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|(Pineapple) Ripe pineapples have a deliciously sweet flavor. They also contain a digestive enzyme, bromelain. With the exception of vitamin C and Potassium, pineapples do not contain very much of the other vitamins and minerals. According to what we have read, bromelain is a natural anti-inflammatory that has many health benefits and encourages healing. Choose pineapples by their "pineapple" fragrance, and with some golden yellow color. They should be heavy for their size and have no soft spots. Pineapples do not ripen once they have been cut from the plant, so select ripe ones at the time of purchase. See the nutritional chart below.|
|(Plantain) The plantain, scientifically named Musa paradisiaca, is a very starchy banana that is usually used in cooking. However, they can also be eaten raw when they are very ripe with the skin turning almost completely black. (See Ripe Plantain.) It is usually not considered an eating banana like the ones we are used to peeling and eating, though we have eaten them that way after peeling them with a knife. We first became acquainted with the plantain in the late 1960's when we visited Jamaica. Until about 1990, we rarely saw them being sold in supermarkets, but today they are common in the tropical fruit and vegetable section. They are usually sold green, but occasionally we find ripe ones. If the plantains are green, let them ripen on the kitchen counter until they turn yellow, as in the picture above. Plantains do not peel like eating bananas. We have found that the easiest way to peel a plantain is to cut off the two ends with a knife, slit the skin lengthwise, and then peel it. (If you do not need the plantain whole, cutting it in half also makes it easier to peel.) The above left insert photo is of a whole peeled plantain. Try our plantain recipes for baked plantain, baked plantain with tofu and brown rice, and others. See nutritional information below.|
|(Plums, Black) There are many varieties of plums, each of which have differing flavors and nutritional values. We believe that the black plum is the sweetest. It also has the advantage of having a very small pit, thus providing more edible flesh. Choose black plums that are firm to just beginning to soften but not hard or mushy. This black plum will ripen at room temperature. See nutritional information by clicking on the photo or link.|
|(Plums, Red) We have not been able to identify the exact variety of the various plums we encounter, as usually they are unidentified or referred to by their color. The red plum is a medium-sweet plum. Choose red plums that are firm to just beginning to soften. Do not select hard or mushy plums. Red plums will ripen at room temperature. See nutritional information by clicking on the photo or link.|
|(Plums, Red Spotted) We were unable to identify this specific variety of plums. These spotted red plums are sweeter than the other red plums and have a small pit like the black plums. Select firm to just beginning to soften plums, as the softer ones could be damaged. They ripen easily on the counter-top, and will store for more than a week in the refrigerator. Since we could not specifically identify this plum, we have included only general nutritional information for plums.|
|(Pomegranate) The pomegranate is a thick-skinned several-celled reddish berry that is about the size of an orange. It has sweet/tart, juicy edible seeds. Pomegranates appear to be a seasonal fruit, available as an import in our area only in autumn and winter. We split them open with a knife and have fun picking out the juicy seeds and eating them. See the nutritional chart by clicking on the photo or link.|
|(Pummelo, Red) As the scientific name implies, the pummelo is the largest of all citrus fruits. Unfortunately, it is also sold at an inflated price. The pummelo is the fruit from which the modern grapefruit was developed, but they are much sweeter than most grapefruits. When purchasing pummelos, select the heavier solid fruit and avoid the light weight ones, as they are of inferior quality and most likely dried out on the inside. They are easy to peel and relatively easy to section. One of the delightful features of the pummelo is its wonderful aroma which emanates from the peel. See nutritional information and enlarge the photo of the pummelo by clicking on the photo or link.|
|(Prickly Pear) Prickly pear and Indian fig are common names for cactus fruit (Opuntia stricta), which grows on the Nopal cactus, a southern Florida native. Studded with barbs, the prickly pear fruits are oval and 3 to 4 inches long, with skin colors ranging from reddish to greenish-yellow to orange-tan. The reddish-purple flesh contains hard, edible seeds which, unfortunately, take away some of the fun of eating this sweet fruit which is a good source for vitamin C. Available in the produce department from August to December, purchase prickly pears that give slightly to pressure and allow them to ripen until soft on your countertop. When ripe they may be refrigerated for up to a week. When ready to eat, carefully avoid the barbs while slicing off both ends. Then score down the length of the skin and peel it away. The fruit may be cut into pieces for eating. (Photo-right) To enlarge the photos and see the nutritional chart, click on the photo or link.|
|(Raisins, Thompson Seedless) These Thompson seedless raisins, like all dried fruit, are high in calories because of the concentrated sugar. Choose raisins that are not dried out or have sugar crystals on them, as do a few of the ones in this picture. See the nutritional information by clicking on the photo or link.|
|(Raspberries, Red, Frozen) When we want red raspberries, we usually buy them frozen, since they are available year round and can be found in most supermarkets. Another advantage is that frozen red raspberries can be stored in the freezer for months, so they are always available. We love to add them to cereal and mixed fruit recipes, where they add a sweet-tart taste. There are several species of red raspberries, but all have a similar taste. We could not find specific information for frozen red raspberries, so we included only the information for the raw raspberries.|
|(Strawberries) Strawberries are a delicious fruit that is both beautiful and nutritious. Choose strawberries that are bright red without green areas, and that are relatively firm and free of soft spots and mold. Green (unripe) sections can be seen on the sides of the two lower strawberries. See the nutritional chart below.|
|(Tangerines) Tangerines have less vitamin C than oranges, but they are a better source of vitamin A. Choose tangerines that are firm but not dried out. Some varieties have a loose skin and may feel slightly soft. They should feel heavy for their size. See nutritional information by clicking on the photo or link.|
|(Watermelon, Seedless) Seedless watermelon, as the name implies, has very few to no seeds. These seedless watermelons are a delicious and nutritious treat for any breakfast, desserts, or snacks. The larger ones are generally sweeter, as the sugar content increases with age. Another indication of older fruit is that they have a yellow under-belly resulting from the length of time the fruit rested on the ground. Select firm watermelons that are free of damage. Soft spots can be an indication of the beginning of inner fermentation. Keep refrigerated when cut. One of the advantages of buying seedless watermelon is that fewer pesticides are needed for growing this variety. We could not find specific nutritional information for seedless watermelons, so we have included a general watermelon nutritional chart.|
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The above recipe is in keeping with God's creation intent (Genesis 1:29-31): 'Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it-- I give every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.' (NIV) Let no animal suffer or die that we may live!