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Fruit

A Lesson in Lemons

Look for lemons that are firm, feel heavy for their size and have a bright yellow color. Avoid any with bruises or wrinkles.
Store at room temperature for about 3 days. For longer storage,…

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Add Zest to Fruit

“I sprinkle fresh or canned fruit with confectioners’ sugar and a teaspoon of orange drink mix,” writes Jan T. of Vancouver, Washington. “It adds a bit of zest and also keeps the fruit from…

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All About Apples

Everyone knows that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." That's because apples are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. They also contain numerous minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium…

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All About Oranges

Oranges are classified into grades: U.S. Fancy (the best) and U.S. No. 1. Pick citrus fruits that feel heavy for their size; they're bound to be the juiciest. The best picks will also be firm and…

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All About Pears

Pears are available year-round but peak season is July through January.

A bosc pear has a sweet and spicy taste and is good for snacking, poaching and cooking.

A comice pear tastes…

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Berry Basics

For maximum freshness and flavor, follow these tips for buying and storing berries.

Purchase berries that are brightly colored and plump. Blueberries should have a silver frosted appearance.…

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Berry Beautiful Centerpiece

Table toppers don't have to take a lot of thought or effort. A patriotic bowl brimming with red raspberries and blueberries is a simple Memorial Day centerpiece you can produce in minutes.

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Berry Buying Basics

Select berries that are in dry unstained containers. Stained containers may indicate oversoft berries that are not freshly picked. Mold on berries spreads quickly. Never leave a moldy berry next…

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Best Baked Apples

Firm-fleshed apples are best for baking whole. Varieties include Empire, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Rome Beauty and Royal Gala.

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Buying and Storing Fresh Strawberries

Purchase strawberries that are shiny, firm and very fragrant. A strawberry should be almost completely red, though some whiteness near the leafy cap is acceptable.

Refrigerate unwashed…

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Buying and Storing Oranges

Select oranges that are heavy for their size and that feel firm. Avoid any with mold or spongy spots. Buying a big bag of oranges may be a bargain, but keep in mind that you can't see all areas on…

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Buying and Storing Raspberries

Purchase raspberries that are brightly colored without the hulls attached. One-half pint equals about 1 cup. When you get home, discard any raspberries that are soft, shriveled or moldy. Quickly…

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Buying and Storing Strawberries

When buying strawberries, pick the plumpest and most fragrant berries. They should be firm, bright and fresh-looking, with no mold or bruised spots.

Do not wash or hull berries until you are…

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Candied Fruit Facts

Whether used to adorn fruitcake, breads, desserts or cookies, candied fruits are the hallmark of the holiday season. To keep candied fruit fresh, freeze in an airtight container for up to 6…

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Capers

The immature buds from a small bush native to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions that are either brined in vinegar or packed in coarse salt to preserve. Best rinsed before using, capers are…

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Choosing Blueberries

Look for fresh blueberries that are firm, dry, plump and smooth-skinned and relatively free from leaves and stems. Berries should be deep purple-blue to blue-black; reddish berries aren’t ripe,…

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Clean Fruit Before Peeling

Wash fruit before eating...this includes rind on melons and peels on citrus fruits and bananas. If you cut an unwashed melon, any microorganisms on the rind will be transferred to the flesh as the…

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Cooking with Apples

To remove any contaminants on the skin of an apple, wash it thoroughly with soapy water and rinse it off before using. Cut out any bad or soft areas of the apple.
To prevent browning, dip…

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Cranberry Cues

Fresh cranberries are in season from early fall through December. When buying, look for packages with shiny, bright red (light or dark) berries. Avoid berries that are bruised, shriveled or have…

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Dried Cranberries

Dried cranberries are often substituted for raisins in recipes. Commercially dried cranberries contain added sugar making them a sweet snack by the handful or a perfect addition to salads, breads,…

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Freezing Blueberries

Place fresh berries on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer until frozen (about an hour and a half). Then place in freezer bags. The berries won’t stick together, so you can pour out any…

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Fresh Tart Cherries

If you’re substituting fresh tart cherries in a recipe that calls for canned tart cherries, you may need to add water and sugar to get the same results. —Barbara Bowen, Rexburg, Idaho

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Help Strawberries Stay Fresher

Strawberries stay fresh longer if stored unwashed, with the stems on, in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. —Mary M., Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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Juice Keeps Apple Slices from Brownining

To prevent apple slices from turning brown, rub them with lemon or lime juice on them. This coats the apple slices and prevents air from discoloring them. They store nicely in a resealable plastic…

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Keep Fruit from Sinking

Do you have a problem with fruit sinking to the bottom of your baked goods? Try tossing the fruit with a small amount of flour called for in the recipe, then mixing it into the batter.

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Make a Date with Dates

Dates are high in fiber and contain iron and potassium. They are also one of the sweetest of fruits…70% of their weight can be made up of sugar. To prevent sticking when slicing or chopping…

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Make Your Mark with Mango

When buying this tropical fruit, look for ones with unblemished green to yellow skin tinged with red. Ripe mangoes will feel fairly firm when gently pressed and have a sweet, fruity…

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Making Caramel Apples

To make melted caramel stick to an apple to form a nice thick coating, wash and thoroughly dry each apple before dipping. Make sure the caramel is heated until it is melted and smooth. If the…

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Peach Pointers

Purchase peaches that have an intense fragrance and that give slightly to palm pressure. Avoid those that are hard or have soft spots. A half pound will yield about 1 cup chopped…

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Pear Pointers

Purchase pears that are firm, fragrant and free of blemishes or soft spots. To ripen pears, place them in a paper bag at room temperature for several days. When the pears give in slightly to…

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Peeling and Sectioning Grapefruit

When peeling and sectioning grapefruit to use in salads, it's sometimes difficult to remove the bitter white pith. An easy solution is to bring water to a boil in a saucepan; place the whole…

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Persimmon Pointers

The persimmon is an exotic fruit with yellow-orange skin, which is at its sweetest when very ripe. To ripen firm fruit, place it in a paper bag at room temperature for 1 to 3 days. When ripe,…

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Pineapple Serving Bowl

To make a Pineapple Serving Bowl, stand a medium fresh pineapple upright; cut in half lengthwise, leaving top attached. Cut pineapple from one section and discard shell. Cut pineapple from the…

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Plantains

A tropical fruit that resembles the banana, but unlike bananas, plantains are cooked before they are consumed. They often are used in place of potatoes because of their starch content. Plantains…

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Plums

A small round tree fruit this is a little larger than an apricot with a smooth skin. Plums come in a variety of colors that range from green, yellow, purple, red and black. Several varieties are…

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Pomegranate Primer

REFER to these pointers when buying, storing and working with pomegranates.

Pomegranates are available from late September to November. Select those with fresh leather-like skin free from…

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Pomegranate Seed Secret

The seeds and surrounding juice sacs (arils) are the only parts of the pomegranate that are edible. One medium pomegranate (about 8 ounces) yields roughly 3/4 cup arils.

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Removing Citrus Zest

Lemon or orange zest is the outer peel or rind of those citrus fruits (not including the bitter white membrane attached to the fruit). Zest is used often in bread and cake recipes. To remove the…

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Removing Melon Rinds

A curved grapefruit knife is the best tool for taking the rind off cantaloupe wedges or watermelon slices. —Ruth M., Milford, New Hampshire

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Removing Zest from Citrus Fruit

Zest is the colorful outer portion of citrus fruit peel (the bitter white portion underneath is called pith). The zest can be used to flavor a variety of foods, so it's great to have on hand.…

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Rhubarb Basics

Look for rhubarb stalks that are crisp and brightly colored. Tightly wrap in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Wash the stalks and remove the poisonous leaves before…

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Rhubarb Substitution

When rhubarb is out of season, substitute an equal amount of tart apples. —Patricia Axelsen, Aurora, Minnesota

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Ripening Kiwifruit

To ripen kiwifruit, place in a brown paper bag with a banana or apple and leave at room temperature. When they are ready to eat, kiwis should yield to slight pressure. Store ripe fruits in the…

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Soda Prevents Apples from Browning

To keep cut apple slices from turning brown, dip them into or sprinkle them with lemon-lime soda. —Melinda L., Raymond, Mississippi

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Star Fruit Facts

Carambola is nicknamed star fruit because when it's cut crosswise, the slices are shaped like stars. The more golden-colored the fruit is, the sweeter it will be. There's no need to peel the shiny…

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Storing Fresh Berries

Fresh berries should be stored covered in your refrigerator and washed just before using. Use them within 10 days of purchase.

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Sweet Melon

“If I cut up a cantaloupe or watermelon and it’s not as sweet as I’d like, I sprinkle a little artificial sweetener over it and let it sit an hour or so,” says Mary Ann S. from Duncan, Oklahoma.…

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Tangerine Tips

Unlike sweet oranges, tangerines are considered a loose-skinned orange because the skin easily comes off the fruit and the segments are easy to divide. Tangerines should feel heavy for their size…

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Using Frozen Berries

Thawed frozen berries will always be softer and juicier than fresh berries. Defrost the sealed bag of frozen berries in a large bowl of cold water for 10 to 15 minutes, then use them in recipes…

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Using Frozen Peaches for Fresh

The peak season for fresh peaches is June through September. However, you can always substitute frozen peaches (thawed and drained) or well-drained canned peaches in equal amounts for fresh…

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