Tips for Cooking with Fruits
Cooking with fruits is a great and healthy idea any time of the year, but as fruits begin to come into season, seize the opportunity to add them to your cooking. Fresh fruits are packed with more vitamins and nutrients than canned varieties – and they taste better, too.
And while eating fresh fruit just as nature gives them to us is delicious, why not add fruits to every meal for even more health?
The first step is to find some great fruit recipes. Try these simple tips to make the most of the fruit you’re using.
Lemons are called for in many recipes, and are handy for keeping other fruits from changing color when exposed to air.
To get more juice from a lemon, roll it with your hand on a countertop for around 30 seconds. You can also microwave the lemon for 20 seconds just before using.
When buying, look for firm, heavy lemons of a bright yellow color. Store lemons at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.
Peaches should have a strong fragrance and give just a little when you squeeze them.
Peaches will keep in the refrigerator for around five days. To speed the ripening process, store peaches at room temperature in a brown paper bag for up to two days.
If your bananas are almost ripe, but you don’t want to use them yet, store them in the refrigerator, away from other fruits and vegetables. The peel will turn brown quickly, so use them within a few days.
Lemon juice also prevents banana slices or mashing from browning.
Bananas may be frozen. Whole bananas should be peeled and wrapped individually in plastic wrap, then placed in a freezer bag. Mashed bananas can also be frozen in freezer bags. If you’re worried about the fruit turning brownish, sprinkle it with a little lemon, lime, or orange juice (about one tablespoon per cup) as soon as possible after peeling.
Frozen bananas keep for about two weeks.
Bananas also help other fruits ripen more quickly. Just store the fruit in question with a banana, and use within a few days.
Lemon juice prevents cut avocado from turning brown.
To ripen a hard avocado, store it at room temperature. To hurry it further, place it in a paper bag at room temperature.
Buy firm, shiny strawberries with a strong fragrance. They should be nearly all red.
To make them last longer, refrigerate strawberries with their stems on.
To freeze sliced strawberries, place them in a freezer bag in serving sizes. Before freezing, sprinkle them with sugar, if desired.
Buy brightly colored raspberries without their hulls attached. Throw out any soft, shriveled or moldy raspberries, so the entire bunch doesn’t go bad. If you rinse them in water and store them in a bowl lined with a paper towel, they’ll stay fresh for up to three days in the refrigerator.
Like all berries, raspberries can be frozen. Place them, whole and uncut, on a cookie sheet and place the cookie sheet in the freezer. When they are firm, place them in serving-sized freezer bags and store them in the freezer.
When purchasing blueberries, buy those that are firm, smooth-skinned, and plump. Blueberries with a reddish tint are not ripe.
Freeze blueberries just as you would raspberries.
Ripe blackberries are a deep black color and quite plump.
To keep them longer, don’t wash the berries until you’re ready to use them.
Blackberries keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, if you remove any soft or moldy ones before storage.
Blackberries may be frozen just like raspberries.
Purchase mango with green to yellow skin that has tinges of red. They should feel firm and smell sweet.
To hurry along the ripening process, store mango at room temperature. Once ripe, they keep in the refrigerator for about five days.
Purchase firm, smooth apples without bruises. Store them in the refrigerator away from foods with strong aromas for up to six weeks.
If you don’t want cut up apple pieces to brown as you work with them, sprinkle them with a little fresh lemon juice.
Apples can be frozen in several ways. If you are making apple pies or crisps, book the apples as directed in the recipe, then freeze them. Before finishing the dish, defrost the apples fully in the refrigerator. Or, peel and cut up the apples and store in freezer bags.
Look for pears that are firm yet fragrant. To quicken the ripening process, store them at room temperature in a brown paper bag for around two days.
Pears used for cooking ought to be a little more firm than those you’d eat plain.
If your pears aren’t quite ripe, place them in a paper bag that you’ve cut a couple of holes in. They’ll ripen more quickly at room temperature.
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