The Treats of Tropical Fruits

May 30, 2008

Just biting into a tropical fruit like a papaya or a mango can transport you to a sunny oasis in your mind. Each morsel feels like a vacation from the doldrums of winter. But that’s only part of the picture: tropical fruits are also teeming with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Here’s a look at some of the season’s best bets:

Papaya. This golden-yellow fruit is a good source of fiber (2.5 grams per cup) and vitamins A and C. Buy fruit that is already soft and ripe; use as soon as possible. Tip: Grind the peppery tasting seeds, and add to salad dressings.

Pineapple. Pineapples are also a good source of fiber (2.2 g per cup) and rich in vitamin C. Choose fruit that is slightly soft to the touch. Refrigerated pineapple will keep for up to 3 days if kept in plastic wrap. Tip: Try grilling sliced pineapple.

Mango. Each cup of mango packs a good dose of vitamin A. Select fruit that has a smooth, yellow skin with a hint of red. Refrigerate ripe mangoes up to 5 days. Tip: Purée mango, and add to salad dressings or chutneys.

Star Fruit. Packed with fiber (3 g per cup), the fruit at its sweetest has a bright, even color and broad ribs on the outside. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Tip: Use slices as a healthy garnish for frothy summer fruit drinks or cocktails.

Kiwifruit. Also known as Chinese gooseberry, kiwis are a good source of vitamin C and fiber (2.3 g each). Pick fruit that yields a bit to pressure. Kiwis can keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Tip: Add peeled slices to a spinach salad.

Kumquat. Kumquats are loaded with potassium and vitamins A and C; the best fruit are firm and unblemished. Keep refrigerated and wrapped in a plastic bag for up to 1 month. Tip: Dip whole, ripe kumquats in melted chocolate for a decadent summertime treat.

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