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.
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.Learn more
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.Learn more
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.Learn more
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.Learn more
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.Learn more
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, medjool, 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. To learn about different varieties of dates, click here.Learn more