October's Food Focus is Tree Fruits!
All About Tree Fruits
Tree fruits are a broad category that contains both common and uncommon fruit. We've all heard of apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, oranges, lemons, and limes. But did you know that pomegranates, coconut, starfruit, fig, guava, and jackfruit are also in this category? In addition, nuts such as pistachios, pecans, walnuts, and cashews are classified as tree fruits even though nutritionally they are very different.
As part of a healthy eating plan, between 1 and 2 cups of fruit are recommended every day. More active adolescenets and adults should consume closer to 2 cups and younger children who don't need as many total calories should consume slightly less at 1 cup. Tree fruits are naturally full of nutrients including fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. One large apple, for example, contains 20% of the recommended daily allowance of fiber, 7% potassium, and 8% of Vitamin C based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Fruits For the Whole Family
Fruits are eaily incorporated into snacks and meals for the entire family. Chances are, even picky eaters have a favorite fruit. And if parents desire to widen their child's repertoire of fresh fruit, a trip to the grocery store for him or her to choose a new fruit is a great way to provide a positive food experience.
Pair together food groups to get an extra boost of vitamins and minerals in an easy snack - apples with peanut butter, oatmeal with pomegranate seeds, or plum slices with goat cheese. Fruit is a popular snack choice because it is easy to find, goes anywhere, and helps keep us feeling full to make it through our day. Also, fruits such as plums, peaches, apples, and oranges are easily purchased and able to be stored whole without refrigeration, making feeding your family healthy foods one less thing to worry about.
Did You Know? Fun Facts About Tree Fruits
- There are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the US alone.
- To produce fruit, some trees must have other varieties or kinds planted next to them and use insects or wind to spread their pollen. Otheres can pollinate themselves without other plants nearby.
- One of the neatest tree fruits to cut into is the carambola, or starfruit. This fruit is yellow with five points and, when cut, resembles a star. Carambola is juicy and tart-sweet, perfect for a refreshing snack.
- Some fruits are ripe in the winter - dates, kiwi, passionfruit, pear, currants, and citrus. Some of these fruits grow in tropical climates and others are from hardy trees in colder climates.
Tips for the Supermarket
- Apples, pears, and oranges are available year-round, but even these have peak seasons of freshness and ripeness. Apples peak in the fall, pears in the fall/winter, and oranges in the winter for example. These fruits are grown domestically in the U.S. and are available in many varieties.
- Other tree fruits like peaches and plums are an excellent choice when in-season. Buying fruit out of season means you're paying a lot more, the fruit is often shipped from far away, and the taste and quality may not be as good.
- Not sure what's in season? Go to "fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org" and click on the right side of the screen. The "What's in Season?" link will give you a list of fruits and veggies peaking in every season.
- In the canned goods aisle:
- Stock up on canned fruits like applesauce, canned pears, and canned mandarin oranges for a scrumptious fruit salad.
- Choose canned fruits packed in their own juice or extra light syrup for fewer calories and sugar.
- In the frozen good aisle:
- Frozen is another cost-effective, time-saving alternative to fresh. Look for frozen apples, peaches, and mixed fruit to add to smoothies, and thaw for fruit cups anytime.
- Choose frozen fruit that is not packed with any additional ingredients (like sugar) - it is sweet enough!
Recipe of the Month
Chicken Salad with Apples and Cranberries
- 10 oz cooked, diced chicken
- 1/4 cup red onions, diced
- 1 1/2 medium apples, washed, cored & diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 2 Tb. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. dill, dried
- Wash all produce
- Dice onions and apples
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
- Mix well
- Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition per 3/4 cup serving: 210 calories, 8 g total fat, 300 mg sodium, 50 mg cholesterol, 19 g carbohydrate, 18 g protein, 2 g fiber.
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