Everyone likes to talk about vegetables -- how to eat more of them, how to get people who don’t like them to eat them, how to select and store them so that they're at their peak, etc.
In all this hubbub, fruit sometimes gets left out.
After all, fruit isn't usually a "snack/crunchy” type of food that gets eaten the minute someone walks into the kitchen, and the same old fruit routine can get old fast. It takes work to have the fruit in your kitchen end up eaten instead of discarded, especially as the week after your trip to the store progresses and some fruits start to lose their luster.
That's where today's kitchen hack comes in: The trick is to choose fruit for right now and fruit for a few days from now while you are in the store.
For example, berries are wonderful when eaten right away. Sometimes they don't last long in the fridge. Eat them first with a little yogurt or whipped cream (or both1). Whipped cream is a lot better choice than ice cream when it comes to calorie density.
Bananas are wonderful right now too. They can top cereal or yogurt or be eaten out of hand. When they get a little old, they can go into smoothies or the freezer for future smoothies.
Apples are always great but sometimes they are not as attractive cold as they are when you cook them in the oven or heat them for 10 seconds in the microwave. The latter is a fun way to make them for a snack!
Oranges are also better warm than cold unless it is really hot outside!
Pears must be eaten at just the right time for best flavor and texture. If they are a little hard you can leave them out to ripen. If you missed your window, they can be cooked when they are a little past their prime. Consider poaching them or tossing them into a crumble!
Melon can get cut at its prime and then be eaten over a day or two. I like to think of melon as the bridge fruit - it's a bridge between fruits like berries and bananas that must be eaten now and fruits like apples, peaches, or pears, that can be eaten a little later or that last for a few days in the refrigerator when they are ripe.
The trick is to focus on a fruit (MyPlate’s message!) and cut it up and serve it right at its prime.
Fruit that ripens can sit out just until it is perfectly ripe. Then it should go in the refrigerator. Fruits like berries or cut melons or apples and pears should be stored in the refrigerator. It is helpful to have a fruit drawer. We have converted the deli drawer in our refrigerator to a fruit drawer. We don’t buy deli meats or cheeses and the fruit drawer is clear and at the top of the refrigerator so you can always see what you have to use up in that drawer.
So, how will you put this to work on your next shopping trip? How can you maximize this kitchen hack's impact on your clients' eating patterns?
Here are a few other fantastic fruit resources...
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.