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.
Peaches are round fruits that range in size from 5 to 9 centimeters in diameter. They are distinguished by a downy fuzz covering their thin skins. The fruits mature from green to yellow and then orange with deep red blushing on the side facing the sun. The deep orange flesh is aromatic and juicy and may or may not cling to the hard, almond-shaped central stone. Peaches offer a sweet flavor, balancing sugar and acid for a well-rounded flavor.
Peaches are available year-round, with a peak season during the summer months.
Peaches are ideal for eating raw and are used in a variety of cooked applications, from savory to sweet. Freestone varieties are most often used for fresh eating and are most common in markets. Some varieties are typically used for processing but are also becoming more popular at farmer?s markets. Wash Peaches thoroughly before using. They are sliced for fruit salads or tossed green salads or used for canapes or hors d?oeurves. They are blended into smoothies or milkshakes, or juiced for beverages, cocktails, vinaigrette's or dressings. Peaches are ideal for baking, grilling and processing into jams, syrups, ice creams or preserved in syrup. Their most common use is for baking into desserts like cakes, pies, tarts and galettes. Sliced Peaches can be frozen or canned. Store them in the refrigerator for up to a week.
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.