the Best in Fruit
BY DANA JACOBI
FOR THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR CANCER RESEARCH
Equinox on March 20th marks the first day of spring. I celebrate
its arrival by serving steamed, tender asparagus and lightly
buttered, sweet green peas, two of the seasons earliest
though, I pass up the picture-perfect, California-grown strawberries
that glow prettily at the market. Glorious though they look,
their taste is often so disappointing that I prefer to serve
It may surprise
you to learn I sometimes prefer canned over fresh fruit. But,
at this time of year, it makes sense to use canned or frozen
fruit. Although many people disdain them because they are processed,
they taste better than most of the fresh fruit available in the
early spring. They also maintain their nutritional value.
fruit isnt always the best tasting is easy to forget. Todays
agricultural giants truck in apples from cold storage and haul
strawberries to market where snow still blankets the ground.
They bring apricots, nectarines and cherries from Chile, and
kiwi fruit from New Zealand. When it is still freezing outside,
wheeling a cart down a produce aisle can make one feel like Alice
going through the looking glass into Wonderland.
But the fantasy
doesnt last long. Many fruits fare poorly in shipping unless
rock hard, especially pears. Some fruit is so hard, it crunches
when you bite into it. Picked long before reaching its sweet
but fragile peak, its flavor is modest.
fruit for processing is picked fully ripe, then handled quickly
to maintain its luscious flavor and nutritional content. These
hard realities are why canned fruit is a great choice.
you can make out-of-season fruit shine by providing some simple
attention in the kitchen. Sprinkle peeled, sliced navel oranges
with chopped candied ginger. Float thawed frozen berries and
halved, pitted cherries in orange juice spiked with a touch of
vanilla extract. Give canned pears gourmet appeal by gently simmering
them with dried cranberries and spices. The result is so good
people will think the recipe came from a celebrity chef.
- Makes 5 to 6 servings.
3 cups cranberry-raspberry
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 strips orange zest, 2-inches x 1-inch
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves (or more, if desired)
Two cans (15 oz. each) pear halves in concentrated juice
juice, cranberries, zest and spices in a deep saucepan. Bring
to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook
until mixture is reduced to about 2 cups, about 10 to 12 minutes.
drain pears, reserving liquid for another use. (The juice makes
a refreshing beverage mixed equally with club soda.) Place pears
in a serving bowl. Pour hot liquid over pears. Set aside to cool
and let sit 20 minutes at room temperature before serving. (Pears
keep 3 to 4 days, refrigerated.)
Per serving: 183 calories, less than 1 g. total fat (0 g. saturated
fat), 46 g. carbohydrate, less than 1 g. protein, 3 g. dietary
fiber, 8 mg. sodium.