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April Food Challenge - Favourite Fruit

:tangerine: :lemon: :banana: :pineapple: :mango: :apple: :green_apple: :peach: :cherries: :strawberry:

We all know that fresh fruit is important for good nutrition and a balanced diet. Fruit is versatile and can be enjoyed raw, cooked, pickled or fermented. They also come in a wide range of different colours, sizes, flavours and textures.

For the April Food Challenge, post what your favourite Fruit is and how you prefer to eat it. Let us also know why is it also your favourite fruit.

If you have more than one favourite fruit, this is okay as well.

The most interesting posts will be awarded a badge for this months challenge.

*@Gaby, @vax2000 and @phb and Choice would like to thank those who participated in the March Vegetable Food Challenge. There were many great contributions and the following have been awarded a badge .

@tim-bailey @Deb @pjturner2008 @Gregr @Sophie @pamelanorth4 @SueW @mudpuppy @njfking @PhilT @mark_m @syncretic

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The only fruit I’m not fond of is pawpaw. I try to eat fruits in season and have at least 3 a day. However, my favourite fruit is the apple and in particular Envy, Jazz and Gala. I also love stewed rhubarb.

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Home-grown baby tomatoes are my favourite fruit!

Cherry, plum and the small long ones - together - crop more heavily than any of the larger varieties, with which I no longer bother. (and they’re a LOT more work!)

But, I have consistently tried and failed to get them ripe in time for Christmas. Even with large tall
green-houses and starting in late Winter.

I live right up the northern end of the Tuggeranong Valley in north Kambah.

Next year one of the two tall green-houses will move out a metre or so, of the north face of our long Northern deck in late Winter, into full sun, and I will see what happens!

Just in case I lose some of the seedlings - in that exposed green-house - to frost! I will double up the number of seedlings in the other green house.

Given regular watering/fertilising, with worm-castings tea, here in Canberra, it seems that these small varieties are much more resistant to pests. No, I don’t often spray in a given season. If the season IS a bit pesty, organic home made sprays are my first resort.

Since going down this path, I have often wondered if truly well-fed veggies have their own
pest-resisting capabilities.

Fertilisers matter! Way the best is worm-castings tea. So convinced was I of their value is that I now have two worm farms, the Bunnings branded ones, which come with a manual. I’ve looked at it a couple of times.

We do sometimes buy small tomatoes, but our home-grown ones taste better! I know this is NOT a double-blind test, but I accept the findings.

Apples and peaches come a close 2nd and 3rd. With plums a close 4th. Passion-fruit in season, too!

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Apples are my favourite . Either as they come or juiced .

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I am biased, as I grow a lot of fruit with a market for rare & interesting varieties. While I don’t have an all time favourite I tried the Achacha (pronounced Ah! cha-cha - the dance) and wrote a 4 page article for our rare fruit group. It’s correct name is Achachairú, which was shortened to Achacha for the Australian market. Garcinia humilis a tropical fruit.

Probably best to look at Australia’s largest orchard’s website achacha.com.au
The season finished in February. You can eat the white flesh and steep the skins to make a drink. I like the flesh fresh as it is not overly sweet. It is very easy to pop open and eat. Chewing too close to the seed makes it a bit bitter. Seedlings are available for sale and it is easy to propagate from fresh seed (according to the WA chapter of the Rare Fruit) but none of mine have sprouted.

Here’s a picture - they are a little bigger than a sugar plum or loquat, have two seeds, a large & small, come away from the skins easily, keep at room temperature (fridge will spoil them), a pleasing colour, although these have been knocked around being the last for sale, they are usually a blemish free orange/yellow.

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The Nectarine - so sad that it is only available for a few months each year. Love now that they are also expanding the varieties.

I attended a farmers market nearly 2 years ago, and was buying some goat cheese off a vendor and they advised me to go to the next vendor, buy the nectarines and make a nectarine and goats cheese salad. Needless to say I did, and it is now a family favourite. Great selling technique for the vendors as well!

Nectarine White + Yellow - more on the unripe side - cut into thin slices
Goats Cheese - any that takes your fancy, but I have found one that has lemon myrtle Goats Cheese on it. Woodside Cheese Wrights - Adelaide Hills - Harris Farm stocks the brand.
Fennel - sliced thinly
Rocket leaves
White Balsamic Vinegar / Olive Oil / Orange juice (Fresh Orange)
Toasted pine nuts or tasted slivered almonds
Layer away, pull the goats cheese apart and place on top, dress and devour.

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Must be because of the stuff I have read today (1st of April), but I inadvertantly read that as the April Fool Challenge. :crazy_face:

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Grapes. Not too big, sweet and juicy. The current red/black grapes :grapes: being sold at WW & Coles are delicious, and I can sit down and eat a rather large bunch at one sitting.

Funnily enough, our chook also has a penchant for them, often swallowing them down whole. I am amazed at the size of the grapes she can fit down her gullet.

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If your seeing Fool for Food Tamas maybe you’ve been drinking the juice that grapes produce . :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I had contemplated adding that to the benefits of the red grapes :wine_glass: Cheers!

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This is a very difficult challenge for me, as there is a very long list of fruit I like to eat…can’t think of one that I don’t.

I suppose rather than nominating one particular fruit, I can say that I enjoy fruit most when they are at the peak of the ripeness. I don’t like fruit such as stone fruit or pears firm, and other like rockmelon need to have a strong smell to ensure that the flavour has developed during ripening.

Maybe a fruit story will also be good…at the top of Marble Mountain outside Da Nang in Vietnam, some local students who were also climbing gave me some Langsats which I had never tried before. Being a very hot and humid day, with sweat emanating from every surface on the body, the langsat was a fresh and cooling fruit to have. I am yet to have the opportunity to try them again, but if I see them, I definitely would.

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As a kid growing up in QLD there was a pawpaw tree in the back yard, and we ate lots of them.
But, they need to be prepared and cut up and drizzled with lemon juice. Then in the fridge for a while to absorb the lemon.

On the other hand, I never liked mangoes.

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On April Fools’ Day, I suggested to Mike that instead of a badge, a free trip to Mars should be offered.
Being wiser than I am, he declined, saying that the “System” would pick it up as “Inappropriate” :laughing:

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Yum!!

It is a food challenge. :wink:

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That’s exactly what I was suggesting! :laughing:

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Almost all the responses so far circle about the eating qualities as an unprepared fruit. There are some dips into nutrition and playing with the definition of ‘fruit’. Rhubarb is great but a stem eaten as a dessert and tomatoes are botanically fruit (technically berries) that are treated like a vegetable in food preparation and (in some places) legally also.

How about a fruit that is used in many cuisines, that is essential to some classic dishes, where every part but the seeds can be eaten and whose aroma evokes cleanliness in many cultures but is almost never eaten unprepared?

For total flexibility, all-round pleasure and usefulness you cannot go past the lemon. Google “recipe lemon” for half a billion hits.

Lemon juice is a key sour flavour that adds depth and complexity to dishes both savoury and sweet, it is more flexible than vinegar and more common than other fruit-based sour ingredients like tamarind. Sour is very important to taste being one of the big five flavours that have been shown to be detected by our taste buds: sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami.

The zest (just the yellow layer of the peel) contains a mix of natural essential oils that most of us find very appealing. These oils are essential in the sense of being an essence not of being obligatory. Desserts and patisserie would be much less interesting without lemon zest (and juice) and who could forget the cleaning products that tell you that you are a good homemaker using them in your house because they smell of lemon. Advertisers found that odours pull on emotions long ago.

What about the white part of the skin, you can’t eat that. Yes you can, here is how.

Preserved lemons

This condiment is most often encountered in north African cooking as an accompaniment to dishes like targine. You can buy it in speciality stores for silly prices like $10 to $15 for a small jar or make it yourself for much less.

You need a large wide-mouth container with a lid, preferably glass, enough lemons to fill it plus a few more and salt. If you cannot grow your own do your preserving when lemons are cheap and plentiful. I grow and prefer Meyer lemons but you cannot always get them commercially. I only do this every few years when there is a bumper crop.

Wash and dry your lemons, keep aside some for juicing. Slice longways into quarters discarding any damaged or blemished segments. Pack them tightly into the jar in layers and sprinkle each layer generously with salt. Add juice as you go shaking to remove air bubbles. Continue filling until the jar is nearly full and cover the fruit with juice. The fruit will tend to float so you may want to put some inert object like a small plate in the top to hold them down. Any that are not submerged will not preserve properly. Put the lid on not quite tight and put the jar away in a dark place where it will not be disturbed.

Depending on the temperature and the amount of salt you use the fruit may ferment somewhat and produce gas. During the process you may get a white bloom on top. It is a harmless fungus just scoop it off. After three weeks tighten the lid. Keep for at least 6 weeks before using.

To use, wash the quarters under running water and peel the pulp off the skin with your thumbnail, it will come away easily, discard the pulp. Wash and dry the skin and slice thinly. Use to garnish any dish where lemon will work. Usually used in savoury dishes but there is no reason it won’t go with sweet dishes given some thought. The skin ends up slightly salty, slightly tart but bursting with lemon flavour.

For the first few months the preserves will remain white-yellow but with time they will brown. The liquid will also darken and eventually turn to a jelly. Sadly it is on no use as it is too salty. I have kept such preserves for many years and they remain good to use. No harmful microbes can grow in the medium which is very salty and very acid. You may get the tops poke out of the liquid and turn nasty looking, if so just discard them the rest will be fine.

So there you are, the lemon, the one fruit that cooks cannot do without.

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April, chocolate, Easter, bunnies? Well Hares in Qld as rabbits are on the banned list. I prefer the Easter Bilby.

Staying on topic and with a chocolate theme I’d suggest the Black Sapote as one of my choices, after the Custard Apple. Aside from the versatility and surprising flavour of the Sapote it is also very high in vitamin C.

The Black Sapote is available most of the year except for Feb, March, April around here. They can be grown in the back yard, if you are prepared to wait 5-6 years to fruit and have the room. 8m spacing and mature tree height to 25m.

The trees are almost set and forget apart from a little water until mature, if you have sandy coastal loams. They can survive occasional flooding and don’t require pruning or heavy fertiliser use. We had great success with our grafted persimmon. It will be worth the wait.

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Was just thinking of Limoncello, an after-dinner digestive, best served chilled. It’s the second most popular in Italy, the number one being Campari.

It’s well known in Aus too: every souvenir shop in Capri had bottles for sale and those were very popular with my fellow travellers.

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While we are on Citrus (I am writing a series on Citrus for the Rare Fruit newsletter as we speak …) Try the Lemonade. I first came across these when the guy who taught Mr Z to fly in a Thurster in the 1980’s met us again in 2010. He was growing sugar cane and had international visitors - one of those schemes for people to work for free in return for accommodation - and they went mad over this unknown citrus growing in the chook pen.

They squeezed the juice and drank it neat. He was hooked! He brought bucket loads to our Fly-in breakfast and juiced like crazy, handing out cups to anyone who stood still. I planted a few in our orchard and we have the juice occasionally - it is an acid that will eat your tooth enamel just like a lemon.
The Lemonade is a hybrid between the Meyer lemon and an orange. It is sweetish, not very sour, but still has overtones of lemon. It is thin skinned and easy to squeeze by hand, you can peel and eat the flesh or cut in quarters.

The trees are small; depending on the rootstock if grafted. Self pollinating with one crop - autumn to winter, although the fruit ripens in stages giving a steady supply. Grows from the tropics to cooler climes. Not commercially available, probably due to the single crop, small tree and lack of consumer awareness. You can buy plants through nurseries. They fruit from a young age. Apply Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate) to the drip line for sweeter fruit.

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