Fruity facts!

With so many lifestyle diseases being evident today it is time to incorporate more fruits in our daily diet because fruits are great sources of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (a group of compounds that may help prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes) and soluble fibre. Except for a few varieties (coconut, olives, avocados) all fruits are low in fat and calories. Fruits also satisfy your sweet tooth without loading up on calories.

Eating a variety of fruits is vital because different fruits provide different nutrients. For example, oranges and kiwi fruit are good sources of vitamin C. Bananas are a good source of potassium and apricots are high in vitamin A. So if you rarely venture beyond a few of your favourites, you are missing out on the nutrients and benefits of other fruits.

Here are suggestions to help you select the highest quality fruits when you are shopping, ways to store them once you get home, and tips for preparing and serving fruits to enhance their flavour and retain their nutrients.

Selecting top quality fruits: Choose in-season fruits. Select fruits that feel heavy for their size as heaviness is a good sign of juiciness. Smell fruits for characteristic aromas. Fruits should generally have their characteristic ripe scent but not smell overly ripe. For example, muskmelon should not smell too musty, especially if you do not plan to eat it right away. Also test the texture. A kiwi that feels mushy to the touch is too ripe. However, an avocado with a somewhat spongy texture is ideal. Be sensitive to the correct texture for the specific fruit you are interested in.

Storing tips: Keep fruits at room temperature to ripen them. Store ripe fruits in your refrigerator. The cool temperature slows the ripening process, giving you longer storage times. The length of time you can store fruit depends on many factors, including how ripe the fruit is at the time of purchase and the type of fruit. Oranges keep well from one to two weeks in your refrigerator. Others, such as strawberries and grapes may ripen and spoil in less time, even in a couple of days.

Serving ideas:

  • Prepare fresh fruit within about an hour of serving to maximize flavour, texture and nutrients. Some salads benefit from a little chilling time (about 30-60 minutes) for the various flavours to mingle well together.
  • Wash all fruits thoroughly under cold running water before cutting or eating whole. This includes those fruits with hard shells or skins, such as melons. That is because the knife you use to cut the melon could transfer germs from the surface into the flesh. Wash your hands before and after handling fresh fruits.
  • Leave on edible peels whenever possible. The peels of apples, pears and most fruits with pits add interesting colour and texture to recipes and contain added nutrients and fibre.
  • Remove zest from citrus peels before discarding and save it for other recipes. The zest is the thin, brightly coloured, outermost layer of citrus fruit, such as lemons or oranges. Grated or shredded, it adds a bright spark of flavour and colour enhancement to both sweet and savoury dishes.
  • A healthy diet does not have to be monotonous. Be adventurous. Try all the new and unfamiliar fruits. You may be surprised to find that you like them, and they will add interest and more health benefits to your diet.

Try this recipe and find several more on http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com

FRESH FRUIT TART

FRESH FRUIT TART 

Ingredients

1 pear
1 small pineapple, peeled
1 medium mango
1 kiwi, peeled
2 plums
2-3 large red grapes
2½ cups refined flour + for dusting
1 cup butter + for greasing
½ cup castor sugar
1¼ cups chilled whipped cream

Method

1. Preheat oven at 180°C. Line a 7-inch tart mould by greasing with a little butter and dusting with little refined flour.

2. To make tart mould, combine refined flour, butter and castor sugar in a bowl. Rub well till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Add little water and mix into a soft dough. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

4. Dust dough with little flour and roll out into a large disc. Line the prepared tart mould and press from inside so that the dough set properly inside the mould. Discard the edges, press the sides with the thumb and prick the inside base with a knife. Fill the inside by keeping kidney beans on the base and put in the preheated oven. Blind bake for 12-15 minutes.

5. Remove mould from oven and demould.

6. Cut and deseed pear. Roughly chop pineapple. Peel, deseed and roughly chop mango. Slice kiwi. Deseed and roughly chop plums.

7. Spread whipped cream inside the tart mould and level it out. Place chopped fruits on it the way you want.

8. Deseed red grapes and halve them. Place them in the tart and serve immediately.

PS: This recipe is such that you can try out several different combinations of fruits and toppings, let me know if you put your own spin on it and how!

Till then
Happy cooking, happy eating! Stay healthy stay fit!

Calorie conscious?

If you are health conscious the word calorie will mean the world to you! Yes, calorie is a unit of energy that can be measured by many methods. Here, we are focusing on foods that may help you lose weight as they, through the process of eating, chewing, digesting, metabolizing, actually make the body work harder to extract the calories.

This can be explained simply. You consume a generous wedge of Mocca Gateaux at the five star buffet. It is around 400 calories. To digest it your body may require only 150 calories…net gain of 250 calories which is added to your body fat! On the other hand, you munch on a stick of celery which is only 5 calories. Your body may require 150 calories to digest it, resulting in a net loss of 145 calories from the body fat! Here the common person may infer that the more you eat of such foods the more weight you lose! But anything in excess is harmful. Remember this – it is a guiding principle in healthy eating.

Any diet plan will focus not only on the total calorie intake for the day but also the break up in the meals and also the distribution in the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals and fibre. This write up here is not to design any diet for you but to give you a brief dekho into the world of foods that can help you lose weight in a safe and natural way.

Foods that help in fat burning have three essential features: they are high in moisture and fibre and low in carbohydrates and protein. It could be a safe and natural way to lose weight without starving. It is a well-established fact that the extra bulk that fibre contains will help you feel fuller for longer and thus help you stave off hunger pangs and lose weight. These foods should be incorporated in the daily meals because they will provide all essential nutrients. In fact, once you look it over it will strike you that fruits and vegetables in the raw form are the foods that we need to munch on seriously and that they provide the essential fibre, moisture, vitamins and minerals to our daily diet. In fact, vitamins stimulate the tissues to produce enzymes that break down the caloric nutrients of the foods.

Experts tell us that we need to include five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables in our daily diet for it to be termed healthy. Eating this suggested amount is difficult for many people. Fruits and vegetables have maximum benefits when eaten without any junk foods that are empty calorie foods. I suggest when in need of a snack reach out for celery sticks or an apple and forget the chips and cookies. When you make a sandwich ensure some lettuce and thick slices of tomato make the filling. Salads can help to supplement any meal even when you are on a diet that is being monitored for calories. At the dessert display at a buffet or party, look for the bowls of chopped fruits. And serve yourself some!

I should bring to your notice that I have not included any non vegetarian or even eggs in the category of foods that can help you burn calories while digesting them. For ready reference I have a short list of foods that can help you in weight loss:

Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, capsicums, cucumber, garlic, green beans, gourds, lettuce, onion, radishes, spinach, turnip, zucchini, lemon, grapefruit, apple, papaya, orange, pineapple to name a few. You can also see how much calories some of our favourite foods cost us here. Given here are some easy recipes that can help you along.

Clear Vegetable Soup

Healthy Cornflakes Bhel

Warm Thai Noodle and Papaya Salad

Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor