’cause once you have the jam – you have so much more than jam: stir into yogurt, serve over ice cream, purée in a smoothie, spread on pancakes, fill a tart, layer a cake – and if that’s more than you’re willing to do – heck, make a piece of toast.

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blueberries

These should be in every pantry. When they’re in season – load up on fresh, and when they’re not – you’ll find them in the freezer section. Either way, they’re at their peak and FYI – fruit is always frozen at its freshest, so why on earth wouldn’t you take full advantage of that little discovery! Well of course you would – so go bag some blueberries and get ready to get busy.

First the obvious: blueberry pancakes, blueberry biscuitsblueberry piesblueberry muffins – and the not so obvious: blueberry buckles, blueberry crisps & blueberry cobblers, how about a blueberry cake? And if baking’s not your thing – sprinkle ’em on salads, whizz ’em up in smoothies, simmer ’em to make blueberry jam – and by the way, pound for pound, blueberries are at the front of the fruit & vegetable pack in the antioxidant department – not to mention their liberal levels of lutein, so what are you waiting for? Become best buds with blueberries and maybe you’ll live a little longer in the process.

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cranberries

When cranberries show up in the produce section, grab every bag you can, run home and put them in the freezer – which means you will be enjoying cranberries long before and long after the turkey has flown the coup and that last spoonful of cranberry sauce has been devoured. Cranberries are sooooo beyond the “holidays” – how beyond? Well, how about this beyond – cranberry jam, cranberry muffins, cranberry upside-down cake, cranberry coffee cake, cranberry barbeque saucecranberry pork chops, cranberry chicken, cranberry ice cream, cranberry crisp, cranberry pancakes, cranberry smoothies, cranberry chutney, cranberry biscotti, cranberry fool, cranberry wild rice salad, cranberry beef stir-fry, cranberry drinks & cocktails – and if you’re compelled to serve these cranberry creations around the “holidays”,  so be it. But do have an open mind and try a little cranberry ice cream in June or July – you’re allowed – the cranberry cops take the summers off! And because you were smart enough to stockpile a truckload of cranberries when they were half price the day after Thanksgiving – guess who’s crazy for cranberries? You are, silly.

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raspberries

Raspberries – the little rubies of the berry world – tiny and sweet – kinda like Betty Boop. Few things are longed for and anticipated – asparagus in the spring, apples in the fall, Santa on Christmas Eve and raspberries in the summer. And of course we live in a time where we can pretty much have what we want when we want it – so thanks to the freezer section of the grocery store, we can. Our sincere apologies to Mother Nature – but we’re the lucky ones – raspberry sorbet in January, what could be nicer? Well, maybe a raspberry tart alongside the sorbet?

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strawberries

citrus to figs

citrus

Citrus brings the pucker to the party. It’s subtle, you don’t need much and you’d sure miss it if it wasn’t there – when we say something’s missing, it’s very often citrus (or salt).

citrus basics

Citrus, like berries, melons and stone fruits – is a group. And as it is with most groups – one can stand-in for the other – pinch-hitting taken to the next level.

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blood oranges

My take on blood oranges coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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clementines

My take on clementines coming soon … in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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grapefruit

In the citrus world, grapefruits are sadly overlooked and I’m here to change all that. Yes, oranges have had their day, lemons are on the short list of have-to-haves of every chef the world over, limes are the up-and-comers and grapefruits have been left out in the cold. If lemons can overcome their sour reputation then, by george, so can grapefruits. So think of grapefruit in place of lemons and add a whole new flavour profile to chicken, seafood, fish, salads, vinaigrettes  – anywhere you’d add a touch of tang.

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kumquats

My take on kumquats coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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lemons

limes

oranges

My take on oranges coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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satsumas

My take on satsumas coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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tangerines

My take on tangerines coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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coconuts

dates

dragon fruit

My take on dragon fruit coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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figs

grapes to melons

grapes

My take on grapes coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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guava

My take on guava coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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kiwi

My take on kiwi coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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lychee

My take on lychee coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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mango

My take on mango coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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mangosteen

My take on mangosteen coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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melons

My take on melons coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

melon basics

cantaloupe

honeydew

My take on honeydews coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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watermelon

papaya to pomegranate

papaya

My take on papaya coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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passionfruit

My take on passionfruit coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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pears

My take on pears coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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persimmon

My take on persimmon coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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pineapple

My take on pineapple coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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pomegranate

quince to stone fruits

quince

My take on quince coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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rambutan

My take on rambutan coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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rhubarb

My take on rhubarb coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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star fruit

My take on star fruit coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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stone fruits

My take on stone fruits coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

stone fruit basics

My take on stone fruit basics coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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apricots

cherries

nectarines

My take on nectarines coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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peaches

My take on peaches coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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plums

My take on plums coming soon … so in the meantime, feast on what’s already out there!

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