Tropical fruits can take you to paradise

Enjoy a tropical escape without buying airline tickets or packing a suitcase. The sweet flavors and fruity aromas of tropical fruits transport our minds to a far-away, sun-drenched paradise.

There is no better time than now to lighten the mood with a few fruits from the tropics. It's even a fun way to get the kids to try a new fruit! Here are a few tropical fruit treasures:

Star fruit: Known for its shape when slicing them cross-wise, star fruit has a sweet to slightly tart flavor. Select firm and shiny star fruit that are mostly yellow. Store in the refrigerator in a plastic re-sealable bag for up to a week. A good source of vitamin C makes star fruit a perfect addition to a fruit salad or a fruity drink. No need to peel!

Cherimoya: Sometimes called a custard apple, cherimoya tastes like pineapple, papaya and banana combined. Purchase cherimoyas that are firm and heavy for their size and free of brown blotches. Wrap and refrigerate up to four days. Cut in half and serve fresh (without seeds) or freeze for 30 minutes and eat like sorbet.

Papaya: A good source of vitamins A and C; look for papayas that are richly colored, without dark spots. Refrigerate and use as soon as possible. Try making a fruit salsa with diced papaya, puree it for a sauce over dessert or try it as a salad dressing (without the seeds).


Kiwi: Completely edible, the fuzzy skin is a great source of fiber. The green flesh inside is full of edible black seeds. Kiwi keep for up to three weeks in the refrigerator and are ripe when they "give" to a little pressure when squeezed. Just slice raw, or cut in half and spoon out the flesh. Also great with salads or mixed into yogurt.

Mango: Best stored at room temperature; look for mangoes to change color as they ripen to yellow/red. Once ripe, store in the refrigerator up to five days. The flesh is juicy and sweet and high in vitamins A and C. Combine with peppers and red onions for a chutney over chicken, or puree as a sauce to top pancakes or waffles. Also great in a smoothie.

Any of these tropical fruits works well in a fresh fruit salsa that is sure to brighten your plate. To make fruit salsa, just choose two to three tropical fruits, a sweet bell pepper and an onion. Dice each and mix into a bowl. Add the juice of one lime; two tablespoons of minced, fresh cilantro; and a spicy pepper if you desire. Perfect with chicken, pork or seafood.

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