Monday, July 30, 2012

Guide in picking the best of your favorite fruits

Dr Abe V Rotor

Still life in pastel by Anna Christina Rotor

The best part of papaya is the lower half; it is more fleshy, sweeter and deeper in color.  In the case of pineapple it is the opposite – the upper half is superior. Here is a cursory list to guide buyers and consumers.

·         Lansones – Extra large fruits have big seeds, and are not in any way sweeter than the rest in the bunch. Choose the medium size, quite elongated, and bright yellow in color.

·         Cucumber – Choose the size for pickling or about.  As the fruit matures it loses its firm cartilaginous consistency and the seeds have already matured.  Harvest okra, cowpea, patola, batao and string beans when still succulent, other wise they become fibrous. 

·         Squash – Tough to the fingernail, does not exude sap.  The fruit is mature and seasoned, and has glutinous (malagkit) consistency.

·         Ampalaya – Break the tip of the stem and look for the yellowish to orange coloration at the center. Red means the fruit is over mature.

·         Watermelon Stripes are distinct and widespread. The cut stem should be green. Tap the fruit with the forefinger.  If the sound is deep and dull, the fruit is ripe. Better still, ask the seller to make a triangular cut through the fruit. 

·         Banana – The upper fruits in the bunch are bigger, sweeter and the first to ripen.

·         Caimito – Fruits becomes shiny when it is about to ripen. This is also true in avocado (Persea Americana)  and tiesa (Locuma nervosa).

·         Chico Lightly scrape the skin of the fruit with your fingernail. If underneath is green it is not yet ready for harvesting. This is also a guide in buying unripe chico.

·         Sugar apple or atis (Anona squamosa) – Fruit well expanded, canals are distinct, color turns pale green.    

        Guyabano - (Anona muricata) usually irregular in shape, choose the most expanded part, with spikes set far apart. Fruit should yield to pressure if ripe. 

        Duhat - (Syzygium cumini) choose the large, dark and shiny berries, not those reddish in color. To improve taste, shake berries (with little salt) in a container with cover until limped, but not squashed.   

        Santol - (Sandoricum koetjape) Choose small and medium size, not the big ones. The smaller the fruit the smaller are its seeds. Small seeds can be safely swallowed. The flesh is relatively thinner and more palatable. 

        Siniguelas -  (Spongias purpurea). Pick fruits that do not yield to pressure. Choose firm, shiny and purple ones, preferably with the peduncle or fruit stem is still attached. Siniguelas has a short shelf life. And since it is eaten fresh, it must not be stored for more than a day once it is ripe.  

          Sugarcane for chewing – Get the internodes closest to the base; they are sweeter than those near the top.

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