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.
chayote
chayote
This mild-flavored squash looks like a wrinkled, pale green pear. It needs to be cooked before serving, and for a longer time than other summer squash. You should peel a chayote before cooking it, but don't take the seed out--it's edible and tasty. Cooked chayotes make good low-fat substitutes for avocados.
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cherimoya
cherimoya
This South American tropical fruit is shaped like a pine cone and has a gray-green, scaly skin. The soft white pulp inside has large black (inedible) seeds and tastes like a creamy blend of tropical flavors. Hard cherimoyas should be stored at room temperature until they give a little when squeezed, then they should be refrigerated until they're ready to serve.
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cherry
cherry
There are three main categories of cherries: sweet cherries, which are for eating out of hand, sour cherries, which are best suited for making pies, preserves, and sauces, and tart chokecherries.
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cherry pepper
cherry pepper
Along with pepperoncini, this is a good pickling pepper. They are moderately hot, and range in color from orange to bright red.
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cherry tomato
cherry tomato
These are less than an inch in diameter, perfect for adding to salads or crudité platters, or grilling on skewers. There are both red and yellow varieties.
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chilaca pepper
chilaca pepper
When dried, a chilaca pepper is called a pasilla chile. They are mild.
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Chilcostle chili
Chilcostle chili
This hard-to-find and moderately hot Mexican chili is used in soups, stews, tamales, and mole sauces. It imparts a yellowish color to dishes.
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chile de árbol dried
chile de árbol dried
Unlike many chilies, these remain bright red even after drying, so they're a favorite for making chili wreaths. They're very hot and somewhat acidic. Don't confuse the dried version with the fresh or powdered versions, which go by the same name.
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Chilhuacle negro chile
Chilhuacle negro chile
This excellent Mexican chili is loaded with flavor but hard to find. It's used to make mole negro and bean dishes. It is moderately hot.
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Chinese date (dried)
Chinese date (dried)
When fresh, these fruits are crisp like apples and have a mild, sweet flavor. In the United States, they're most often available dried. Chinese are different than middle eastern palm dates.
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Chinese date (fresh)
Chinese date (fresh)
These are usually dried, but you can sometimes find fresh dates in late summer and fall. When you get them home, let them ripen on the counter for awhile until they become soft and sweet. Chinese are different than middle eastern palm dates.
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Chinese eggplant
Chinese eggplant
Compared to the familiar American eggplant, Chinese eggplants have thinner skins, a more delicate flavor, and not as many of the seeds that tend to make eggplants bitter.
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chipotle pepper
chipotle pepper
These dried and smoked jalapeño peppers lend a wonderful, complex flavor to sauces. They're usually rehydrated and canned in adobo sauce, but you can also buy them dried in cellophane bags. They are medium hot.
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chokecherry
chokecherry
These are too tart for most people to eat out of hand, but they make delicious preserves.
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citron
citron
This resembles a large, bumpy lemon. Its thick rind is used to make marmalade, and its zest is a close substitute to lemon zest.
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cloudberry
cloudberry
Both the color and flavor of these Scandinavian berries pale in comparison to the raspberry.
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cloudberry preserves
cloudberry preserves
These preserves are sweet and somewhat mild. Look for them in Scandinavian markets.
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coconut
coconut
The most common form of coconut in markets is the dry coconut, with a hard brown shell surrounding firm coconut meat with liquid in the center. Green coconuts = water coconuts are young coconuts with very soft meat inside. They're more often found in the tropics. Select coconuts that are free of cracks or mold, that are heavy for their size, and that have lots of water in them when you shake them. To crack one, hit it along its equator with a blunt instrument, pouring off the water when the first crack appears.
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Comice pear
Comice pear
These juicy pears are considered to be the best for eating out of hand, but they're very expensive.
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Cortland apple
Cortland apple
These are all-purpose apples. Since their flesh is slow to brown after it's cut, Cortland apples are especially good in salads. If substituting another variety in a salad, dip it in acidulated water first to keep it from darkening.
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Costeño Amarillo
Costeño Amarillo
This yellow Mexican chili is used to make soups, stews, and mole sauces. It's fruity and moderately hot and somewhat hard to find.
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cousa squash
This Middle-Eastern summer squash looks a lot like spaghetti squash, only it has a thin, edible skin. It's similar to zucchini, but its larger size makes it a natural for stuffing.
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crab apple
crab apple
These small apples are too tart to eat raw, but they're loaded with pectin and make great jams and jellies.
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cracked Provencal
These aromatic green olives are marinated in a solution with herbes de Provence.
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cranberry
cranberry
These tart berries are traditionally used to makes sauces and garnishes for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It's best to buy them at their peak in October and November, and freeze any that you don't use right away.
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cranberry juice
cranberry juice
See the recipe for Cranberry Juice posted by Veggies Unite!
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cranberry sauce
cranberry sauce
This is a classic accompaniment to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It's made of cranberries that have been cooked with sugar and other flavorings, like orange zest, ginger, port, or maple syrup.
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Crane melon
Crane melon
This melon-cantaloupe cross is exceptionally juicy and flavorful, but it's hard to find outside of Sonoma County, California.
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Cranshaw melon
Cranshaw melon
This large, popular melon is a cross between the Persian and Casaba melons. The rinds come in two colors: yellow and creamy white. The yellow ones taste better. You can buy Cranshaws while they're still a little underripe and let them sit on the counter for a few days. When fully ripe, a Cranshaw will be fragrant and yield slightly to gentle pressure at its blossom end. They're best in the fall.
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Criterion apple
This is a good apple for eating out of hand, or for making applesauce or pies. Its flesh is slow to brown after it's cut.
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crystallized ginger
crystallized ginger
This is fresh ginger that has been cooked in a sugar solution and then coated with sugar. It's similar to candied ginger, and the two are often used interchangeably.
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cuaresmeno - fresh
cuaresmeno - fresh
They are moderately hot.
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cubanelle
cubanelle
These sweet, mild peppers are usually sold while yellowish-green. They become hotter and redder as they mature.
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currant
currant
These berries are too tart for most people to eat out of hand, but they make terrific preserves and garnishes. They come in three colors: red, white, and black. If color's not important, you can use them interchangeably in most recipes, though red and white currants aren't as tart as black. Don't confuse these berries with the dried fruit of the same name that looks like a small raisin. You can sometimes find fresh currants in specialty produce markets in the summer. If not, frozen currants are a good substitute.
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currant tomato
currant tomato
These are about half the size of cherry tomatoes.
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currants
currants
These dried Zante grapes look like tiny raisins. Don't confuse them with the fresh sour berry that also called a currant.
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date
date
These are rich in flavor, nutrients, and calories. Medjool dates are richer and meatier than the other Deglet Noor dates. Other varieties include Khalas, sukkary, barhi, rutab, ajwa and kimia. If you plan to chop them, look for cooking dates, date pieces, or pressed dates--they're a lot cheaper than the exquisite dessert dates that are intended to be eaten whole. Don't confuse dates with fresh dates, which are hard to find in supermarkets.
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dates (fresh)
dates (fresh)
Fresh dates are sometimes available at farmer's markets in the late summer. They're crunchy, and not as sweet as dried dates.
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deglet noor date
deglet noor date
These honey sweet translucent dates are enjoyed in North Africa. They originated in Algeria.
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delicata squash
delicata squash
This is one of the tastier winter squashes, with creamy pulp that tastes a bit like sweet potatoes. Choose squash that are heavy for their size.
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dewberry
dewberry
These are similar to blackberries, only they're smaller.
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donut peach
donut peach
These squat peaches have white flesh, and a very good flavor. Use them as you would ordinary peaches.
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dragon fruit
dragon fruit
This comes from a cactus native to Central and South America, and has a mild flavor. To eat it, either peel it or cut it in half and scoop out the white, polka-dotted pulp with a spoon. Select dragon fruit by pressing it gently. It should give just a little.
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dried apple
dried apple
These are popular additions to trail mixes. They're often treated with sulfur to improve their color and shelf life.
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dried apricot
dried apricot
Turkish dried apricots are lighter in color and milder in flavor than other varieties. They're often treated with sulfur to improve their color and shelf life.
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dried apricot paste
dried apricot paste
People in the Middle East usually make a drink out of this fruit leather by putting it into boiling water. During Ramadan, it's often served before and after the day-long fast. Look for it in Middle Eastern markets.
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dried banana
dried banana
These usually come in two forms: long spears, which are very sweet and best for cooking, and chips, which are fried in oil, crunchy, and best suited for trail mixes.
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