Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sherri's Helpful Hints

Enjoying Summer Fruits

Berries: Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries add a wonderful touch to salads, drinks and desserts. Berries make a delicious topping for yogurt, cereal or mixed into smoothies and shakes.

Nectarines: These are relatives of the peach and are smaller, sweeter and smooth-skinned. You can slice them and add them to fruit salads for a delicious touch.

Peaches: There are two types of peaches: cling and freestone. The most common variety in your supermarket is usually freestone. These range in color from pink-blushed white to red-blushed yellow. They have soft flesh that separates easily from the seed (thus the name freestone), making them great for baking. Eat them as a snack or use in pies and cobblers.

Cherries: These can be either sweet or tart. Firm, heart-shaped cherries are sweet and can be eaten as a snack or made into pies and cobblers. Sour cherries are too tart to eat by themselves, but they're great for baking or for jams and preserves.

Plums: They range in color from red to purple to golden and their flavors vary as well. Plums can be slightly tart to really sweet. They are great in fruit salads, for snacks or for jams and jellies.

How to store your fruit

Peaches, plums and nectarines will keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days. Refrigerate them only when they are ripe, as they will stop ripening once refrigerated. They are at their juiciest when at room temperature; if they are not quite ripe and you want to speed up the process, place them in a paper bag for 1 to 2 days.

Cherries should be shiny, firm and plump. They are very perishable and need to be refrigerated. They will keep for up to 2 days.

Berries are best when firm and brightly colored. Sort them before you store them in the fridge, removing any bruised berries. Wash them when you are ready to use them, moisture hastens decaying. Use fresh raspberries and blackberries as soon as possible.

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