Friday, June 29, 2007

FYI: How to Treat Ripe Fruit

For all fruit share CSA members - We'd like to share with you some tips on how to deal with ripe fruit. Obviously, you signed up for a fruit share because you wanted to get flavorful, sweet, ripe fruit - but you may find that there are some aspects to this that you didn't expect!

1) RIPE FRUIT MUST BE EATEN WITHIN A FEW DAYS OF YOUR CSA PICKUP. The fruit in your share is picked no more than one or two days before we bring it to you. Because it is picked ripe, it does not have a long shelf life. Therefore, instead of engineering the fruit to suit your schedule (i.e. picking fruit hard and unripe, cooling it, growing varieties that stay hard for a long time but have no taste, etc.) you will sometimes have to mold your eating schedule to the fruit. Ripe berries, heirloom tomatoes, ripe peaches, etc. will begin to soften and then mold after a few days... that's just what happens. If you can't eat them by then, cut them up and put them in the freezer, which will give you a source of delicious smoothies for the reat of the year. You can also bake fruit muffins and pies using frozen fruit.

2) DON'T CONFUSE SOFT WITH ROTTEN. Some of the fruit and tomatoes you get may be soft. This does not mean they are rotten. This means they are ripe or sometimes perhaps have spots that are slightly over-ripe. Again, this makes them good candiates for cooking rather than eating raw. Even moldy spots can often just be cut out of fruit and the rest of it used in cooked dishes. Make a sauce, chop them up and put them in pancakes or an omelet, make jam or cobbler or anything else tasty that occurs to you. Remember, our ancestors invented all these dishes in the first place as a way of using up their over-ripe fruit! Follow their good example of creativity and you will be rewarded.

3) LEARN HOW TO RIPEN UN-RIPE FRUIT. Some of the fruits you get will NOT yet be ripe, because they can't be handled at all when they are ripe and soft. Peaches are picked and delivered to you hard. Some tomatoes may need another couple of days to reach their peak. DON'T TRY TO EAT HARD FRUIT until it is RIPE! To ripen, just let the fruit sit on a counter OUT OF THE FRIDGE for a couple of days to let the sugars develop. Some people it in a brown paper bag, which keeps the plant hormones (ethylene) inside and aids ripening. You can put unripe fruit near some ripening bananas etc. to speed ripening. Don't put it near anything you don't want to over-ripen, like cut flowers, tomatoes, or fruit that is already ripe.

Good luck, and yum

From: Garden of Eve

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