5 Tricky Fruits and How to Eat Them
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2014
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Have you been eating your daily recommended 2 cups of fruit? If you're like most adults you are probably falling short, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, and this shortfall could be robbing you of significant benefits, such as improved weight control and a reduced risk for Type 2 diabetes. Eating a broad range of fruits, in addition to the usual bananas, apples and oranges, can help keep healthy eating exciting and interesting while inviting a host health perks. On the next slides, we’ll show you a few tricks to help turn seemingly tricky-to-prepare fruits into convenient, more appealing options. Plus, buying the whole fruits rather than pre-cut fruit will save you some money!
PINEAPPLES, PART 1: SLICE THEM RIGHT!
Preparing fresh pineapple can seem as thorny as the fruit's shell, but the process is both manageable and worth the effort. One cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains a mere 82 calories and over 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, says Jessica Cox, a registered dietitian and culinary nutritionist in Birmingham, Alabama. Pineapples are also rich in the mineral manganese and the anti-inflammatory enzyme, bromelain. To begin cutting a pineapple, Cox suggests laying it on its side on a large cutting board. Then slice off the top off and cut a 1/4-inch slice off the bottom, creating a flat bottom. Next steps are on the next slides.
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Close-up of pineapple slices
PINEAPPLES, PART 2: STAND IT UP AND TRIM THE SIDES
The outer shell of the pineapple isn't edible, but its thickness provides benefits, keeping the juicy fruit from soaking up pesticide residue. The protective outer shell is what helps pineapple to rank on the Environmental Working Group's "Clean 15" list of low-pesticide residue produce that is OK to buy as conventional, rather than organic produce. Once you've removed the top and bottom of your pineapple, stand it upright on its stable, flat bottom. "Cut down the sides to remove the rind," Cox says, "removing as little of the flesh as possible." If you find the outsides too prickly for comfort, wear kitchen gloves.
Related: Pineapple and Other 15 Fruits You Don’t Always Need to Buy Organic
Plates with chunks of diced fresh fruit
PINEAPPLES, PART 3: RADIANT RINGS OR JUICY CHUNKS?
Now that the pineapple is bare, it's time to cut rings or chunks. For rings, place the pineapple on its side and cut 1-inch slices from end to end. Then using a smaller knife, such as a paring knife, carefully cut the inner core out of each round. For a pretty display, arrange pineapple rings on a platter with other fruit. Place fresh grapes or cherries in the centers for added color and antioxidants. To create chunks, slice the pineapple in 2-inch increments. Then stack the sections and slice them into chunks of your desired width.
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MANGOS, PART 1: START BY STEADYING
The nutritional benefits of mangos are as bright as their vibrant orange flesh. Mangos are a great source of vitamins A and C, both of which provide potent antioxidant benefits, says Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Los Angeles. "Peel, cut and enjoy [mango] as is or added to a smoothie, yogurt, cereal or salad," Sheth recommends. Before you dive in, trim a small piece from the base of your mango using a paring or chef's knife so that you can keep it steady on your cutting board.
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MANGOS, PART 2: GO SEEDLESS
The mango's seed, or pit, is large, dense and inedible. To remove it, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests cutting the flesh away about a half-inch from the center. With a small knife, cut one broad slice from top to bottom, then continue with the same process all the way around. At this point, the peel will remain on each cut section. Depending on the size of your cuts and the mango, you should end up with about four to six thick sections of seedless fruit. Throw the seed away, as it is too dense for most garbage disposals.
MANGOS, PART 3: CHECKERBOARD CHUNKS
Now comes the fun part. Place one of the mango sections on a cutting board. With your opposite hand, use a paring knife to cut lines from one side of each section to the other, about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch apart. Then cut lines equally spaced apart going the opposite direction. Make your slices deep, moving the blade to the peel, but without cutting through it. This process results in a checkerboard-style grid. To release the fruit, simply cut the cubes away from the peel in smooth motions. The cubes will fall to the cutting board -- ready to serve!
Related: Coconut Mango Cream Recipe on MyPlate
POMEGRANATES, PART 1: JEWELS WORTH SEEKING
If you think you've eaten pomegranate flesh, you're mistaken; the seeds are the only edible part of the fruit, Cox notes. "These tiny jewels contain vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants that help protect your body from oxidative damage that can lead to heart disease and some types of cancer," she adds. One-half cup of seeds also provides 3.5 grams of fiber, which promotes appetite control, digestive function and heart health. To make your way toward those seeds, Cox suggests using a sharp knife to cut a thin slice from both ends. Then using a paring knife, make slices in the skin, creating 1- to 2-inch sections you'll pull apart in the next step.
POMEGRANATES, PART 2: SOAK OUT THE SEEDS
The next step in breaking into a pomegranate, Cox says, is immersing the fruit in a bowl of cool water. The bowl should be large enough to fully submerge the pomegranate, without water spilling over. Once you've submerged the pomegranate, she adds, "Gently separate the seeds from the membrane, being careful not to burst the seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the membrane will float to the surface of the water." There's no need to grab the seeds with your hands; simply let them separate from the fruit on their own.
POMEGRANATES, PART 3: SHOWER THE SEEDS
Rather than pull the seeds out with your hands or a spoon, both of which could get messy, Cox recommends using a slotted spoon to remove the membrane and lift the seeds out of the water. Then place the seeds in a colander and rinse them with cool water under the faucet to remove any remaining residue. Store the seeds in an air-tight container in your refrigerator to enjoy as snacks or recipe additions throughout the next several days. You can also freeze pomegranate seeds for added nutrients and flavor in heart-healthy smoothies and shakes.
Related: 6 Heart-Smart Smoothies and Juices
GRAPEFRUITS, PART 1: CUT IT IN HALF
If you love grapefruit but loathe the sticky mess of preparing it, you may want to revamp your approach. While many people peel grapefruit like an orange, using a knife to create membrane-free slices is ideal, says Faith Durand, cookbook author and executive editor of home cooking and kitchen design site TheKitchn.com. It lifts away the excess membranes (the bitter white part), leaving you with smooth, juicy segments. This process gives you neat grapefruit slices you can eat with breakfast or in a salad. To get there, Durand explains, you should start by cutting the grapefruit in half, from top to bottom.
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GRAPEFRUITS, PART 2: LAY IT FLAT AND PEEL
Once you've halved your grapefruit, Durand suggests laying one half flat on a cutting board. Then using a sharp knife, whittle away the skin, leaving as much fruit intact as possible. If thick ropes of the white pith remain, peel them away with your fingers or a paring knife. To remove the rest of the thin pith layer, place your knife tip between the fruit and the pith, making a slit in each segment. Next, lift each segment out. "Think of this process like removing pages of a book, in between the covers," Durand explains on her website. Repeat the process until you end up with a loose "book" of membranes with the fruit removed. If you don't mind the pith, simply skip the last step, removing only the thicker ropes.
GUAVAS: SIMPLER THAN THEY SOUND
One cup of fresh-cut guava provides over six times the daily value of vitamin C, making it a great choice during cold and flu season. Guavas also provide notable amounts of vitamin B-6, potassium and protein and, for a tropical, uncommon fruit, are surprisingly simple to prepare. Start with a very ripe guava, according to Minnesota-based grocery chain Cub Foods' website. Cut the fruit into quarters, remove any seeds and peel the skin away with a small knife or vegetable peeler. Eat guavas on their own or as juicy, flavorful additions to smoothies and salads.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Which is your favorite of these “tricky” fruits? How often do you eat them and how do you prepare them? Are there any fruits that we mentioned that you haven’t tried yet or you don’t like? What other “tricky-to-eat” fruits do you most enjoy? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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