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SUN GOLD ASIAN PEARS — Sometimes called “apple pears” because of their round shape and crunchy apple-like texture, Asian pears are more closely related to pears. Asian pear tree species are native to Southeast Asia. In the United States, these pears are available from July to late October, grown in California, Washington and Oregon.

A good-quality Asian pear is selected by smell rather than variations in firmness. Unlike other pears that yield to gentle pressure when ripe, Asian pears are ripe even when they are extremely firm. Although delicious on their own, the light sweetness and crispy texture of the Asian pear makes it a unique addition to any salad or stir fry.

Ripening: Handle with care, especially when fully ripe. Ripen in a cool, dark place. Pears may be refrigerated for a few days.

Asian Pear Slaw (Makes 6 servings) –  2 Asian pears, cut into 1/4″ matchsticks, 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4″ matchsticks, 3 T. fresh lime juice, 2 T. seasoned rice vinegar, 1 t. finely grated peeled fresh ginger, 2 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally, 1/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves, 1/2 t. finely chopped fresh hot red chile, or to taste.   Remove the strings from the celery, and core the pears, before cutting into the matchsticks. Whisk together juice, vinegar and ginger, then stir in the pear and celery sticks and all remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

SEEDLESS GRAPES — Did you know grapes are considered berries? Or that there is an average of one hundred berries per bunch of seedless grapes? Another interesting fact is that there are grapes of many colors, including white, red, purple, green, yellow and black. Nearly all grapes have skin that is smooth and semi-translucent, with tender flesh. The grapes in this month’s selection from your favorite Fruit of the Month Club are sweetly tart, with the tannins leaving a slight layer of flavor on your tongue.

Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, and that includes grapes! It’s important that the majority of the carbs we ingest come from healthy sources that provide not only carbohydrates, but fiber, essential vitamins and minerals as well. Grapes fit the bill as a healthy carb. A one-cup serving contains 27 grams of healthy carbs and 1.4 grams of fiber. The flavor is off the charts!

Seedless grapes can be eaten on their own either fresh or frozen. Add to fruit salads for texture, color and for a burst of juicy flavor. They make spectacular hors d’oeurves and pair well with cheese.

Storage: Grapes are best stored in a paper bag or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator where they can last up to 2 weeks. Leave unwashed, or lightly wash before refrigerating.

Chicken Salad with Green Grapes –  2-1/2 c. diced cooked chicken, 1 c. finely chopped celery,1 c. seedless green grapes, 1 c. chopped walnuts, 1 t. minced onion, 1 t. salt,1/2 c. whipped cream, whipped,1 c. mayonnaise, Salad greens.  Garnish with:   Stuffed & ripe olives, Sweet pickles,  Parsley &  Julienne chicken strips.  Combine chicken, celery, grapes, walnuts, onion and salt in a bowl. Whip cream and mix it with the mayonnaise. Fold this dressing into the chicken salad mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for several hours. At serving time, serve the salad on a bed of salad greens, and top with any or all of the recommended garnishes.

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Tracie Burket
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