Fruit Around The Calendar

May 16, 1999|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

Turn a bowl of "just fruit" into sparkling, edible jewels -- bite-size, ready-to-eat bits of fresh, ripe seasonal fruits. As appetizer, salad, dessert or snack, fresh fruit is that rare dish fussy eaters and cooks both like.

Start by selecting fruits that are generally available year-round (apples, bananas, oranges) and add the best of whatever each season offers in your locale -- see recipe for suggestions.

Four Seasons Fruit Bowl

Serves 6 to 8

3 seedless oranges

2 unpeeled tart red apples, cored and diced

2 firm but ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2 -inch rounds

1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

seasonal fruits (see below)

1/4 to 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plain or vanilla-infused (optional)

fresh lemon juice, as needed

mint leaves, for garnish

Working over a bowl, cut peel from oranges, including all the bitter white pith. Use a sharp paring knife to cut close to membranes and release segments, catching any juices in bowl. Put segments in bowl.

Add apples, bananas and lemon or lime juice; mix lightly. Gently mix in seasonal fruits. Fruits can be prepared ahead, covered and refrigerated up to 3 hours before serving.

If desired, sweeten to taste with plain or vanilla-infused confectioners' sugar; add more lemon juice if a tart flavor is wanted. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve.

Seasonal fruits:

Spring: Add 2 cups (1 pint basket) hulled strawberries, cut in halves if large, and 2 large kiwi, peeled and sliced into 1/4 -inch rounds.

Summer: Add 2 nectarines or peaches (peeled, pitted and sliced) and 1/2 cup seedless red or green grapes; 1/2 cup blueberries or firm raspberries; 1/2 cup pitted sweet cherries; and 1/2 cup diced cantaloupe or honeydew melon.

Fall: Add 1 cup halved, seeded red grapes; 2 Bartlett pears (peeled, cored and diced) and 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds.

Winter: Add 1 Anjou, Bosc or Comice pear (peeled, cored and diced); 1 cup peeled, cored, diced fresh pineapple; and 1 cup peeled, seeded, diced papaya.

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