Fruits Can Enhance and Entertain (cont.)

Speaking of citrus, I sampled an Australian orange and can report that this is an orange, whatever its Down Under pedigree. It looked like a tangerine with a snout and peeled easily.

Cherimoya

Pronounced "cheer-i-moya," this pale green "hand grenade" with shingled skin reportedly tastes like pineapple, mango, and strawberry. Schueller describes the taste as tutti-frutti. Cherimoyas are generally available year-round, and the white flesh can be eaten as a snack or baked into treats, such as a waffle.

Cherimoyas contain vitamin C, phosphorus, and thiamine. A respectable chunk contains 95 calories and less than 1 gram of fat.

Pomegranate

This unusual fruit from the Iran (Persia) area figured in Greek mythology. "It's been around for a long time," agrees Schueller. It's a rosy pod of gel-covered seeds. Apparently, the gel is highly successful as a dye. Don't open one unless you have a shirt you use just for opening pomegranates, Schueller jokes. Even then, open the fruit and rake the seeds out of the overturned rind underwater, he advises.

People eat both the seeds and pulp, although some prefer the surrounding gel to the seeds. Pomegranates are tart! And low in fat and sodium while high in fiber and potassium.

OK, here I go. Opened it. Should have worn the shirt! Nuts. It's seedy, with some clear, rose-colored goo around the seeds. Quite tasty!

Star Fruit

Also called a carambola, star fruit looks like an oval with fins running the length of it. When you slice it sideways, the fins form a star pattern. It's available from Florida year-round.

Buy it green and let it sit out, Schueller recommends. Wait until the fin edges turn black and it emits a fruity smell.

Star fruit reportedly has pale yellow, juicy flesh with a distinctly tropical flavor, whatever that might imply to you. It contains vitamins A and C and potassium.

Melissa's recommends combining sliced star fruit with 20 ounces of crushed pineapple, a pack of lemon sugar-free gelatin, two cups of buttermilk, a cup of shredded cheese, and 8 ounces of whipped topping. Mix up and chill thoroughly, then place some "stars" on top. Voila!

Like all of these, star fruit pudding may be an acquired taste.

Doctors recommend you eat at least five servings of fruit or veggies a day. Better yet -- nine! Sometimes you can do this best by combining fruit in a smoothie in the blender, says Bickford.

I also noticed some recipes for exotic fruits called for alcohol. I guess "margarita-ed" is also acceptable.

SOURCES: Paula C. Bickford, PhD, professor, Center for Aging and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine and James A. Haley Veterans Hospital. Robert Schueller, director of public relations, Melissa's World Variety Produce, Los Angeles.

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Last Editorial Review: 10/27/2004 8:40:24 PM