Blueberries grow on low creeping shrubs or tall erect bushes, depending upon variety. The small round berries can range in size from 5-16 millimeters in diameter. They first appear green, but ripen into a deep shade of dusty blue. The soft, hazy white coating that develops on the skins' surface, which is known as the bloom, is a natural waterproofing which helps protect the berries from the sun and other natural elements. Blueberries have a sweet and woodsy flavor with an acidity that can vary depending upon growing conditions. Long sunny days and warm temperatures develop a higher sugar content, while cooler temperatures and shorter days with limited sunlight increase acidity. After harvest some plants lose their leaves while other varieties retain their foliage year-round, becoming a colorful mix bronze, red and purple in the autumn.
Blueberries are available year-round with a peak season in the summer.
Blackberries are characterized by their coloring, their unique composition and their flavor. Like raspberries, Blackberries are not technically a berry, but rather an aggregate fruit of individual drupes held together by very fine, nearly invisible hairs. Blackberries do not have a hollow center, instead they have a solid, edible core. When ripe, Blackberries have a deep inky sheen with purple highlights. They are succulent, soft, and juicy. Their flavor is sweet, slightly tart, with earthy undertones.
Blackberries are available year-round with a peak season in summer.
The sweet-tart flavor and earthy quality of Blackberries allows them to be used in both sweet and savory applications. The moderately high acidity of Blackberries cuts through the rich flavors of creamy and aged cheeses, or rich fatty meats. Blackberries can be added to ice creams, jams and baked goods. Blackberries also pair well with nuts, aged balsamic vinegar, salad greens, figs, and leafy herbs.
Raspberries are an aggregate fruit of individual drupelets that are held together by very fine, nearly invisible hairs. They have a hollow core and are conical with an overall rounded shape. The hollow core is created when the Raspberry is separated from its growing receptacle. Their flavor can range from sweet-tart to low acid and jam-like depending on growing region and variety.
Raspberries are available year-round, with peak season in the summer.
Raspberries are most often utilized in sweet applications, such as jams, jellies, desserts and other baked goods. Their tart and earthy flavor also works well in salads featuring blue cheese and spicy greens as well as other savory recipes. Combine the berries with ginger, sesame and a touch of soy for a glaze over salmon, duck or chicken. Barbecue sauces, marinades and homemade ketchup all benefit from a touch of Raspberry. Other complementary pairings include cocoa, exotic fruits, raisins, creamy and bloomy rind cheeses, honey, peaches, coconut, cinnamon, blueberries, cardamom and lavender.
Strawberries have an overall conical heart shape and can vary in size depending upon cultivar and growing conditions. All varieties of Strawberries have seeds on their exterior rather than their interior, which distinguishes them from a berry and a true fruit. They have a bright red sheen when fully ripe and a juicy yet firm texture. While sugar contents can vary from sweet-tart to candy-like syrup, Strawberries maintain a balanced acidity level.
Strawberries are available year-round, with peak season in the spring and summer.
Strawberries are a very versatile fruit appropriate for sweet and savory applications, both cooked and raw. They may be used interchangeably with most other berries, but often times have a higher moisture content and therefore may require alterations in some recipes. Strawberry pie filling, for instance, usually calls for a thickener such as cornstarch, or that the extra juice be removed or reduced to a syrup. Use Strawberries in green salads or in jam, jellies and other confections. Cook them down into a compote or syrup for drizzling over ice cream and cheesecake or added into beverages and cocktails. Complimentary pairings include, other berries, citrus, rhubarb, melon, leafy herbs, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, almonds, sour cream, ricotta, mascarpone, yogurt, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, amaretto, Champagne, Kirsch and Grand Marnier.
The perfect cherry is rounded with a slight heart shape and dimple at its stem end. The size can range from one to three centimeters in diameter. The skin is thin and taut with deep red coloring and brilliant sheen. The inner flesh's color palate is a range of rouge tones. The firm yet juicy pulp surrounds a single stone which may cling tightly or easily pull away depending upon variety. The cherry's flavor is bright and pleasantly sweet tart, mimicking notes of currant, plum, raspberry and blackberry.
Cherries are available year-round with a peak season in late spring and summer.
Cherries are incredibly versatile extending uses into sweet and savory recipes, raw or cooked preparations, and may be found fresh, dried, frozen, preserved or even pickled. Their inherent sweetness pairs well with strong game meats, most notable water fowl such as duck. It also balances well against salty and creamy cheeses such as burrata, feta, mascarpone and brie. They cook down into silky jams, jellies, pie fillings, dessert toppings, and even chutney or barbecue sauce. They can be preserved in maraschino liqueur or even brandy for cocktails or baking applications. Cherries also pair well with other stone fruit, basil, hazelnut oil, pine nuts, fennel, pistachios, arugula, yogurt, cream, dark chocolate and berries such as blueberry and blackberry.
The Cavendish banana has a thick signature yellow peel when perfectly ripe, encasing an ivory cream colored, semi-starchy flesh. Depending on its age, the flavor and aromatics can vary from nuances of lemon custard to creme brulee. The banana plant is not a tree, but the world's largest herb. The fruit itself is botanically a berry.
Bananas are available year-round.
Bananas are well known for their potassium rich flesh. Bananas also full of other nutrient health boosters including vitamin B, C, fiber, and magnesium. They are more calorie dense than most other fruits, making them an extremely efficient and sustainable small meal. Bananas are considered an excellent source of the amino acid tryptophan as well as vitamin B6, which in conjunction helps the body produce serotonin in the brain.
Mangoes range greatly in size, measuring anywhere from 5 to 30 centimeters in length, and weighing from 4 ounces up to 5 pounds. They have leathery, smooth skin, and they can vary in shape from long and slender, to kidney-shaped, or even somewhat round. Their skin is multi-colored with different blends of red, yellow and green, depending on the variety. The succulent, vibrant yellow to orange flesh is aromatic and juicy, with a texture similar to a peach. The flavor is complex and sweet, with notes of peach, coconut, and vanilla or caramel, and is sometimes balanced with a slight tartness. The skin of Mangoes is inedible, and actually contains a sap that can be irritating to some people.
Mangoes are available year-round.
Mangoes can be used in both raw and cooked applications. Just like an avocado, a ripe Mango will give slightly to pressure. Note that the skin doesn't always indicate ripeness due to the variations in color among varieties. Mangoes are a popular ingredient for fresh salsas and chutneys, and are widely used in desserts and baked goods. Use Mangoes to flavor ice cream and gelato, blend or juice for smoothies and other drinks, or slice and dry for a naturally sweet snack. Mangoes contain natural enzymes that help break down proteins, and hence are commonly used in marinades to tenderize meats, like pork. In India, Mango is pureed and mixed with milk or cream and used as a dipping sauce for a type of baked pastry similar to a donut hole. In Thailand, it is used for Mango sticky rice, a traditional dessert made with rice, fresh Mango and coconut milk. The sweet-tart flavor of Mangoes compliments rich, creamy cheeses, and also balances the heat of smoky dishes, pairing well with jalapeno or chile. Mangoes can also be paired with other tropical fruits, apples, berries, citrus, melon and coconut, as well as flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, and caramel. Mangoes that are still firm will continue to ripen if stored at room temperature. Once fully ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
The sweet-tartness of the Golden Delicious means this apple is a good fresh eating variety. Fresh, raw apple slices may be added to green?salads, fruit?salads, or grain?salads. Golden Delicious apples also have the necessary acid content and stability for?baking.
Golden Delicious apples are available fall through summer.
Granny Smith apples are often used in baking because of their high acidity and ability to hold their shape when cooked. Try baked into sweet or savoury pies, tarts, or meat pastries; add to savoury bread stuffing, risotto or potato pancakes. Their sweet-tart flavour is a great addition to soups, smoothies and sauces. Run a juice bar? This is the apple for you for a base for your cold-pressed juices!
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Mario's Green Apple Risotto
Honeycrisp apples maintain their sweet flavour even when cooked. Try baked into a crisp or pie. Remove the skin and slow cook slices to make applesauce, preserves and?apple?butter. Their crisp texture shines in raw preparations, dice and add to coleslaw and chopped salads or slice thin and add to sandwiches and burgers.
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Red Delicious apples are best used in fresh preparations, as their flesh does not hold up well when cooked. Add to green, fruit and chopped?salads. Use as an edible garnish on?sandwiches, quesadillas and burgers.
The Royal Gala is a?crisp, sweet apple with a mild flavour. Galas have yellow-orange skin with red striping. They're among the best apples?for applesauce, salads, eating out-of-hand, and pressing into cider.
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The Cantaloupe is defined by two elements: its roughly netted stone and green colored skin and its aromatic orange-coral colored flesh. When perfectly ripe, the flesh is juicy, unctuous and sweet. The Cantaloupe will feel heavy versus hollow, a weightiness which is an indicator of its water content. The ripe fruit releases its trademark floral musky aroma. It should yield just slightly to finger pressure at its blossom end, which is opposite of its scarred end, where it was removed from the stem. Like other melons, the Cantaloupe's flesh bears a central seed cavity. The Cantaloupe is unique to other melons in both fragrance and its flesh's texture. Most melons simply do not have the same dense and sticky flesh that a cantaloupe does.
Cantaloupes are available year-round.
The Cantaloupe can be used in fresh or raw preparations, both sweet and savory. It is not found to be suited well for cooking. Fresh Cantaloupe can be used as a breakfast fruit and as a salad ingredient. It makes a perfect element in cold or fresh desserts. It also can be used as an ingredient in drinks. Cantaloupe pairs well with feta and goat cheeses, almonds and hazelnuts, mint, citrus and cured pork. Cantaloupe's flavor is unique to all other melon varieties, making substitutes somewhat incomparable. To store, keep unripe Cantaloupes at room temperature. When ripe, refrigerate. Remove melon an hour before serving to bring out its best flavor. Cut Cantaloupe will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for three days.
The Honeydew is round to oval and somewhat larger than the typical cantaloupe, ranging from 4 to 8 pounds. It has a smooth firm outer rind that turns from green to whitish yellow as it matures, transforming from very hard and smooth to almost velvety with a slight stickiness. The crisp yet juicy flesh is medium to pale green with the deepest shade occurring just below the skin. If the blossom end yields to gentle pressure, the melon is ready to eat. Once a Honeydew melon is picked, it may soften but can no longer get any sweeter. Vine-ripened melons picked at their peak maturity will have the best flavor and highest sugar content.
Honeydew melons are available year-round..
Honeydew melons are most often used in fresh preparations such as fruit salads or cold soups. The pureed flesh can be added to sauces, smoothies, cocktails and syrups. The sweet flavor of the Honeydew melon will complement breakfast and dessert preparations. Honeydew pairs well with lime, mint, basil, sweet cream, cottage cheese, fruity olive oil and fresh berries. Store unripe melons at room temperature. Refrigerate ripe melons in a plastic bag for two to three days. Once cut, cover and keep refrigerated.
The Seedless watermelon has the same trademark two-toned variegated green skin and juicy, aromatic sweet flesh as the seeded version. Though it lacks the large hard black seeds of traditional watermelons, the Seedless watermelon can contain small white seeds that are soft and completely edible. Seedless watermelons can be oblong or spherical and range in size from 6 to 25 pounds. They have a densely compacted magenta flesh that is crisp yet succulent.
Seedless watermelons are available year-round with a peak season in the summer months.
Watermelons are renowned for their hydrating properties and the Seedless version is no exception. They are comprised of nearly 90 percent water and also contain vitamins A, C and B-complex group, iron, fiber and the amino acid Arginine which has been shown to boost metabolism. They contain rich supplies of potassium which helps prevent sore muscles and lycopene known for antioxidant benefits.
Navel oranges are medium to large in size, averaging 6-10 centimeters in diameter, and are globular to slightly oval in shape with the trademark ?navel? or circular hole on the blossom stem end. The medium-thick rind matures from green to bright orange and is smooth with a pebbled texture due to many oil glands found across the surface. Underneath the outer layer of the rind, the white pith clings to the flesh, but is easily peeled and has a spongy texture. The pale yellow-orange flesh is juicy, tender, seedless, and divided into 10-12 segments by thin membranes. Navel oranges are aromatic, sweet, and contain a low-acidity which produces a balanced level of sweet, tangy, and tart flavors.
Navel oranges are peak in the winter through spring. But are available year-round.
Recognizable for its deep red flesh color and exceptional flavor, the nearly smooth skin of the red grapefruit sports a characteristic dark pink pretty blush. Having one to six seeds, inside is an intense deep rich red flesh that delivers an absolutely delicious sweet-tart flavor. The redder the flesh, the sweeter the taste. Measuring about three and one-half to four inches in diameter, this grapefruit is smaller than the Ray Ruby and Rio Red varieties.
Locally grown year-round, the peak season for grapefruit is December to May.
Star ruby grapefruit are the standard pink grapefruit in taste, flavor and appearance. Most often eaten fresh in breakfast preparations, grapefruit may also be used in savory salads, baked dishes, or juiced into cocktails, vinaigrette or frozen desserts. The flesh and juice may also be cooked down into sauces, syrups and jams. Pair Star ruby grapefruit with citrus, tropical fruit, avocados, yogurt, root vegetables, fish, and fresh herbs.
Lemons are heavily utilized as a flavoring agent in various forms. The fruit is ovate with pointed ends. Its peel is semi-thick, porous and laden with essential oils. The bright yellow thin outer layer of the peel is very edible and used for multiple applications. When the peel is removed or zested it releases intense sweet citrus aromas. The flesh is translucent yellow and juicy when ripe. Its juice is highly acidic and tart, though extremely versatile in its uses. Depending on variety, lemons may contain no seeds or numerous seeds.
Lemons are available year-round.
Lemons are versatile and can be added to a wide variety of dishes across almost every cuisine. Add juice or zest to soups, dips, mayonnaise and whipped cream. Cook whole lemon slices into marmalade or cook with eggs and butter into curd. Pack lemon slices in salt to preserve. Flavor cakes, breads or scones. Make scented sugar by rubbing lemon zest into sugar granules. Juice fresh lemons and combine with sugar and water to make lemonade, add to cocktails or freeze into granita. Mix with oil for a vinaigrette. Fresh lemons will keep at room temperature or refrigerated for 1-2 weeks.
Limes are small in size, measuring 5-7 centimeters in height and 4-6 centimeters in diameter, and are globular to oblong in shape. The rind, also known as the peel, is thin, smooth and slightly bumpy with many small oil glands visible across the surface, and glossy green transitioning into a yellow hue with maturity. Underneath the rind, the flesh is soft, juicy, pale green, seedless or may contain a few small inedible seeds, and is divided into 10-12 sections by thin white membranes. Limes, depending on the variety, have an aromatic, floral scent with an acidic, tangy, and bright flavor with notes of pine and spice.
Limes are available year-round.
Limes are best suited for fresh applications, and both the juice and zest can be used. Lime juice is a natural tenderizer for meats and is often used in marinades, particularly for ceviche, and can also be used over any dish as a finishing flavor. The juice is also used to flavor salsa and guacamole, doubling as an anti-browning agent for the avocado, used in vinegar, dressings, and sauces, and is commercially produced for limeade. The zest offers bright, citrusy flavors and is used in many of the same applications including baked goods, desserts, and beverages. In Malaysia, Limes are used for jams, jellies, and marmalade. They are also used in India preserved in syrups or pickled for use as a condiment. Limes may be sliced lengthwise or quartered and used as a garnish for cocktails. Limes pair well with meats such as poultry, turkey, beef, pork, and seafood, cauliflower, bell pepper, kale, onions, garlic, avocado, mango, coconut, quinoa, rice, black beans, and herbs such as cilantro, thyme, and oregano. The fruits will keep 1-2 weeks when stored at room temperature and 3-4 weeks when stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Green seedless grapes are small to medium in size and are round to slightly oval in shape, growing in tight or loose clusters depending on the variety. The skin ranges from yellow-green to bright green and is typically crisp, firm, and smooth. The flesh is pale green, semi-translucent, and seedless, though some seedless varieties may have a few underdeveloped seeds that are undetectable when consumed. Green seedless grapes are mild and sweet with a slightly tart flavor.
Green seedless grapes are available year-round, with peak season in the summer through fall
Green seedless grapes are best suited for raw consumption and are most often eaten fresh, out-of-hand, or sliced and mixed into green salads, yogurt, or veggie wraps. They can also be pressed to make juice as the lightly sweet, yet tart flavor is perfect for cocktails and wine spritzers, or they can be dried to make raisins. Green seedless grapes can be roasted and cooked down into sauces and jams or frozen and whipped into an instant sorbet. Green seedless grapes pair well with pancetta, prosciutto, cheeses such as brie, gorgonzola, and cream cheese, cucumber, pecans, and sunflower seeds. They will keep up to two weeks when stored in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen whole for up to twelve months.
Red seedless grapes are small to medium in size and are round to slightly oblong in shape, growing in medium to large clusters. The hue of a Red seedless grape can vary widely depending on the variety and local growing conditions, but it usually ranges from a light red to a deep burgundy. The thin skin may also contain a dusty film, also known as a bloom, and this layer forms a natural waterproof barrier which prevents the delicate skin from cracking. The translucent flesh is juicy and is considered seedless, though a few small undetectable and undeveloped seeds may be present. Red seedless grapes are firm, crisp, and sweet with a mild, neutral flavor.
Red seedless grapes are available year-round, with peak season in the summer through fall.
Red seedless grapes are best suited for raw applications and are most often eaten fresh, out-of-hand. They can be used in fruit salads, smoothies, sorbets, sandwiches, and on green salads. In addition to adding the grapes raw to dishes, they can also be roasted in curries, roasted and spread on toast with creamy cheeses, or cooked down into sauces, syrups, and jams. They can also be baked into tarts, cakes, and flat-breads. Red seedless grapes pair well with meats such as salami, chicken, and steak, shrimp, olives, rosemary, basil, mint, cheeses such as brie, Swiss, and Gruyere, and Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, apples, walnuts, and pecans. They will keep up to two weeks when stored in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen whole for up to twelve months.
Bartlett pears are medium to large in size and are the only pears that have a true pyri-form, or pear shape, which has a rounded large bottom half and tapers to a smaller curved neck with a light brown, slender stem. The skin brightens as it ripens, transforming from green to a golden yellow, and is smooth, firm, and thick with some blushing and russeting. The flesh is aromatic, moist, cream-colored to ivory, and is fine-grained encasing a central core containing a few small, black-brown seeds. When mature but not fully ripe, Bartlett pears are crunchy, tart, and slightly gritty, but when fully ripe, they develop a juicy, smooth, buttery texture with a sweet flavor.
Bartlett pears are available year-round, with peak season in the fall through winter.
Bartlett pears are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as baking, boiling, and grilling. They can be eaten fresh, out-of-hand, added to salads for a sweet flavor, sliced into wedges and served on cheese boards, or blended into a granita to top ice cream. Bartlett pears can also be layered in sandwiches such as grilled cheese, used as a topping over pizza, or chopped with other fruits and stuffed in poblano chilies in Mexico?s independence day dish known as chilies en noganda. Also, the pears can be smoked over a charcoal grill for added flavor or sliced to add a sweet flavor to cocktails with tequila and mezcal. Bartlett pears also make excellent preserves, syrups, and chutneys, can be dried, and make great additions to cakes, muffins, crisps, and quick bread. Bartlett pears compliment gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, garlic, onions, shallots, poblano chilies, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, pomegranate seeds, strawberry, apple, spinach, pork, chicken, lamb, oysters, oregano, rosemary, parsley, mint, cilantro, Thai basil, lemongrass, matcha green tea powder, cinnamon, allspice, and honey. They will keep up to three weeks when stored in the refrigerator and a little over one year when stored in the freezer.
Bosc pears are medium to large in size and are oblong in shape with a rounded bottom that gradually tapers to an elongated neck and a slender green-brown stem. The thick skin is golden tan and is covered in rough, brown russeting with some mottling. The ivory to off-white flesh is firm, dense, and crisp with an intense honeyed aroma and has a central, soft core encasing a few small black-brown seeds. When ripe, Bosc pears are juicy, crunchy, and have a very sweet flavor with notes of woodsy spice.
Bosc pears are available in the fall through early spring.
Bosc pears are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as broiling, baking, poaching, and drying. They can be consumed fresh, out-of-hand at room temperature or can be sliced and dipped in dark chocolate for a sweet treat. They can also be sliced for green leafy salads or displayed on cheese boards. A common misconception is that Bosc pears must be peeled or cooked before being consumed, which is neither true nor necessary. Bosc pears stand up to cooking and retain their shape, making them ideal for tarts, pies, popovers, glazing, and poaching. They can also be halved, grilled and topped with gorgonzola cheese and chopped walnuts, layered in sandwiches and on pizza, mixed into oatmeal, pureed into soup, or sliced into pancakes. Bosc pears compliment pesto, browned butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, walnut, hazelnut, mint, chocolate, gorgonzola, burrata, goat cheese, honey, red onions, butternut squash, dates, garlic, chicken, and pork. They should be kept at room temperature until ripe and will keep up to an additional week when stored in the refrigerator.
About the size of an egg, kiwifruit is wrapped in a russet-brown thin skin with short rather stiff hairs. The kaleidoscope-like almost glistening emerald green firm pulp is dotted with a large amount of dark nearly black tiny edible seeds that create this fruit's characteristic interior starburst pattern. Sometimes the flesh may be yellow, brownish or off-white. Sweet tart with a slightly acidic edge, this decorative fruit's succulent flavor is mainly sweet.
Kiwifruit is available from California during the winter months. New Zealand kiwifruit is available in spring and supplies arrive from Chile during the summer months.
Puree; enhance juices and beverages. Even though the skin is edible, the fruit is usually peeled. Slice for garnish. Containing a meat-tenderizing enzyme, place sliced peels with some flesh attached directly on meat; marinate thirty minutes for each inch of the meat's thickness. To make a kiwifruit salsa, blend four peeled kiwis, one teaspoon minced jalape?o pepper, one tablespoon orange juice, one tablespoon chopped fresh mint and a pinch of salt. Serve with grilled swordfish, grilled poultry and roast pork. Bananas, berries, mangoes, strawberries, raspberries and oranges are especially partial to kiwifruit. To store, refrigerate ripe fruit up to ten days. Refrigerated unripe fruit lasts up to one month.
Pineapples have the shape of a pinecone, and can reach up to 30 centimeters in length. They have a rough, waxy, hexagonal-patterned rind that is covered in small, soft spikes and topped with a compact grouping of narrow, green, pointed-tipped leaves that extend upright. The rind can range in color from green to yellow or reddish-orange when ripe. The flesh varies in shades of white or yellow, depending on the variety, and modern cultivated varieties are known to be seedless. The loosely fibrous and juicy flesh offers a sweet flavor with mild acidity, while the edible core is firmer, more leathery, and less sweet.
Pineapples are available year-round with a peak season in the spring and summer months.
Pineapples can be used raw or cooked. To prepare the pineapple for use, cut off the top and the base, stand the pineapple upright and slice away the skin in a downward vertical motion. The core can be left in or removed depending on preference, though it is edible, and can even be pressed for juice. Raw pineapple can be eaten as is, and also juiced or pureed for smoothies and fruit cocktails, like a pina colada. Fresh pineapple can be roasted, grilled, or baked for desserts, including pineapple upside-down cake. It can also be cooked and sweetened as a topping for custards and cheesecakes. Try dicing and pairing fresh pineapple with tomato, herbs and chilies for a salsa to accompany seafood. The enzyme, bromelain, contained in pineapples helps break down proteins, and hence pineapple juice is often used as a marinade for meats, especially pork. Fresh pineapple is highly perishable, and if kept at room temperature it should be eaten within a couple days. Store in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life up to 5 days. Fresh, cut pineapple can be covered in its natural juice and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days, or frozen for up to about 6 months.