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Fresh This Week Tips – June 7, 2011

PEARS

Store: Stand pears, unwashed, on their bottoms and let them ripen at room temperature for up to 5 days. When they’re ready to eat, the flesh on the neck will give a little when pressed. Refrigerate ripe pears for up to 5 days.

Use: Pears take well to baking, roasting, sautéing, or poaching in wine; when cooking, use the pears that are still most firm.

Prep: If you’re serving uncooked pears, cut them just before using; sprinkle the flesh with lemon juice to prevent browning.

PEACHES

Store: Even firm, unripe peaches are delicate, so handle them carefully to avoid bruising. Ripen hard fruits at room temperature, stem-side down, until the flesh feels soft when pressed and they begin to emit a subtle fragrance. Refrigerate peaches only after they’ve ripened, which can prolong freshness for up to 5 days.

Use: Grilled or roasted peaches make an excellent accompaniment for pork, fish, and chicken.

Prep: If baking, look for freestone peaches, whose pits are easier to remove. To slice, cut through to the pit all the way around the seam, twisting each half to dislodge the stone. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice can prevent sliced fruit from browning. To remove the fuzzy skins before baking, submerge whole fruits in boiling water for 10 seconds, then slip off the skins.

STRAWBERRIES

Store: Pick through the berries and discard damaged or moldy ones. Wrap the container of remaining unwashed berries loosely in a plastic bag or paper towel and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Use: Strawberries are perfect in pies, just right in jams, and a sweet-tart touch in salads. But they’re at their best raw, served at room temperature, topped with freshly whipped cream.

Prep: Wash the berries and trim the caps just before using.

STRAWBERRY PEACH SMOOTHIE Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened sliced peaches
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (For a healthier approach we recommend substituting 1-2 tablespoons of raw honey.)
  • Dash ground cinnamon

Directions

  • If desired, set aside a few strawberry slices for garnish. Place the remaining berries in a blender; add peaches, yogurt and sugar or honey. Cover and process until smooth.
  • Pour into chilled glasses; sprinkle with cinnamon. Garnish with the reserved berries. Serves: 2.

*Recipe taken from Taste of Home