Del Rosario loves eating vegetables and enjoys educating others about their benefits.
Types of Fruit From A-Z
Along with vegetables, fruits are a major dietary source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and some minerals, and an excellent source of dietary fibre as well.
A variety of fruits is more likely to yield a wider intake of nutrients. Bananas are an excellent source of pyridoxine (Vitamin B6). Kiwi fruits are also a better source of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) than citrus fruits.
Fresh fruits are fairly low in calories because they contain much water and little fat. However, the addition of sugar to canned and frozen fruits increases the calories considerably; the less sugar, the fewer calories. The improved transport and storage system have resulted in an increasing range of varieties of fruits being readily available throughout the year.
I always buy fresh fruits—I think it is a wise choice to buy and eat fresh fruits and get all the nutritional value it has for a healthier you and your family.
The following is a brief outline of the many fruits available to enjoy; some will have a link to a more detailed explanation that will guide you choose the right fruit for your need.
- Apple. Apples are the most popular of all fruits and are also generally available all year round. Perfect for eating raw as a snack and ideal for making puddings and desserts.
- Apricot. Apricots are delicious when ripe. They also provide beta-carotene and are a rich source of minerals and vitamin A.
- Avocado. Avocados are the only fruit that contains fat (monounsaturated fat). They are best eaten raw, sliced, or added to salads.
- Bananas. Bananas are rich in potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and dietary fibre. They also have high energy value and are really good for growing children and athletes. They are also excellent for low-salt, low-fat, and cholesterol-free diets. Hundreds of different varieties of bananas flourish in the tropics, from sweet yellow pygmy to large fibrous plantains and green bananas, which can only be used for cooking.
- Blackberry. The blackberry has always grown in the wild and is a widespread genus. It also seems to be native to many parts of the world, including Britain, North America, and Africa. Captain John Smith was introduced to the blackberries that were growing in the wilds of America. The blackberry is also a member of the rose family—not a true berry, but a collection of drupelets. The blackberry is a climber. It's also high in vitamin C.
- Cantaloupe. Sometimes called rockmelon, the cantaloupe was first cultivated in Italy and named after the city of Cantalupo. A canteloupe has a hard, scaly rind, is not netted, and should be football shape or almost round. It's an excellent source of vitamin A, high in vitamin C and magnesium, and also a fair source of thiamin, some calcium, phosphorous, iron, potassium, riboflavin, and niacin.
- Cherry. Sweet cherries can be eaten raw, stewed, or in tarts and cakes. Remember to buy cherries with their stings on and use any without the stem first, as they don't last long. Cherries are very high in vitamin C and potassium and also contain fibre.
- Custard Apple. Custard apples have thick, scaly skin and soft, smooth flesh with inedible seeds. They are picked before they are fully ripe, so allow 4-5 days for firm fruit to ripe. They're a good source of vitamin C, fibre, magnesium, and potassium.
- Dates. Dates are extremely delicious. They also supply a significant amount of iron, making them excellent food for anaemia or chronic fatigue. They contain more natural sugar than any other fruit.
- Durian. Despite the fruit's disgusting smell, when durians are ripe, the flavour of the flesh is the most delicious of tropical fruits. This fruit is eaten fresh and chilled, scooped out using a spoon and discarding the seeds. The rich, custardy flesh can be eaten just as it is, or it can be pureed to make ice cream or milkshakes. The flesh is also used for making jam and cakes, and it is available canned.
- Figs. Figs are oval or pear-shaped and can be eaten fresh or dried. They are well known for their laxative and digestive properties. Their high, natural sugar content makes them the sweetest of all fruits. The flavour varies, depending on where they were grown and how ripe they are.
- Grapefruit. One of the largest citrus fruit, grapefruits, are a cross between the pomelo and the shaddock. High in vitamin C, grapefruits are best eaten raw, a traditional breakfast fruit. The best way to eat them is to cut them in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
- Grapes. Have been used in winemaking for thousands of years, and red wine is known to help prevent heart disease. They are a great energy source because of their natural fruit sugar content.
- Guava. These are deliciously eaten raw, while the whole fruit is edible. Average-sized guava contains about seven times the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Guava also provides vitamin A and is high in fibre.
- Gooseberry. Gooseberries are a member of the Saxifrage family and botanically a berry. Some varieties are hairy and with colours ranging when ripe from green, white, yellow and red to almost black. All varieties can be picked young and cooked when green. High in vitamins A and C.
- Jackfruit. When unripe, both the jackfruit seeds and flesh are eaten as vegetables. Ripe fruit also may be eaten on its own or added to a fruit salad.
- Kiwifruit. Kiwifruits are best eaten uncooked. The easiest way to eat them is to cut the fruit in half and scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon. Or you can peel them and cut them into cubes or slices.
- Kumquat. The name means "golden orange" in Chinese. Kumquats are often preserved in sweet syrup and used for marmalade and garnishes, but fresh ones are delicious in fruit salads or for eating just as they are.
- Lemon. Rarely eaten on their own, lemons are an indispensable ingredient in the kitchen. Lemon juice can be used instead of vinegar in sauces, for seasoning in vinaigrette and as an instant dressing for fish and shellfish. The best way to store lemons is in the vegetable crisper in the fridge. You can put lemons in a fruit bowl for a shorter period of time, but check them often; if one starts to spoil, the rest will quickly follow.
- Lime. Limes are only green because they are picked unripe, but if left to ripen, they turn yellow. Limes can be used like lemons, but as juice, it is more acidic, so usually, less is needed. To make the juice flow more, you can microwave the limes for 2-3 seconds before squeezing. Mostly used in drinks (lime cordials) and cooking.
- Lychees. Fresh lychees are best eaten raw as a refreshing end to a meal. Simply remove the shells, and then nibble or suck the flesh off the stone. They are also rich in vitamin C.
- Mandarins. Or tangerines, mandarins are named after the city of Tangier in Morocco—a citrus fruit that is a variety of orange. Always choose deep orange to orange-red fruits, heavy for their size with a bright lustre. Loose skin is normal, but avoid fruits with punctures, soft mould spots or very pale skins.
- Mango. Mangoes grow in many tropical climates worldwide, The fruit ranges in colour from green to golden yellow and orange-red, and its flesh is a juicy, deep orange surrounding a large flat inedible stone. Mangoes also make excellent ice creams, sorbets, sauces and drinks like smoothies.
- Mangosteen. Contrary to its name, the mangosteen doesn't resemble or taste like the mango. It resembles an apple, having a short stem and four thick leaf-like bracts, which form a rosette encasing the brownish-purple fruit.
- Nectarine. The nectarine flesh is rich, sweet and juicy and is well suited for eating fresh and for use in ice cream, pies and fruit salads. Colour ranges from silvery white or yellowy orange to pinkish red. The white-fleshed varieties are considered the best and usually the most expensive. Nectarines are often described as a cross between a peach and a plum, but nectarines are actually a variety of smooth-skinned peaches.
- Oranges. Oranges are best eaten in their natural state but can be used in a variety of desserts, pastries, fruit salads, mousses, souffles, ice creams and sorbets. It can be squeezed for juice or used to marinate poultry or fish. Oranges fall into two groups: sweet oranges, which can be eaten raw, and bitter oranges, which cannot be eaten raw but are used for making marmalade, jams, and jellies instead.
- Passionfruit. The most popular variety is the purple passionfruit, about the size of a chicken egg. It has a highly fragrant, sweet, but slightly tart, tasting fruit that can be spooned out and eaten fresh or added to fruit salad, pavlova, and it makes a very popular drink, ice cream and sorbets and a flavouring for all kinds of desserts.
- Papaya. Or pawpaw, a large tropical fruit whose ripe flesh can be juicy, creamy, orange-red, or yellow. In the centre is a mass of large peppery black seeds, which are edible and sometimes crushed and used as a spice. Ripe papaya is eaten as a breakfast fruit or as a dessert. It can also be pureed for ice cream, sorbets and iced drinks.
- Peaches. The most familiar peaches are round or "beaked" with a pointed, and they are seldom sold by variety but by the colour of their flesh—yellow or white. Which you choose is a matter of preference; some people believe that white peaches have the finer flavour. Peaches are delicious when eaten on their own or in a fruit salad.
- Pear. Pears contain a small amount of vitamins A and C and some potassium and riboflavin. Pears should always be bought when they are in perfect condition, as they deteriorate quickly.
- Persimmons. The persimmon fruit of a tree originally from Japan, persimmons are now widely grown in all parts of the world. Resembling a tomato in appearance, the fruit is round and smooth-skinned, changing from yellow to red when it ripens. Eat as a dessert in fruit salads, in baking, or as preserves.
- Pineapple. Derived from the Spanish word 'pina' meaning pine cone. Pineapples have a juicy, sweet-but sometimes slightly tart-fragrant flavour. They are best eaten fresh, serve pineapple flesh in slices, wedges or chunks. It is also available in cans, dried and glace. A good source of vitamin C.
- Plums. Plums contain more antioxidant than any other fruit. Plums are delicate so make sure that the one you buy are unblemished, and they should be plump and firm. The small sugar plum is dried to make prunes. Delicious stewed, plums are also ideal for making chutneys.
- Pomegranates. An exotic-looking fruit about the size of a large apple with a thin, tough skin (usually golden to deep red), pomegranates filled with edible seeds contained in a crimson-colored pulp. To use, cut the fruit in half with a very sharp knife and scoop out the tangy sweet seeds, separate them from the white pith and eat them fresh. Can be added to salads, use as a garnish on sweet and savoury dishes or press to extract juice.
- Pomelo. A small citrus tree native to tropical Asia and the tropical world. Similar to grapefruit but larger and with a very thick rind. The rind comes off readily making segmenting the fruit easy. The flesh varies from yellow to pink, and it is generally sweeter and not as tart as grapefruit.
- Rambutans. The rambutan fruit grows in clusters, with a deep crimson outer skin. The flesh is translucent, and the pale seed is edible when young. Related to lychees and are sometimes known as "hairy lychees" (about 5cm / 2 inches in diameter) and look quite different but have a similar texture. They can be added to salads, or made into jams or jellies, but they are best eaten on their own.
- Sapodillas. These are tropical fruits with rough, brown skin but are sweet and luscious—like vanilla-flavoured banana custard. Make sure the fruit is soft and thoroughly ripe, as unripe flesh can be quite bitter.
- Star apple. The star apple fruits are green to purple with smooth skin. When sliced horizontally, the flesh is translucent white, with the seeds forming a star shape. It is best eaten ripe and scooped straight from the skin. It is ripe when soft and should be eaten immediately, but it is still alright to refrigerate for a few days.
- Strawberry. A unique fruit, the seeds grow around the outside of the fruit rather than inside it. Comes in many different sizes, colours and shapes, ranging from cone-like to oval or heart-shaped. It's best to eat them on their own or with natural yoghurt. Use strawberries in desserts, fruit salads, preserves, or in milkshakes.
- Tamarillos. These are related to tomatoes and are sometimes called "tree tomatoes." They are the size of an egg tomato, with dark red skin. The fruit has a strong, sweet flavour that makes it suitable for both sweet and savoury dishes. It can also be used in jams, chutneys, and sorbets.
- Watermelon. The high water content of watermelons means that they are low in calories. They contain some vitamins B, and C. Watermelon is excellent juiced, chopped up into a fruit salad, or just eaten in chunky slices.