Every season I try and fill my refrigerator with healthy foods and fresh fruits for my family. Since we are always “on the go” between work, school and the kids sports games, I need to make sure the fruits I give my family are clean, prepared and easy to eat on the run. When I can, I prefer to buy organic fruits to minimize the exposure of pesticides.
Here are five of my favorite fruits for this spring season:
- Fresh Apricots are a good source of fiber and potassium and an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Plump, firm, and uniformly colored apricots are the best to buy. Fresh apricots can be stored at room temperature until they are ripe. After ripened, store them in a plastic bag in the fridge no more than three to five days. Sear sliced apricots in a pan with butter and cinnamon until warm, then top it off with some walnuts. Make a parfait filled with apricots and other spring fruits. Bake, broil or saute some apricot slices topped with cinnamon.
- Mangos, the most widely consumed fruit in the world, have a sweet aroma and are best eaten when they are slightly firm. They are cholesterol and sodium free and are full of vitamins A and C. Mangos are at their best when they are stored at room temperature for one to two days, but they can still hold their taste if you peel and cut them and store in the fridge. Slice and freeze mangos and add them to your tea. Puree a mango and drizzle it over some vanilla ice cream topped with blueberries. Blend mangos and orange juice and freeze them in ice cube trays for a refreshing spring drink. Mix mangos into your pancakes and zest up your breakfast!
- Barbados Cherries are an excellent source of vitamin C. Firm red cherries with the stems attached are the best to eat. Handle ripe cherries carefully to avoid bruising them. Cherries can be stored in the fridge up to five days but they are best when eaten right away. Top your favorite ice cream or yogurt with some ripe cherries. Bake a cherry pie. Puree some cherries and add them to a glass of cold seltzer water and ice cubes for a refreshing cherry spritzer.
- Honeydew Melon is very high in vitamin C and low in sodium. The best part about honeydews is that they taste better if they are left unrefrigerated for a few days. However, once they are cut honeydews can be stored up to two weeks in the fridge. When selecting a honeydew, choose a well-shaped, spherical one. The weight should be heavy and the surface should feel waxy, not fuzzy. Puree honeydew and mix with a splash of lime and some sugar for a great tasting popsicle. Wrap up slices of melon with slices of ham for the perfect tasting appetizer. Add some melon pieces and honey to your favorite yogurt. Blend honey dew and ice together to make a perfect spring slush.
- Lychees are grown in China for over 2000 years. They are an excellent source of vitamin C. To get to the fruit, peel back half the skin and squeeze out the fruit. Choose heavy lychees with red shells. Lychees with brown patches are sweeter. Store lychees in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to ten days. Stuff lychees with cream cheese, pecans, some shreds of coconut and a splash of orange juice for a great afternoon snack. Top off your pancakes or waffles with some lychee slices. Make a sweet sauce for chicken or pork by mixing together lychees, raisins and red onions.
What are your favorite spring fruits? Send your comments and recipes to us!