Fruit is one of the most colorful and beautiful foods, and one of the worst things you can do with it is put it in the refrigerator and forget about it. Cold, shriveled fruit crushed behind leftovers does not lend itself to being easily incorporated into your diet. And worse, when you jam fruit into a drawer of the fridge or a cabinet, you run the risk of letting it go to waste before you can actually eat it.
Today I want to present an alternative to this approach in the hopes that it will help you and your audience incorporate more fruit into your eating patterns.
Think of yourself as a fruit vendor and make a compelling display with your fruit!
Here are a few ways to pull this off...
Put Fruit on Cake Stands and in Bowls
Arranging fruit in an eye-catching manner is a key part of selling produce at the market, and it works just as well at home.
Dig out a cake stand from your cabinet and arrange fresh fruit on it in an appealing way that highlights its color and texture. This process only takes a few minutes but is guaranteed to turn heads and maximize the appeal of your fruit.
A bowl of delicious, in-season fruits can also be very appetizing. The look of various shapes and colors pulls the eye in and beckons the viewer to take one. Plus, if you always keep your fruit in the same place on the counter, then it will have “repeat business” from the members of your family as they pass by.
Note that this advice only applies to uncut fruit that can be stored at room temperature. Think bananas, pears, oranges, etc.
Keep It Ready-To-Eat
Cut or wash most fruit before putting it in the refrigerator so that you don't have to do anything at all when you actually want a snack. This will make it easier to reach for fruit.
Rinse larger fruits, cherries, and grapes in a colander and place them in big, clear serving bowls. If you're serving them right away, then you don't even need to dry them off -- a large bowl of cherries that still have water droplets on them will be irresistible. Just make sure that you're serving them immediately. (Otherwise the excess moisture can encourage the growth of mold). Grapes and cherries can also be pre-portioned into plastic bags so that they're ready to eat on the run.
Smaller, more delicate fruits like raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries can be gently placed in a bowl and rinsed just before eating. Ripe melons should be cut and put on platters. If a platter is ready to go, then you can place it on the table at the end of a meal or during a family gathering.
Let It Ripen
One of my general managers used to come into the kitchen and taste all the fruit while we worked. He would go bananas if the refrigerator contained fruit that was underripe, so take his meltdowns to heart and have a taste before you put fruits that look ripe into the fridge. Pears, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, and melon all get sweeter and more delicious as they ripen at room temperature, so actually allow them to ripen before putting them into the refrigerator.
Some fruits like apples, kiwi, berries, and cherries won’t get better while sitting out, so they should go into the refrigerator right away. Other fruits, like citrus, could sit out for a day or two but then should also be put in the refrigerator.
Your masterpieces of cake stands, bowls, and platters should be reworked as items are eaten. Add more fruit or use a smaller serving plate to adjust to the amount that's left throughout the week.
This is another strategy pulled straight from the fruit vendor playbook. A fruit vendor works to display his or her fruit in the most attractive manner possible. He or she reworks the display throughout the day so that it always looks nice and very attractive.
It's a good idea to freeze some fruits if they are starting to get a little too ripe, like bananas, grapes, and berries.
Once you've got a good stash going, you can defrost your frozen fruits into a refrigerator jam, blend them into a smoothie, puree them for a sauce, or cook them for a compote.
Speaking of cooking, there's a lot you can do to make fruit more appealing when cooked. Homemade apple sauce, pie without crust, cobblers, compotes, and stewed fruit all come to mind. Cooking is an especially good idea for fruit that is too ripe.
Of course some fruits like melon, papaya, and bananas are not very good when cooked because they would get mushy, so make your selections wisely.
One glance and a few steps are all that are needed to keep your "fruit stand" looking and tasting awesome. It's simply a matter of being aware of the ripening, preparing, and arranging processes to keep everything tasty and appealing.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.