A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: How to Prep Fruit for Desserts

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14 May 2012

How to Prep Fruit for Desserts

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Making strawberry shortcake?
Or slicing apples for a pie?
Maybe you are prepping pears for baking...

Do you know how to keep them fresh and NOT brown and perhaps even a little syrupy sweet?
If you don't, read on!!  There's a simple, but vital ingredient that is probably in your fridge...

First things first, wash the fruit and cut off all the edible, but not terribly tasty parts of the fruit.
For apple pie, that means peeling and coring the apples.  
For strawberry shortcake, that means popping the tops off the strawberries.

How to Prep Fruit for Desserts
How to Prep Fruit for Desserts

How to Prep Fruit for DessertsThen you get to slice those puppies.  I cut strawberries the same way I cut onions.  Hold the fruit on both sides and then use a small knife to quickly slice horizontally.  I love the large top pieces you end up with when you slice horizontally instead of vertically.  Don't you?   The reason I hold the fruit together is to give the fruit stability from the first cut to the last.  Ever been cutting a fruit or veggie and the last two slices just kind of fall to pieces and get all mangled?  This little method solves that problem.  Just watch out for your fingers!  If you are inattentive, you could certainly cut yourself, though I've never done so.  (I have cut myself before, just never this way -- I typically cut myself when I'm reaching into the soap filled sink and accidentally grab a soapy knife - OOPS!)

PS - While you are cutting the tops off your strawberries, go ahead and toss them into your blender to use in your green smoothies, dinosaur smoothies, spinach margaritas (whatever you call them!).  I find the tops to add a bit of sweetness from the fruit and it feels good to get nutrition from "trash" normally tossed out.

You can also add beet greens, radish tops, fresh carrot greens and many other leafy greens that you otherwise might toss.  Research before eating and then blend, blend, blend!

OK, so you've been waiting for the "secret" ingredient, right?

It's lemon juice.

Whether you are going savory or sweet, always give your fruit (and veggies) a little douse of lemon juice and swoosh the fruit around with your fingers to make 
sure the juice touches every surface.  The lemon juice will keep the fruit fresh and make sure it doesn't go all nasty brown and such.

How to Prep Fruit for Desserts by Amy Renea

How to Prep Fruit for Desserts by Amy Renea
If you are making strawberry shortcake, you don't just want lemony strawberries, now do you?  Of course not.  This is the fun part -- sprinkle a good bit of white sugar all over those babies, mix and plop the dish in the fridge.  Every 30 min or so, just give the berries a little stir.   As early as 30 minutes and up to several hours later, the berries will start to get syrupy.  At that point, you better have a cake made and whipped cream ready because the strawberries are good to go!

Want to make a healthier dish?  Try substituting honey or stevia for the sugar.  Stevia can be finely chopped and thrown into the dish, but I am going to experiment with a stevia simple syrup, simply boiling water and then seeping the leaves to make a sweet syrup without the taste of "leaves".  (My husband always says anything leafy tastes like "grass" unless I can grab the flavor without the physical leaf...men...)

Anywhoo - cheers to you and enjoy the fresh fruit that will be popping up 
anyday now in your garden or at the grocery store!  
{I found my first red strawberry yesterday!  Too bad a critter ate it first :(  }
OH and HEY!  Don't forget the lemon juice!

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Laura Monday, May 14, 2012  

I cut my strawberries differently than you :). And we put sugar on the top and then let sit out until we're ready to eat - it gives plenty of time for the fruit to break down, the juices to really come out and the berries to become bright red. Yum!! And I learned to put lemon juice in apple pies from a friend - so tasty. But we made the pies right away, she just put the juice in because she said we had to.

Laura Beth Gunter Thursday, May 17, 2012  

Those strawberries look AMAZING!!! And with sugar, I'm already drooling :O)

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