In a nutshell, fruits are generally the term used for the fleshy parts of a plant that are generally sweet and edible in its raw state. These can come from a tree, bush or even a small shrub and include (but certainly not limited) apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, peaches and bananas. Like vegetables, herbs and spices, there are thousands of different varieties of edible fruits available in different countries.
Though mostly sweet, quite a number are sour like lemons and limes. Others have a very distinct taste like durian, the king of fruits, which has a very strong aroma that is certainly an acquired taste. Exotic looking dragon fruit are harvested from a variety of cactus.
Being the part of the plant that contains seeds meant to grown into a new plant, fruits are often fleshy and are naturally high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In fact, among the different kinds of super foods available, quite a lot are fruits – like anti-oxidant rich acai, goji berries, mulberries and golden berries. A small serving provides a large amount of phyto-nutrients and enzymes.
One doesn’t have to fuss much; go to a health food store and spend a pretty penny to buy super foods to get a fair share of nutrients. A simple trip to the farmers market for a bag of crunchy apples and pears (if you’re in a temperate country) or juicy sweet mangoes (when you’re in a tropical climate) ensures you get the freshest product brimming with vitamins. Buy in season to get them at the lowest possible price, best quality and taste. Dehydrate them by sun drying or baking or preserve them in bottles or cans to enjoy them year round.
Fruits used in recipes range from the expected application in sweet desserts and salads to more creative inclusions in meat, poultry and seafood dishes, Apples are used to provide a sweet balance to savory roast goose and grilled baby back ribs.
Like when buying any produce, try to go organic as much as you can especially for foods that are consumed raw and/or unpeeled because most of the chemical residues are found on the skin.
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