By Kelsey Casselbury 2014-02-27 19:03:07
It’s a red-letter day when ruby-hued fruits appear on the menu, bursting with nutrients, color and, most important, flavor. From richly colored berries to classic red apples to exotic pomegranates, red and pink fruits are a feast for the senses. Due to the longstanding popularity of flavors such as strawberry, cherry and watermelon, it’s probably not too difficult for you to convince students to expand their consumption of some of these beloved fruits. Other options, however, such as the blood orange and pomegranate, that fall into the red/ pink category might be unfamiliar to the kids—and, perhaps, to you. This month, School Nutrition continues its multi-year series of vegetable and fruit overviews based on the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s “5 A Day The Color Way” campaign. Take a look back at School Nutrition’s explorations of green fruits (“Green Giants,” June/July 2013) and orange/yellow fruits (“Sunny Dispositions,” June/July 2012), and then venture on to learn new ways to enjoy and promote red and pink fruits at school and at home. Red Apples When it comes to cultural references to fruit, perhaps no piece of produce is more ubiquitous than the shining red apple. But despite the legends of Johnny Appleseed and William Tell or the connection between apples and student ingratiation with their teachers, apples also have been at the heart of some longstanding negative press, standing in as the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and being the instrument of Snow White’s downfall. These aspersions on its cultural reputation couldn’t be less deserved. After all, how could a fruit so packed with fiber, flavanols and a bit of vitamin C be so problematic?! Consider that the apple wasn’t grown in the Middle East at the time the Book of Genesis was drafted and was more likely the invention of a Renaissance painter or Paradise Lost poet John Milton. (Spoiler alert: The forbidden fruit actually might have been the pomegranate! More on this revelation to come.) In fact, if apples weren’t such a shining example of fruit goodness, why would growers produce more than 2,500 varieties in the United States alone? Of those, only about 100 are sold in stores—and not all of these fall into the red or pink color category. The nine most popular versions on this color spectrum range from the common Red Delicious, a crispy and juicy apple available year-round, to the elusive Honeycrisp, a sweet, crunchy varietal that originated in Minnesota. In fact, the Honeycrisp is found on supermarket shelves only for a brief period in September and October, and its intensive growing process means it’s the most expensive of apples—but worth the price tag to some. The “best” apples are defined by your intended purpose; if you just want to bite into a sweet, firm apple, that aforementioned Honeycrisp, along with the Fuji, Gala and Pink Lady (also known as the Cripps Pink), are your best bets. For cooking, the McIntosh is said to cook down well into applesauce, while the Empire and Jonagolds bake just right into pies. Braeburns can do it all—they’re a multipurpose apple with culinary uses limited only by your imagination. But with all the many varieties of red or pink apples available, don’t be afraid to check out unfamiliar options, taking the opportunity to see if one is your perfect apple. Whatever you do, though, don’t automatically peel that apple—two-thirds of the fruit’s fiber is found in its colorful skin. Blood Oranges Due to its rather unimaginative name, the orange is generally considered to be, well…orange. But the gruesome moniker of a blood orange refers to the deep red flesh that lies beneath the citruscolored rind. This unexpected visual treat is due to the presence of antioxidant pigments known as anthocyanins. They’re most common in flowers and other types of fruits, but unheard of in citrus—except for blood oranges, which develop this characteristic color during low overnight temperatures. “What low overnight growing temperatures?” you might ask. “Aren’t oranges grown in warm climates such as Florida and Arizona?” You’re right, but this variety of citrus mostly comes from the Mediterranean region of Europe (though they’re grown in California, too) during the chillier winter months. The two most popular varieties are the Moro, available from December to March, and Tarocco, in season from January to May. The two varieties differ in more than just their availability— Moros are stronger and slightly more bitter, but with a hint of raspberries. They’re also more likely to have intensely deep red or even nearly black flesh. Taroccos are sweeter with a lighter flesh, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as “half-bloods,” likely to the delight of Harry Potter fans everywhere. There’s a third variety, Sanguinello, which has a reddish skin and a sweet flesh; it’s available until the end of May, but it’s less common in the United States. Like other citrus fruits, blood oranges provide a wallop of vitamin C, along with a hefty dose of fiber. Don’t negate their folate, calcium and thiamine content, either—this fruit is a nutritional powerhouse! Blood oranges are best eaten fresh, cut into sections (note that students might be awed by or wary of the color), or add them to fruit salsas or cook into a jam. Cherries Whenever a candy, ice pop or other treat is flavored red, chances are it’s cherryfl avored—and that’s simply a testament to this fruit’s popularity. Of course, it’s a much healthier choice to eat actual cherries, versus their sugary flavored counterparts, given that these small stone fruits are full of potassium, which naturally reduces blood pressure and counteracts the effects of sodium. Cherries also are bursting with beta carotene, vitamin C and anthocyanins. Cherries are a relative of apricots, peaches and plums, owing to the fact that all of these fruits contain a small, tooth-breaking pit in the center that you must work around when eating. These pits often are reason enough for some people to avoid eating or cooking with fresh cherries. Cooks wanting to use fresh cherries as an ingredient might turn to a cherry pitter, a notorious one-use tool (in other words, a space-waster), or try this tip: A thick plastic straw, pushed through the center of the cherry, works nearly as well. Cherries come in two varieties: tart/sour and sweet. The latter are the type you’ll probably eat out of hand as a snack; they’re larger than sour cherries. But if you bake a cherry pie, you’ll probably use canned or frozen sour cherries mixed with sugar in the filling. Students also might enjoy dried cherries, available year-round, as part of a trail mix, on a salad bar or as a topping for parfaits or hot cereals like oatmeal. Cranberries Speaking of oatmeal, dried cranberries (now on the USDA Foods Available List) make for a tasty topping, too. But how often do you cook with fresh cranberries? If your answer is only around Thanksgiving, as part of a homemade cranberry sauce, you’re not alone. However, these little red orbs have a long history in North America, as they’re one of just three native fruits that are grown commercially today on this continent. (The others: blueberries and Concord grapes.) American Indians used cranberries as food, of course, but also as a fabric dye and healing agent. The fruit’s history continues with the Pilgrims, who originally named it the “craneberry,” as well as with American mariners who consumed cranberries to prevent scurvy during long sea voyages. One of the more curious aspects of cranberries is how they’re grown and harvested—in bogs. These are areas of soft, marshy ground, typically near wetlands, where cranberries grow on vines. In one method of harvesting, the bog is flooded with 18 inches of water the night before harvesting. The berries float to the surface, and farmers use special equipment (dubbed “eggbeaters”) that churn the water and loosen the cranberries from the vine. This approach has led to a common but incorrect assumption that cranberries grow in the water. The flood method tends to be used for berries that will be processed, while fresh cranberries are harvested with a waterless method that involves a mechanical picker that combs the berries off the vine. Cranberries can be a love-it-or-hate-it type of fruit, considering the berries are fairly bitter when eaten fresh. But they can be used in a variety of recipes: baked into muffins or bread, chopped and slightly cooked into a salsa to top meat dishes or roasted alongside such vegetables as Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Beyond tasty menu options, consider the benefits of pure cranberry juice on treating urinary tract infections. Cranberries contain a bacteria-blocking compound that wards off these infections; researchers now think it can be beneficial in eliminating bacteria that contribute to ulcers and gum disease. The berries also are rich in phytochemicals, some of which might have an effect on cholesterol levels. Pomegranates In most literary references, the apple is considered the forbidden fruit found in the Garden of Eden. But some scholars suggest that the ruby red fruit that tempted Eve was, in fact, a pomegranate—an assertion supported by the fact that this fruit (the name of which means “seeded apple”) actually was a popular favorite in the Middle East around the time that the Book of Genesis was penned. Take one look at the glistening jewels inside a pomegranate, which in this country is grown mostly in California, and you might see why it was considered so enticing. These small, juicy bits are called arils, and they contain tart red juice and a small white seed, which is edible. Sometimes referred to as a “superfood,” fresh pomegranates are high in antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C and fiber—the trick is simply knowing how to cut into the fruit to get to the edible part. Cut off the crown end of the pomegranate and score the skin of the fruit into quarters. Break these sections apart, following the score lines. Bend back the skin and scoop the seeds into a bowl, removing any white pith—you don’t want to eat that part. But you can eat the arils whole, including the small seeds in the center. You also can scoop the arils into a bowl of water and then strain the mixture to make sure everything but the arils is discarded. Of course, you might opt to simply have a glass of pomegranate juice—as tart as it may be—or add it into smoothies, ice pops or as a flavor for sparkling water. Raspberries Here’s a good indication of the popularity of the raspberry in this country: Despite being the world’s third-largest producer of raspberries, U.S. raspberry growers just can’t keep up with domestic demand. Thus, we import fresh raspberries from other countries, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center—primarily from neighbors Mexico and Canada, depending on the season. The raspberry is the third most-popular fruit in the United States—following strawberries and blueberries—and its commercial growth is concentrated in Washington, Oregon and California. It’s grown in two distinct seasons; summer-bearing varieties produce crops in July and August, while fall-bearing crops provide a large harvest in the autumn months and a smaller one the following summer. These teeny, reddish-pink fruits offer yet another way to get your daily requirement of vitamin C, as one cup provides more than 50% of what you need—along with 8 grams of fiber, plus folate and potassium. However, raspberries come in other colors, too, including black, purple and gold—you’re just not as likely to see these at your local market. So, how do you most enjoy these sweet, red jewels? In a jam, puréed into a smoothie or baked into a dessert? (Pairing with chocolate is especially decadent and delicious—and thus highly recommended.) If you’ve ever cursed a basket of berries for spoiling before you enjoyed them, it might have been your own fault. Raspberries keep for just a few days in the refrigerator, but you shouldn’t wash them until you’re ready to eat; the water hastens mold growth. Strawberries Here’s the thing about the strawberry— despite its name, it’s not a berry. At least, not biologically speaking. It’s what’s known as an “aggregate accessory fruit,” because it has seeds on the outside of the skin, versus on the inside like blueberries. (In fact, the raspberry isn’t a botanical berry, either! Yet, other foods that unexpectedly fit into the scientific definition of a “berry” include bananas, watermelons and pumpkins!) Given the loosey-goosey use of the word “berry,” the difference between aggregate accessories and true berries probably isn’t something to lose sleep over when providing nutrition education to your student customers. Instead, focus on the nutrients that strawberries can offer. Even though citrus fruit tends to be prized first for its vitamin C content, ounce for ounce, strawberries have more of this important vitamin. They also provide nearly 4 grams of fiber per cup, along with a smidge of vitamin B6, magnesium and iron. Naturally, most kids and adults love snacking on fresh strawberries, but they have a wide array of uses—they go quite well in desserts, of course, such as homemade strawberry ice cream, but also in savory applications. Wrap up sliced strawberries in a whole-grain tortilla spread with peanut butter for breakfast, or layer them on a pizza with balsamic vinegar, blue cheese and arugula for an unexpected flavor combination. Given that strawberries are grown in every state in America, according to the University of Illinois Extension—California and Florida lead the way—they’re not hard to procure. However, bite into an out-of-season strawberry, and you might be disappointed. The peak season runs from March to May or June, depending on the region; during the rest of the year, you might be better off purchasing unsweetened frozen strawberries for your culinary endeavors. Watermelon If you were to name one fruit that symbolizes summer, the answer likely would be watermelon. A staple of barbecues and picnics everywhere, this juicy reddish-pink fruit is 92% water —which explains why it’s just so darn refreshing on a hot day. But along with that liquid, a watermelon offers vitamins A, C and B6, as well as lycopene, an antioxidant that occurs in many red fruits and provides a bounty of health benefits. Watermelon is something that seems so uniquely American, given its exalted status as a typical Independence Day treat, but the United States actually ranks fifth in worldwide production of this fruit. (We’re beaten out by China, Turkey, Iran and Brazil.) In America, you can find between 200 and 300 varieties grown primarily in Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona, although a whopping 44 of the 50 states produce watermelons! Two of the main varieties are seeded and seedless, while mini, orange and yellow watermelons round out the top five. Of course, seedless watermelons are much easier to eat—no spitting required—and, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, more than 60% of shoppers choose the version without the ubiquitous black seeds. Some say, however, that the seedless varieties lack the much-desired sweet flavor—but the difference might be all in your head. According to 2012 research conducted by National Public Radio journalists, the biological difference between the two versions—seedless watermelons have three sets of genes instead of two—means that it’s more likely that the seed-free varieties will be the sweeter, more flavorful of the two types, while also boasting a better texture. Roll Out the Red Carpet It probably will never be that much of a challenge to get kids and adults alike to enjoy raspberries, strawberries, cherries and other popular red fruits. But with a little creativity, you not only can contemplate fresh, new ways to serve these old favorites, but also introduce other, not-so-common red and pink fruits to your menu offerings. Brainstorm ideas with your staff, and soon, your customers will be enjoying a menu that’s pretty in pink—and red! CRANBERRY SALSA CHICKEN WRAP YIELD: 1 . qts. salsa; 48 wraps PER SERVING: 321 cal., 21 g pro., 31 g carb., 4 g fiber, 12 g fat, 2 g sat. fat, 51 mg chol., 499 mg sod., 2 mg iron, 116 mg ca. CRANBERRY SALSA INGREDIENTS Vegetable oil—1 Tbsp. Pear juice, canned, reserved— Onions, sweet—15 ozs. or 3 cups 2 cups Cider vinegar—1⁄4 cup Red pepper, ground—1⁄4 tsp. Cranberries, dried, sweetened— Cilantro, fresh—1 cup 15 ozs. or 3 cups Pears, canned, diced—10 ozs. or 2 cups WRAP INGREDIENTS Wraps, whole-grain, 8-in.—48 Chicken meat, cooked—6 lbs. Mayonnaise, lowfat—3 cups Cranberry salsa—1 1⁄2 qts. Romaine lettuce—1 1⁄2 lbs. or 3 qts. DIRECTIONS 1. To prepare the salsa: Mince the onions. Drain the pears. Mince the cilantro. 2. In a sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes, making sure not to brown. Stir in the cranberries, pears, pear juice, vinegar and red pepper and bring to a boil. 3. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the ingredients are glazed. 4. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Bring to room temperature. Transfer the salsa to a bowl or other container; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 5. To prepare the wraps: Shred the lettuce as necessary. Slice/shred the chicken meat. 6. For each sandwich, lay out the wrap on a clean, flat, dry surface. Spread each wrap with 1 Tbsp. of mayonnaise. Top with 1⁄4 cup lettuce, 2 ozs. chilled chicken meat and 2 Tbsps. of the cranberry salsa. Fold up and secure. Cut in half and seal. Keep chilled until ready to serve. Critical Control Point: Cool to 70°F or lower within two hours and from 70°F to 40°F within four more hours. Photo, recipe & recipe analysis: Cranberry Marketing Committee, www.uscranberries.com *Notes: If serving as part of the reimbursable meal, adjust the serving size as necessary to meet current meal pattern requirements. According to the organization that provided this recipe, one wrap provides 1 1⁄2 ozs. grains equivalent, 2 ozs. meat equivalent, 1⁄8 cup fruit and 1⁄8 cup dark green vegetables. KITCHEN WISDOM SAYS . . . • This recipe tastes delicious. Secondary students would love this entr.e. • This wrap was a great use for our commodity cranberry jelly, which we were previously just going to use on the salad bar. We were able to serve a “Thanksgiving meal” all wrapped up and on the go. • We used Craisins. in this recipe, since we stock them regularly. • The recipe tasted great, but the cranberry mixture did not have a lot of eye appeal. Kids asked what the “brown stuff” was. CHUNKY APPLE BUTTERSCOTCH BARS YIELD: 96 servings INGREDIENTS Flour, unbleached—3 cups Pastry flour, whole-wheat— 3 cups Baking powder—4 tsps. Baking soda—1 tsp. Salt—2 tsps. Butter, unsalted, melted— 6 sticks Brown sugar, light—6 cups Eggs—8 large Vanilla—4 tsps. Apples, unpeeled—12 cups Butterscotch chips—2 cups DIRECTIONS 1. Finely chop the unpeeled apples. 2. Preheat a conventional oven to 350°F. Grease a full-sized (18x26) rectangular sheet pan (or two half-sheet pans) using a pan-release spray or additional softened butter. 3. In a large bowl, whisk together the unbleached flour, pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 4. In a separate large bowl or a stand mixer, combine the melted butter and brown sugar and stir with a heavy spoon or the batter paddle, mashing any lumps of sugar until the batter is smooth. 5. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, just until well mixed. Gradually transfer the dry ingredients mixture into the brown sugar mixture and stir together, mixing until all the flour has been incorporated. 6. Stir in the apples. Spread the batter in the baking pan. Sprinkle the butterscotch chips over the top. 7. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out with only moist crumbs attached and the top of the bars are golden brown. 8. Let the pans cool for at least 20 minutes on a rack before cutting. Chill the bars completely to get neat squares when cutting. Cut the final recipe into 16x24 bars, or larger, if desired. Each serving is a 2-in. bar. Photo & recipe: Chef Robin Asbell on behalf of U.S. Apple Association, www.usapple.org *Notes: If this recipe passes the test with a small number of students, conduct a nutrient analysis. If serving as part of the reimbursable meal, adjust the serving size as necessary to meet current meal pattern requirements. RASPBERRY GREEK YOGURT ICE CREAM SANDWICHES YIELD: 27 servings PER SERVING: 100 cal., 4 g pro., 13 g carb., 2 g fiber, 4 g fat, 3 g sat. fat, 0 mg chol., 40 mg sod. INGREDIENTS Raspberries, frozen—4 1⁄2 cups Graham crackers—27 Greek yogurt, honey-flavored—4 1⁄2 cups Whipped topping—4 1⁄2 cups DIRECTIONS 1. Thaw and warm the raspberries in a microwave oven for 2 minutes. Create a purée by pushing the fruit through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon; discard the seeds. Cool. 2. Line three 9-in. square pans with aluminum foil and let the edges hang over the sides of the pans. Cut the graham cracker squares into half for a total of 54 squares. Line nine graham cracker squares evenly on the bottom of each pan. 3. In a bowl, whisk together the raspberry purée with the yogurt and whipped topping until the mixture is well combined. 4. Divide the yogurt mixture into thirds. Pour each one-third portion over the graham crackers in each pan and spread evenly. Top each pan with nine additional graham cracker squares. 5. Cover and place in the freezer for several hours or until the sandwiches are frozen. Slice along the edges of the top layer of graham crackers, creating 27 total sandwiches. Each sandwich serving contains approximately 3 1⁄2 ozs. or 1⁄2 cup of the raspberry- based filling. Photo, recipe & recipe analysis: Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, www.dole.com *Note: If serving as part of the reimbursable meal, adjust the serving size as necessary to meet current meal pattern requirements. STRAWBERRY BLAST STACKS YIELD: 50 2-“stack” servings PER SERVING: 240 cal., 7 g pro., 42 g carb., 4 g fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g sat. fat, 5 mg chol., 250 mg sod. INGREDIENTS Mini waffles, .33-oz., prepared, frozen—100 Yogurt, vanilla, lowfat—6 lbs. Strawberries, large, fresh—50 DIRECTIONS 1. Slice the strawberries. 2. Toast the frozen, packaged waffles until crisp on both sides. 3. For each serving: Scoop ~2 ozs. of yogurt on one .33-oz. mini waffle. Add ~2 Tbsps. of the sliced strawberries on top of the yogurt. Place another .33-oz. mini waffle on top. Freeze overnight and serve cold. Photo, recipe & recipe analysis: Kellogg’s Food Away From Home, www.fafh.com *Notes: Eggo. Maple-Flavored Mini Waffles can be used to prepare this recipe. If serving as part of the reimbursable meal, adjust the serving size as necessary to meet current meal pattern requirements. According to the company that provided this recipe, one serving of this recipe is 1⁄2 oz. equivalent meat/meat alternate and 2 ozs. equivalent grain. STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD YIELD: 50 SERVINGS PER SERVING: 134 cal., 4 g pro., 9 g carb., 3 g fiber, 10 g fat, 1 g sat. fat, 0 mg chol., 59 mg sod., 2 mg iron, 52 mg ca. SALAD INGREDIENTS Sunflower or pumpkin seeds Baby spinach—2 lbs., —1 1⁄4 lbs. or 1 qt. 12 ozs. or 2 . gals. Cucumbers—3 lbs. Lettuce, romaine— Strawberries, fresh—3 lbs., 4 ozs. 2 lbs., 4 ozs. DRESSING INGREDIENTS Balsamic vinegar—1⁄2 cup Salt—1 tsp. Maple syrup—6 Tbsps. Black pepper, ground—1 tsp. Dijon mustard—1 Tbsp. Garlic powder—1 1⁄2 tsps. Vegetable or olive oil—1 cup DIRECTIONS 1. To prepare the salad: Toast the sunflower or pumpkin seeds in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until they are fragrant and begin to brown, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. 2. Peel the cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise. Slice 1⁄4-in. thick. Hull the strawberries and cut into 1⁄4-in. slices. Trim the romaine and cut into 1-in. pieces. 3. Mix the lettuce and spinach together in a large bowl. Set aside. 4. To prepare the dressing: Combine the vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until thoroughly mixed. With the motor running, add the oil in a stream and blend for 10-20 seconds. 5. Add the strawberries, cucumbers and toasted seeds to the greens. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat. Portion into 1 1⁄4 cup servings. Serve immediately. Recipe & recipe analysis: New School Cuisine: Nutritious and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks, http://tinyurl.com/newschoolcuisine *Notes: If serving as part of the reimbursable meal, adjust the serving size as necessary to meet current meal pattern requirements. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to one week. KITCHEN WISDOM SAYS . . . • Students may be hesitant at first, but once they try this salad, they will like it. • We loved the salad dressing. • This is a very pretty salad. It looked great on our salad bar. Kelsey Casselbury is School Nutrition’s associate editor. Photography by pachd.com, iStockphoto, Christian Jung, Anton Ignatenco and Valentyn Volkov/jiunlimed. Bringing You a Little “Kitchen Wisdom” Have you noticed the “Kitchen Wisdom Says…” boxes that accompany a few of the recipes in each Food Focus column? Volunteer members of the magazine’s Kitchen Wisdom Panel graciously offer their K-12 operational expertise and feedback on the practical preparation and application of selected recipes. Their participation helps School Nutrition to offer targeted, creative solutions to K-12 school chefs around the country. BONUS WEB CONTENT There are even more red/pink fruit options to consider for your menus at school or home! You’ll find fun facts and trivia about Red Grapefruit, Red Grapes and Red Pears on our Bonus Web Content page, as well as additional recipes incorporating red fruits. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/snmaga zinebonuscontent for this online-exclusive content. Recipes obtained from outside sources and published in School Nutrition have not been tested by the magazine or SNA in a school foodservice setting, except for certain “Kitchen Wisdom” selections, which are evaluated by a volunteer pool of operators. When available, nutrient analyses and meal pattern calculations are provided by the recipe source. Required ingredients, preparation steps and nutrient content make some recipes more appropriate for catering applications or adult meals. Readers are encouraged to test recipes and calculate their own nutrition analyses and meal patterns before adding a recipe to school menus. In addition, SN recognizes that individual schools use varying documentation methods and preparation steps to comply with HACCP principles; we encourage you to add your own HACCP steps to these recipes.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Seeing+Red/1643269/198767/article.html.