Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of our diets and dishes. They add, color flavor and lots of nutrients to everything we cook. This week we will talk about Pineapple and Citrus Fruits.
Citrus Fruits are extremely healthy and contain lots of asorbic acid (vitamin C) which helps you immune system. The juice is very acidic and can be used as an alternative to other acids such as wine and/or vinegar in dishes.
Oranges, lemons and limes all pair well seafood dishes, although lemons are most commonly associated with seafood. Limes are used commonly in Asian (especially Thai) dishes and Latin american dishes (especially Mexican and Caribbean).
For a killer “Coconut Lime” fish taco sauce:
Combine one 12oz can of “Coco Lopez” (can be found near the magarita, pina colada and bloody mary mixers in most grocery stores) with the juice from 3 medium size limes and the *zest from 1 lime.
Lemon juice is also used in traditional lemonades that actually use honey as the sweetener instead of table sugar. When I make it, I like to add sugar and honey.
Combine the juice from 5 lemons with 1 cup of honey and 2 cups of table (granulated) sugar, then a gallon of water. Mix it up real good and then drink it up out on your porch in the summer time . . . If its too sweet, add less sugar and if its too strong just add more water until its not.
Taking the skin off the oranges and slicing them up is how we used to do it at the hotels and restaurants, it makes it easier to eat and very attractive.
What is the “Zest” and how do I use it?
The zest is the outside colorful part of the citrus fruits. It is where most of the aromatic qualities are found. Since flavor is 80% of what we smell and 20% of what we taste, aromatics are a very important part of how we flavor food. You can add the zest to just about anything you would like to add citrus flavor too, but not necessarily the citrus juice. I put about a tablespoon of lime zest in with about 1/4 cup salt to make “Lime Salt” that you can sprinkle on seafood, or chips for “lime chips.”
There are many ways to get the zest off of citrus fruits. Ten years ago we used box cheese graters (that took alot of the pith off too) and little tools they called “zesters” that took the zest off in long thin peels that you had to mince up with your knife afterwards. Nowadays the most effective tool is called a microplane (pictured above) and is specially designed to take off the zest in small pieces without getting that pith too.
Pineapple is almost always the first thing gone on any fruit tray and is such a versatile and unique flavor that it can be incorporated into just about any dish, from savory to sweet.
Want to learn how to cut a pineapple? Download it now!
First Timer’s Guide to Cutting a Pineapple