Winter Fruit & Vegetables Tips, Recipes (cont.)
Nutrition Tip: Four kumquats contain 5 grams of fiber (mostly the insoluble type) and 38% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
Storage Tip: Store kumquats in a cool area for up to 7 days, or refrigerate unwashed, wrapped in plastic, and in the crisper drawer up to two weeks.
Prep Tip: Kumquats look like tiny oval oranges. Here's the fun part -- the entire kumquat is edible (peel and all!) Roll the fruit gently between your palms to release the fragrant oils. Eat them whole, chopped, sliced, or halved.
Cooking Tip: Add them raw to all sorts of salads, or cook them (bake, broil, saute, or simmer). Kumquat's flavor works well with fish, pork, or game or in marmalade or relish.
Orange (December-April, some varieties)
Nutrition Tip: One orange (2 1/8-inch diameter) contains 3.5 grams fiber (a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber) and 11% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B1 and folic acid, and 107% of vitamin C.
Storage Tip: The juiciest oranges will feel heavy for their size. Store at room temperature for about one week or refrigerate for up to three weeks.
Prep Tip: If you need the zest (outer peel) for a recipe, use the zester before you cut the orange. Oranges can be peeled first, then separated into segments. Or cut them into wedges and then cut the peel away.
Cooking Tip: Eat as a snack or use as an ingredient in salads or desserts or cooked into sauces or preserves.
Pear(Fall/winter months for most varieties)
Nutrition Tip: One pear (D'Anjou type) contains 5 grams of fiber (mostly insoluble), and 11% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
Storage Tip: If your pears are perfectly ripe and you aren't ready to serve them, keep them in the refrigerator to help suspend further ripening.
Prep Tip: Pears go from ripe to overripe very quickly at room temperature, so they are often sold hard. Let them ripen at room temperature for a couple of days before serving. They're ripe when they give in to gentle pressure at the neck. To serve, cut in quarters and remove the core and stem. The skin is usually tender, and can be included in most recipes.
Cooking Tip: They're great raw as a snack (try them with a delicate cheese). Some crisps and other dessert recipes call for pears. They work well in cooked dishes. They have a more delicate texture and sweeter taste than apples, and may require a bit less cooking time and sweetening.
Nutrition Tip: One Japanese persimmon (2.5-inch diameter) contains 6 grams of fiber (mostly insoluble) and 13% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B6, 17% of vitamin C, and 52% of vitamin A.
Storage Tip: The heart-shaped persimmon (Hachiya variety) needs to be fully ripened with a jelly-like texture. But the tomato-shaped Fuyu variety can be eaten either when apple-like firm or softened slightly.
Prep Tip: For the Hachiya, the soft pulp can be scooped out once the fruit is cut in half. The Fuyu type can be eaten sliced or chopped.
Cooking Tip: Add the firmer-textured type chopped or sliced to salads and other cold dishes. Use a puree of the softer variety as a replacement for half of butter/margarine or as a featured ingredient to cookies, quick bread, muffins, or cakes.
Nutrition Tip: One pomegranate contains 1 gram fiber (mostly insoluble fiber) and 12% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium.
Storage Tip: Store the whole fruit at room temperature for up to one week, or refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Prep Tip: The challenge with pomegranates is getting to the seeds without splattering the bright red juice all over yourself. To remove the seeds with no splatter, partially fill a deep bowl with water. Underwater, cut the pomegranate into quarters, then gently nudge the seeds loose. The seeds will float, so you can easily lift them out of the bowl with a slotted spoon or your hands.
Cooking Tip: It's "in" to use colorful pomegranate seeds as a garnish for salads, meat dishes, and desserts. Use the juice to make sorbets, sauces, smoothies, and fruit juice blends.
Nutrition Tip: One quince contains 2 grams of fiber (mostly insoluble), and 18% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
Storage Tip: Store at room temperature for up to one week, or in refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Prep Tip: Wash in cold water, then cut into quarters, core, and peel.
Cooking Tip: Use cooked, as you would apples, in sweet or savory dishes.
Nutrition Tip: One cup of uncooked rutabaga cubes contains 3.5 grams fiber (a combination of soluble and insoluble); around 12% of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, vitamin B1, B6, potassium, and vitamin A and 47% of vitamin C; and about 0.1 grams of plant omega-3 fatty acids.
Storage Tip: Refrigerate unwashed rutabagas in a plastic bag for up to three weeks.
Prep Tip: Rutabagas have a yellowish and purple skin and are about the size of a softball. Wash them under running water and cut off the ends. Use a potato peeler to take off the skin, then cut them into whatever shape you desire.
Cooking Tip: Rutabagas have an earthy, peppery flavor and can be part of a raw veggie platter. They can also be cooked -- in slices, cubes, or wedges -- until just tender by roasting, steaming, or microwaving.
Sweet Potatoes/Yams: (September-January)
Nutrition Tip: One cup of uncooked sweet potato cubes has 4 grams of fiber, 18% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B2, 26% of vitamin B6, 40% of vitamin C, and 380% of vitamin A.
One-half cup of baked and mashed yams contains 3 grams fiber (a combination of soluble and insoluble), around 10% of the recommended daily amount of potassium and vitamin B2, 19% of vitamin B6, 33% of vitamin C, and over 300% of vitamin A.
Storage Tip: Do not refrigerate, but store in a cool, dry place for a week or two.
Prep Tip: Scrub the outside of sweet potatoes under running water. If cutting them into slices or cubes, cover the sweet potato pieces with cold water to prevent discoloration. If you need to peel the sweet potato, a potato peeler works well.
Cooking Tip: Sweet potatoes have a sweet flavor that tends to increase with storage and cooking. They can be baked, boiled, steamed, or microwaved. If baking whole, pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork to give the steam somewhere to go.