Things to do with fruit

We talk you through some of the benefits of fresh fruit and what recipes you can use them in

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Apples are great in a classic crumble dessert

Raspberries

Packed with health benefits, including Omega-3 and vitamin E, the raspberry originates from Asia and actually belongs to the rose family! It’s ideal for jams, trifles, ice-cream or just picked straight off the bush. Look for evenly coloured, plump berries for the best flavour. Raspberries are best eaten on the day they’re picked or bought.

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  • Super sarnies – Put 90g of smooth peanut butter, half a teaspoon of maple syrup and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract into a bowl and mix well, then spread the mixture on two pieces of bread. Press 75g of fresh raspberries onto the bread and gently press the sandwich together.
  • Eton Mess – In a small bowl sprinkle sugar over some raspberries and crush them slightly as you mix them together. In a separate bowl, fold crème fraîche and vanilla yogurt with some sugar and meringue pieces. Divide the raspberries among four glasses and top with the meringue mixture. Eat straight away or keep in the fridge for up to four hours.
  • Muffins – In a bowl mix 250g of plain flour, a teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt and two teaspoons of baking powder. In another bowl blend an egg, 150ml of milk and 125g of butter and add the mix to the dried ingredients. Pop in some raspberries and mix. Pour into muffin tins and bake at 375˚F/190˚C for 25 minutes. Leave to cool before eating.

Strawberries

Nothing tastes as yummy as British-grown strawberries. The little red fruit is packed with vitamin C. In fact, 200g of strawberries contains more than 100mg of vitamin C, which is almost the same as orange juice. And they’re the perfect size for little hands. For tasty strawbs, don’t wash and hull them until just before you want to eat them or they’ll go soggy, and don’t serve them straight from the fridge, let them get back to room temperature first.

  • Refreshing smoothies – Make a summer smoothie by combining 450g of strawberries with a peeled orange (pips removed), 100g of coconut milk and four ice cubes. Whizz everything up in a blender.
  • Zingy sauces – Try homemade strawberry sauce on ice cream. Take 570g of strawberries, 50g of sugar and a tsp of vanilla extract. Cut the strawberries in half and cook everything over a medium high heat for about five minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and put a third of the sauce into a blender to purée it, then mix it back into the chunkier sauce.
  • Enhancing the flavour – It sounds odd but black pepper and balsamic vinegar make strawbs taste heavenly. Use 2tbsp of vinegar, ¼tsp of black pepper, and one tbsp of sugar per four cups of strawberries. Mix one hour before eating and serve with ice cream.

Figs

Add foods that are in season to your shopping basket and you’ll find they’re tastier and cheaper. There’s nothing yummier than a plump, fresh fig and they’re at their best right now. When choosing fresh figs, select tender ones, with a rich, deep colour, and avoid any with bruises that are mushy. Ripe figs shouldn’t be washed until you’re ready to eat
them and should be kept covered and refrigerated, where they’ll stay fresh for a couple of days. Try these tasty recipes to introduce this luscious fruit to your family.

  • Unique canapes – For a tasty canapé, perfect for parties or Christmas, cut the figs in half, wrap them in prosciutto and pop them under a hot grill till the ham and the fig both start to sizzle.
  • Yummy dessert – Dust a halved fig with sugar and cinnamon and grill until the sugar melts. Serve with a dollop of mascarpone cheese that’s been sweetened with honey.
  • Glorious glaze – Try this tasty fig glaze on grilled pork chops for a family meal. Once you’ve removed your chops from the grill pan and left them to rest, heat 4tbsp of oil in a frying pan and sauté 8 halved figs, cut side down for about 30 seconds. Add 3tbsp of sherry vinegar, 3tbsp of clear honey and 9tbsp of chicken stock and season. Let the juices bubble and thicken then pour over your warm pork chops.

Apples

  • With mash – Add apples to mashed potatoes for a sweet dish that’s ideal with pork. Peel and cube two potatoes and boil for 20 mins. Peel, core and slice a cooking apple. Put the apple, 1tbsp sugar and dash of water in a pan. Simmer for 15 mins . Drain the spuds, add the cooked apples and mash until smooth.
  • Classic crumble – For the perfect apple crumble, peel and slice a cooking apple, put it in a pan with a handful of blackberries, 1tbsp of water and simmer until soft. Rub together 75g flour, 25g ground almonds, 50g brown sugar and 50g butter to form a breadcrumb-like mix. Pour the softened fruit into a baking dish and cover with the crumble mixture. Sprinkle on 1tbsp brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon and bake for 30 mins.
  • Fresh salad – Use sweet eating apples to make Waldorf salad. Core an apple, cut up and drizzle with lemon juice. Add a thinly sliced celery stick and 1tbsp chopped walnuts. Add a dollop of mayo and mix well with lettuce.

Rhubarb

Green at one end and pink at the other, rhubarb has a sharp and distinct taste. When shopping, look for firm stems and avoid any that look limp or slimy. Always remove the leaves and wash rhubarb before using it, and if you’re buying for another day, be sure to keep it in the fridge away from sunlight.

  • Rhubarb is yummy with ginger. Make a crumble with both to introduce new flavours to your toddler. Cut 10 sticks of rhubarb into chunks, sprinkle with water and caster sugar, and roast for 10 minutes on a tray. Remove from the oven, sprinkle 1tsp of powdered ginger over the chunks and transfer to a deep ovenproof dish. In a bowl, rub 110g of butter with 180g of flour and 110g of demerara sugar. Sprinkle this mixture over the rhubarb and bake for about 40 minutes until the crumble is crisp and the rhubarb soft.
  • Heat 1tbsp of runny honey in a pan and add a few stalks of rhubarb cut into quarters. Toss the rhubarb in the honey and pop in a baking tin. Put into the oven for about 10 minutes until soft, and serve on top of a salad, or with crispy bacon bits and a few potato wedges if you’re having it for an evening meal.
  • Pork goes equally well with rhubarb, as it does with apple. Cut six sticks of rhubarb into chunks, put in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and drain. Put the rhubarb back in the pan with 40g butter and 1tbsp of caster sugar and slowly heat until softened. In a separate pan, heat a knob of butter and fry two pork chops for 4 minutes on each side. Pour the rhubarb mix on to the chops and cook gently for a few minutes. Serve with veggies.
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Quick tomato fact

The humble tomato has been discovered to help strengthen bones and ward off osteoporosis. Scientists at the University of Toronto in Canada reckon that drinking two glasses of tomato juice a day helps build your bone strength, thanks to the key ingredient lycopene, which is already credited with protecting us against heart disease.

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