Varieties of Fruit

You may know these varieties of fruit as vegetables, most do.

Aubergines or Eggplant are members of the nightshade family and hence are related to tomatoes, potatoes and sweet peppers. They have shiny deep purple skin and creamy white flesh. It is imperative to always soak them for a minimum of half an hour in heavily salted water to remove the acid before cooking.
There are tiny eggplants that are used in Middle Eastern and Indian recipes, the elongated Japanese varieties and the classic rounded deep purple Aubergine. There are also white varieties. They are used in French, Italian and Spanish cuisine as well.

Avocados are also known as Alligator Pears. They have a creamy buttery consistency and actually lower serum cholesterol. They are rich in protein and potassium, Vitamin C and some B Vitamins as well as Vitamin E. Found in the cold soup Gazpacho and Guacamole they can also be found sailing on a bed of fresh spring greens as a boat filled with tabouli and topped with hummus, proudly sporting a spring onion mast.

Breadfruit is seldom found in the market but when it is it can be used as you would potatoes baking, boiling, of frying them. In their native Pacific islands they are baked or dried and ground into flour for biscuits and puddings. It has a soft texture and is slightly sweet.

Chilies These hot and spicy members of the fruit family literally spice up the world’s cuisine. There is a vast array of them with varying degrees of ‘hotness’. Do not gulp water in the attempt to cool our mouth as that will only exacerbate the heat in your mouth use yogurt or sugar to cool the fire instead.

  • The Anaheim Chili is a long thin chillie with a blunt end, it has a mildly sweet flavor and can be said to be milder in its heat factor.
  • Ancho Peppers are mild enough to taste their underlying sweetness.
  • Birdseye or Bird Chilli is extremely fiery but the Habanero or Scotch Bonnet Chilli actually puts it to shame.
  • Cayenne is most often ground from peppers grown all over the world.
  • Crushed Red Pepper are dried and crushed from Red Chillies.
  • Hot Gold Spike Chilli is a large yellow green fruit. It is very hot.
  • Poblano Chillies are dark green in color and can be fairly mild. They are stuffed and roasted but beware the rogue it too can be fiery.
  • Red Chillies are long, somewhat wrinkled and red. Like all these chillies they need to be prepared using plastic gloves or your hands will burn as will everything you touch including the more sensitive areas of your person.
  • Serrano Chillies are extremely hot.
  • Yellow Wax Peppers are milder than most chillies but they can vary from mild to hot.
  • Szechuan Peppers are amazingly hot and flavorful at the same time.

Sweet Peppers, Bell Peppers and Bull Nose Peppers are also members of the capsicum family but they are sweet and mild. Their flesh is thick and crisp. Their color ranges from Green to Red with stops off at Yellow and Orange and also Purple. Pale Green is also an option. They can be skinned, roasted, fried, and braised. As well as stuffed and baked. When cutting them into pieces put the shiny side down on the cutting board so that the knife can bite into the flesh of the pepper rather than sliding off and biting a finger.

Tomatoes are a great source of Lycopene and Vitamin C. Among the countless varieties of the tomato are several shapes, sizes and degrees of moisture content and sweetness:
  • 'Beefsteak VFN' (a common hybrid)
  • 'Big Boy'
  • 'Black Krim' (a purple-and-red cultivar from the Crimea)
  • 'Brandywine' (a pink, indeterminate beefsteak type with a considerable number of sub strains)
  • 'Burpee VF' (an early attempt by W. Atlee Burpee at disease resistance in a commercial tomato)
  • 'Early Girl' (an early maturing globe type)
  • 'Gardener's Delight' (a smaller English cultivar)
  • 'Juliet' (a grape tomato developed as a substitute for the rare Santa F1)
  • 'Marmande' (a heavily ridged cultivar from southern France; similar to a small beefsteak and available commercially in the U.S. as the Ugly Ripe.
  • 'Moneymaker' (an English greenhouse cultivar)
  • 'Mortgage' Lifter (a popular Heirloom Beefsteak known for gigantic fruit)
  • 'Patio' (bred specifically for container gardens)
  • 'Roma VF' (a Plum Tomato common in supermarkets)
  • ‘Round or Salad Tomatoes’
  • 'Rutgers' (a commercial heirloom cultivar)
  • 'San Marzano' (a plum tomato popular in Italy)
  • 'Santa F1' (A Chinese Grape Tomato popular in the U.S. and parts of southeast Asia)
  • 'Sweet 100' (a very prolific, indeterminate cherry tomato)
  • 'Yellow Pear' (a yellow, pear-shaped heirloom cultivar)

Tomatoes can be found in the market on the shelves canned and jarred. You will find them whole, crushed, diced, pureed, stewed and sun dried as well as in sauce. They belong on the shelves of your vegetarian kitchen’s pantry as staples to perk up a wide variety of casseroles and dishes and for those quick fix meals when there isn’t a lot of time to cook.

Plantains are inedible raw. Their skins are difficult to remove unless they are really ripe. Cut the Plantain into short lengths then slit the skin along the natural ridge on each piece. Gently pull the skin away from the flesh of the fruit and then it can be cut into slices or left in the shape you have. They can be fried or roasted. Like Sweet Bananas, they will discolor if left to oxidize in the air so you should sprinkle them with lemon water to prevent discoloration.
They are wonderful in a Gado Gado salad with Fresh Mango, Avocado and Soy Shrimp from Taiwan. Once fried along with other vegetables and chillies, carrots and onions, they are also wonderful in soup.

Now that we have determined these "vegetables" are actually different varieties of fruit, let's start using some of them in our favorite recipes. Email us your next creation!

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