Fruit

Fruit
Includes berries, citrus fruit, melons, tropical fruit, and tomatoes
Fruits are the matured ovaries of plants, containing the seeds for the next generation of plants. Many plants cunningly make their fruits sweet, the better to attract animals like us to eat them and disperse the seeds. Fruits are often delicious enough to eat out of hand, but they can also be made into tarts, compotes, shakes, juices, preserves, liqueurs, and many other things.
black currant
black currant
These are too tart to eat out of hand, but they're often used to make syrups, preserves, and the liqueur cassis. Frozen are a good substitute for fresh.
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black currant jelly
black currant jelly
Black currant jelly is sweeter than more common red currant jelly.
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black olives
black olives
These are olives that have been allowed to ripen on the tree. American recipes that call for black olives are probably referring to the Mission olive. Other varieties of black olives are the Aleppo, Alphonso, Amphissa, black Cerignola, Gaeta, black Greek, Kalamata, Ligurian, Lugano, Moroccan dry-cured, Niçoise, Nyons, Ponentine, and Royal.
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black sapote
black sapote
This fruit has an olive-green rind and tastes like a papaya that's been sprinkled with cocoa.
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blackberry
blackberry
These would be excellent berries were it not for their rather large seeds. They're still great for eating out of hand, but cooks often strain out the seeds when making pies and preserves. Select berries that are free of mold, and as black as possible. They arrive in markets in the summer.
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blood orange
blood orange
These red-fleshed oranges are more popular in Europe than in the United States. Look for them in the winter and spring.
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blueberry
blueberry
Blueberries are small and sturdy, so they're perfect for tossing into cakes, muffins, cereal bowls, and fruit salads. Like other berries, they also make good preserves and tarts. Select firm, dark berries that have a whitish bloom on them. Keep them refrigerated and wash them just before you eat them. You can find fresh blueberries in the summer, but frozen blueberries are available year-round and work well in many recipes. Frozen berries get a little mushy after they're defrosted, but they'll work well in many recipes. Canned blueberries also work in pies and baked goods, but drain off the liquid and rinse them first.
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Bosc pear
Bosc pear
This firm and crunchy pear is the best choice for cooking, because it holds its shape nicely. Bosc pears can also be eaten out of hand.
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boysenberry
boysenberry
A boysenberry is a cross between a blackberry, a raspberry, and a loganberry. It's more fragile than a blackberry, but it doesn't have the blackberry's conspicuous seeds. Select boysenberries that are dark in color and free of mold.
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Braeburn apple
Braeburn apple
This firm and juicy apple is good for eating out of hand or for baking.
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breadfruit
breadfruit
This is the plant that the H.M.S. Bounty was carrying in the South Pacific when its crew mutinied. Captain Bligh's goal had been to transport the seedlings from Tahiti to the Caribbean, so that slaves there would have a ready source of starch and calories. Breadfruit is highly perishable, so fresh ones are hard to find outside the tropics. The canned version is a good substitute. A seeded version is called a breadnut.
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Buddha's hand citron
Buddha's hand citron
This fragrant fruit has hardly any flesh, but the peel can be candied
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bull's horn pepper
bull's horn pepper
This Italian heirloom pepper is shaped like a bull's horn, and many cooks think it's a lot more flavorful than an ordinary bell pepper.
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buttercup squash
buttercup squash
With sweet and creamy orange flesh, the buttercup is one of the more highly regarded winter squashes. The biggest shortcoming is that it tends to be a bit dry. Choose specimens that are heavy for their size.
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butternut squash
butternut squash
This variety is very popular because it's so easy to use. It's small enough to serve a normal family without leftovers, and the rind is thin enough to peel off with a vegetable peeler. As an added bonus, the flavor is sweet, moist, and pleasantly nutty.
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cachucha pepper
These small sweet peppers come in different colors and looks like squished bell peppers. They're popular in the Caribbean, where they're often stuffed and roasted.
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calabaza
calabaza
These are popular in Hispanic countries and throughout the Caribbean. They're large, so markets often cut them up before selling them.
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California chili
California chili
These are dried Anaheim chiles, and very mild.
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California sugar pear
California sugar pear
This small pear is the same size as a Seckel pear, but it's not as juicy and sweet.
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Cameo apple
Cameo apple
This firm, mildly tart apple is quite versatile. Use Cameos in pies, applesauce, salads, or just eat them out of hand.
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Canary melon
Canary melon
These tend to vary in quality, so unless you're good at selecting melons, stick with more idiot-proof varieties like the honeydew or cantaloupe. Canaries should, at a minimum, have bright yellow rinds. They're in season in the fall.
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candied angelica
candied angelica
These are used to make decorative flower stems on cakes.
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candied chestnuts
candied chestnuts
A French specialty, these are whole chestnuts that are candied in a sugar syrup. They're used to make various desserts.
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candied ginger
candied ginger
Candied ginger is ginger that is stored in a sugary syrup, but the name is also sometimes used for crystallized ginger, which is ginger that's been cooked in syrup, then dried out and rolled in sugar. The two are often used interchangeably.
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canistel
canistel
This is a very sweet fruit, roughly the size of an egg, with a shell the color of an egg yolk.
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cantaloupe
cantaloupe
These are popular because they're easy to select and very sweet. Ripe cantaloupes have dull yellow backgrounds with raised netting. Avoid those with protruding stems, or tears in the rind at the stem end--it's a tell-tale sign that the melon was picked too soon. When ripe melons are picked, the stem falls off easily, leaving a small, clean depression. After checking the stem end, flip the melon over and check the blossom end. It should be fragrant and yield a bit when pressed. Cantaloupes are cheapest in the summer.
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Cape gooseberry
Cape gooseberry
Like its relative the tomatillo, the Cape gooseberry is covered with a papery husk. The fruit inside looks a bit like a yellow cherry, and tastes like a sweet tomato. You can eat Cape gooseberries whole, minus the husk, or use them to make very tasty preserves. They're hard to find in the United States; your best bet is a specialty produce market in the spring.
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carissa
carissa
You won't find these in markets, but these tart plums are great for making preserves.
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casaba melon
casaba melon
These aren't as flavorful as other melons, but they have a fairly long shelf life. Since they have thick rinds, it's useless to smell them as a test for ripeness. Look instead at the color (it should be bright yellow), and then check to see if the blossom end yields to gentle pressure.
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cascabel pepper - dried
cascabel pepper - dried
These are nicknamed rattle chiles because the seeds rattle when you shake them. They're a rich brown color and moderately hot.
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cashew apple
cashew apple
This Brazilian fruit looks like a squishy apple with an odd-looking stem growing out of it. According to botanists, though, the grayish "stem" is actually the fruit, and it encloses the kidney-shaped cashew nut that we're familiar with. The cashew apple is the yellowish-orange part that's attached to the fruit. This fruit is juicy but somewhat astringent due to a high concentration of tannin. Be careful of the grayish substance that encloses the nut. It contains toxic oils.
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Catarina chili dried
Catarina chili dried
This medium-hot Mexican chili is used to make tamales, marinades, stews and soups. It's got a fruity flavor with just a hint of tobacco.
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cayenne pepper - fresh
cayenne pepper - fresh
These are often used in Cajun recipes. Green cayennes appear in the summer, while hotter red cayennes come out in the fall. They are very hot.
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cayenne pepper dried
cayenne pepper dried
These are very hot, bright red chilies. Recipes that call for cayenne pepper are likely referring to a ground powder that goes by the same name, or possibly to the fresh version of the pepper.
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Cerignola olive
Cerignola olive
These sweet Italian olives are large enough to stuff. Black Cerignolas are softer than green Cerignolas.
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Charantais melon
Charantais melon
This is reputed to be one of the best melon varieties of all.
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