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Food Product Design: World Fare - Fruit BasketFood Product Design: World Fare - Fruit Basket

September 1, 1999

3 Min Read
Food Product Design: World Fare - Fruit Basket

Food Product Design


September 1999

Fruit Basket

By: Susheela Uhl
Contributing Editor

    Fruits provide a healthy, nutritious means of adding flavor, color, texture and visual appeal to a meal. Tropical and subtropical fruits such as carambola, papaya, passion fruit, persimmon, tangerines, zapote, durian, lychee, mango and guava lend variety, freshness and healthful attributes to the foods in which they are used.   North Americans traditionally consume fruits whole and in desserts, beverages and baked goods. Now, we are beginning to use fruits as essential elements in savory cooking as well, by adopting the cooking styles of authentic ethnic cuisines. Asian, Latin American, Mediterranean and Caribbean dishes combine various flavorful fruits, and are helping introduce North Americans to non-native varieties. Seville orange, kamia, kokum, tamarind and pomegranate, for example, add tart, bitter or sweet notes that complement savory and hot flavors and enhance a meal's visual appeal.   In savory cooking, fruits can be used in fresh, pureed and cooked forms, and in salads, stews, condiments and snacks. Dried, green mango (amchur) provides tartness and sweetness to Indian curries; shredded green papaya adds crunchiness to Thai salads; fresh sliced oranges give sweet and citrusy notes to Szechuan stir fries; pureed papaya and guava balance Caribbean hot sauces; grapefruit juice spikes up Latin American marinades; and cooked passion fruit provides texture to Indonesian sambals.   Flavored vinegars, cooking oils and rouxs can also benefit from fruits, which complement spices and herbs such as chile peppers, mint, cilantro, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, star anise, aniseed, fennel and cardamom. Such blends mix well with grilled steak, steamed fish, curried chicken or stewed vegetables. Ripe fruits can enhance salad dressings, salsas, snack fillings or pickles, and can be used in marinades as tenderizers for meats. When unripe or green, many fruits provide tartness and texture to salads, soups, marinades, curries and stews.   Certain fruits differ in color, flavor and texture, depending on their origins or stages of maturity. Examples of such fruits include mangoes, papayas, melons and oranges. Mangoes can be sweetly fragrant, slightly sweet and sour, or very tart, with a pulpy or stringy texture. In India or Southeast Asia, the ripe mango is usually served fresh after a meal, while the tart green mango is used fresh or dried for pickles and curries.   Fruits can replace part or whole portions of sugar, meat roux, or commercial acids such as citric and malic, while adding other desirable flavors. Aronia, acerola, oranges, cranberry and mango are good sources of fiber; vitamins A, C, K and E; and phytochemicals such as flavonoids, phenols, carotenoids, lycopene, catechins and folic acid. Grapes, berries and pomegranates provide natural color to foods or beverages. Fruits can even be tapped as natural preservatives, and can also help provide means of healing and staying healthy. With their range of healthful, flavorful and functional benefits, fruits are a valuable addition to almost any formulation.   Susheela Uhl is president of Horizons, a Mamaroneck, NY-based food-consulting firm. She develops products (ethnic and fusion), provides information on spices and other flavorings, and gives presentations exploring culinary trends and the factors contributing to their emergence. Back to top   Weeks Publishing Co. 3400 Dundee Rd. Suite #100
Northbrook, IL 60062
Phone: 847-559-0385
Fax: 847-559-0389
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.foodproductdesign.com

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