Fresh Arizona Fruit: More than Just Desserts

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Most people think of fruit as an afternoon snack or as the sweetest parts of the dessert cart.  As attitudes about the health benefits and sustainability of our food have begun to shift, so have attitudes on fruit.  No longer destined only for the dessert table, fruits are being used in new and interesting ways by restaurants at both ends of the spectrum.  From high end four star menus to McDonald’s apple slices, fruit is finding its way onto the plates and into the palettes of people everywhere.

Thankfully, the Arizona climate allows for year-round production of fantastic fruits of all varieties.  Check the grocery store, farmer’s market or the farm down the street to add flavor and fun to everything you eat.  Here are three tips for incorporating fresh Arizona fruits into your family’s daily diet.

Start Sweet – Eat Fruit for Breakfast

Whether you choose a breakfast standard like a strawberry smoothie made with fresh strawberries or a new twist on an old favorite, using Arizona apples to make apple pancakes, fresh fruit can be a creative, interesting addition to your morning meal.

To make a scrumptious strawberry smoothie, blend 6 large strawberries, a half cup of plain yogurt and a cup of milk in the blender until smooth.  You can also toss in a cup of blackberries fresh from the farmer’s market to add a little zing to your morning.

Lighten Up – Eat Fruit for Lunch

Looking for a way to lighten up your weekday lunch?   Fruit can leave you fulfilled without all the fat offering a lighter option that will keep you moving all afternoon.  Try a delicious arugula apricot salad or tasty strawberries tossed with spinach.

For the arugula salad, mix 2 bunches of arugula, 8 ripe apricots cut into wedges, and a small sliced shallot, dress with your favorite balsamic vinegar dressing and toss with slivered toasted almonds.

Finish Fresh – Eat Fruit for Dinner

Think beyond your mother’s fruit salad to find creative ways to expand and enhance your dinner menu with fresh Arizona fruits.  Select from the best the spring season has to offer to create fantastic soups that can be sweet or savory and surprising salads packed with flavor.

To make sweet  blackberry soup, combine a pint of fresh blackberries, ½ cup of sugar, 2 cups of water, 2 small sliced lemons, a stick of cinnamon, and 2 cloves in a food processor and puree.  Strain through a sieve to remove any solids and stir in 2 cups of plain yogurt.  Chill until ready to serve.

For a more savory take on blackberry soup, take one pound of blackberries and crush, straining off the juice and collecting in it a bowl.  Add enough water to the blackberry juice to bring the total liquid to 3 ½ cups.  To this, add ¼ cup cilantro, 1 clove of minced garlic, a tablespoon each of fresh chopped mint and thyme, 1 small chopped onion, 1 small diced cucumber and a teaspoon of wine vinegar.  Stir well and chill.


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