HomeHealthArchivesAug 2004


Simply Fruit
Adapted from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet.

Winter fruits-- apples, bananas, pears are fine with me, but while they offer nourishment during the cold seasons, I can't say they cause my palate any excitement. It's summer's lush, ripe fruits that entice me far more. Summer fruits need little or no embellishment, though I think that cutting them up to reveal their colorful, glistening interiors and release their scent is more inviting than eating them whole. These past few summers I have enjoyed teaming two or three fruits whose colors and flavors synergize well.

You don't need quantities, but I give some only as a guideline. Once the fruit is washed and cut up (though obviously you need not cut berries, with the exception of strawberries, and not even those if they are small), it should be eaten right away.

Mango and blueberries: What a dramatic pairing of colors! Depending on how many people you're serving, combine 1 or 2 peeled, diced mangos (large chunks are fine) with 1 to 2 cups blueberries.

Strawberries and blueberries or blackberries: Hull about 1 pint sweet, ripe strawberries. Cut them in half and combine with 1 cup or so of blueberries or blackberries. Gorgeous!

Honeydew or cantaloupe and raspberries: The pretty red of raspberries adds a decorative punctuation to the pale green or orange of the melons. Cut up half of a large, lush honeydew or a whole cantaloupe into bite-sized chunks (or use some of each), and combine with about a cup of raspberries.

Peaches or nectarines and berries: If the fruit is perfectly ripe, this is heavenly. Use late-summer peaches or nectarines from a farmers market, not those that arrive at the supermarket as hard as stones. Use about 4 to 6 peaches or nectarines, pitted and diced, and a cup or two of whatever late summer berry you can find.

Green plums, apricots, and red grapes: Have you ever seen green plums? No, they are not unripe, that's the color of some varieties. They are sweet, rather than tart as their color may suggest. Combine 2 or 3 pitted and diced green plums with 3 or 4 pitted and diced fresh apricots and a good-sized bunch of crisp red grapes, taken off their stems, of course.

Cantaloupe and black plums: Combine a lush cantaloupe, cut into bite-sized chunks, with a few of those wonderful black plums that have the deep, sweet red flesh.

Cantaloupe, watermelon, and blueberries: Here's a classic trio for midsummer. For ease, I like to use seedless watermelon. Use about half of a lush cantaloupe and a quarter of a good-sized watermelon, both cut into large, bite-sized chunks, and a cup or so of blueberries.

Yellow watermelon and berries: Try finding yellow watermelon-- it's becoming more prevalent. Its flavor is not that different from the more common type of watermelon, but its cheery color makes it even more appealing. Combine about a quarter of a large melon or half of a small one with a cup or two of whatever midsummer berry you'd like. This is attractive with blackberries.