Welcome to the 8th Fruit Delivery of 2014; Sept 24 & 25
Have you ever tried cutting out a lot of food items out of your diet? Every fall over the course of several days I like to get my diet down to just apples, pears, vegetables and water. I crave some sugary treats and crunchy chips at first but then I find myself replacing these cravings with a sweet Honeycrisp apple or a juicy Concorde pear more than satisfies these cravings and gives me more consistent energy throughout the day. Since we are heading into peak of apple and pear season I’m sticking with my handy fruit snacks to maintain a healthy blood sugar throughout the day. If your interested in the specifics of this cleanse let me know.
Here are some of the reason pears are so great for you. Pears contain two of three antioxidants that are thought to decrease risk of type 2 diabetes. Pears contain more fiber than almost all other fruits, with 22% of your recommended daily intake. They also contain about 12% of your recommended daily vitamin C. They are a good source of vitamin B2, C, E, copper, and potassium. Pears contain more pectin than apples, which helps keep your cholesterol levels in check. Fresh pears are considered “hypo-allergenic” because people with food allergies can often enjoy pears without having a reaction. They are low glycemic, which means the carbs in pears are slow to convert to sugar – so you don’t get a sugar high and crash, which can wreak havoc on your body.
Everett Myers, Founder and President of FruitShare™
In your box
Honeycrisp and Gala apples
Bartlett, Bosc and Concorde pears
Storage and Ripening
Take all of your pears out of the box right away. Store them on the counter at room temperature. Test ripeness by checking the neck, or pressing gently on the pear near the stem. When the pear gives to gentle thumb pressure, the pear will be juicy and soft. This is the best way to check pears because they ripen from the inside out, and pressing near the stem gets you closer to the center of the fruit. Remember that pears are an ethylene-producing fruit; that means that they naturally produce a gas that will make them ripen faster. If you want to ripen up your pears quickly, put a few in a paper bag to trap the gas. Once they give to thumb pressure you can refrigerate them, which lets you enjoy them over a longer period of time. Keep the apples in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator to keep them fresh for several weeks.
What It Takes
This week’s Honeycrisp, Gala, Bosc, Bartlett and Concorde pears are from the Stennes family. Like many of our organic growers, the Stennes family farm in Washington’s Cascade Mountains is a family affair. The farm began in 1894, when the Stennes family emmigrated from Norway and planted apple trees on their homestead. Now, Keith is joined by his twin sons, Mark and Kevin to make up the third and fourth generations of Stennes farmers. They have grown the orchard to include not just apples, but also cherries, pluots, plums, and of course, pears. This week they’ve provided some great pears. Concordes are known for their sweetness and juiciness, as well as their tall, beautiful shape. They have yellow-green skin, and can be eaten while crisp, making them a unique variety because you don’t need to wait for them to fully soften! If you do like a softer pear you can wait until they fully soften and you will enjoy all the complex juicy flavor they have to offer. Concorde pears are perfectly suited for slicing on a cheese plate or into a fresh salad because they don’t turn brown when sliced like most pears. Bosc pears are a distinctive variety with a crunchy-yet-tender flesh and sweet, spiced flavor. Don’t be deterred by their brown skin: the flesh is firm and spicier than other varieties. Bosc pears are more flavorful earlier in the ripening process. Enjoy their complex, sweet flavor before they have fully softened. When you test your Bosc pears to check their ripeness, keep in mind that their flesh is denser than other varieties. This means that when you “check the neck,” it will not give as much to pressure. Don’t wait around for these pears to get super soft; they’re ready to enjoy while they’re still firm. Because of this firm flesh, Bosc pears are great for baking, broiling and poaching. Their strong flavor is also less likely to be overwhelmed by spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg. The Bartlett pears are the classically pear-shaped fruit in the box with green to yellow-green skin. As they ripen, they turn from bright green to nearly all yellow. Remember to “check the neck”. When they give to thumb pressure at the stem end they will be fully sweet and juicy.
David Bedford of the University of Minnesota developed the Honeycrisp apples with good old fashioned cross breeding over 20 years ago. It is the most popular apple we know of for eating fresh. It’s crisp sweet and tart combination along with the juicy crunch makes it a favorite. Bedford says that studied under an electron microscope, Honeycrisp cells are twice the size of other apples, which accounts for their unique, pleasing texture. The cells fill up with natural sugar water, which makes then delicious even to the core. We try to get you as many honeycrisp as we can every year, but they are always limited and their season is short so enjoy them while they last. Galas are a beautiful and delicious early season apple. They are great for eating out of hand but if you’re so inclined they make fantastic applesauce. Keep all your apples in the coolest part of your refrigerator to keep them crisp.
Health and Wellness
Great news! Eating the apples and pears in your box this week could help decrease your risk for type 2 diabetes – especially for women. It is known that certain antioxidants called flavonoids can help improve insulin sensitivity. There are three types of flavonoids that scientists are particularly interested in, and pears include two of them. While eating these antioxidants has been connected to decreased risk of type 2 diabetes in both men and women, a new analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study shows that the combination of flavonoids in apples and pears has the most consistent association with lower risk of diabetes. So dig in. This week’s box might as well be called the Flavonoid Box.
I grew up enjoying this recipe. It is great for breakfast straight or as a topping on oatmeal, pancakes or waffles. In the evening it is a delicious dessert and it makes a great topping for vanilla ice cream if you really want to indulge.
Cinnamon Sauteed Apples & Pears
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 apples—peeled, cored and sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 pears—peeled, cored and sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 tablespoons light brown sugar (experiment you may be able to use less)
Pinch of cinnamon
In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the apple and pear slices and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight and rewarm before serving.
Courtesy of foodandwine.com