This Fruits Earth Recipes section
offers a rainbow of vegetables: green, red and yellow sweet peppers,
purple-skinned eggplants (aubergines), bright red tomatoes and avocados
with their pebbly, dark-green skin and tender, light-green flesh.
While all vegetable fruits combine well
with other foods and with one another, none matches the tomato for
versatility. It can be enjoyed raw or cooked, used as the main
ingredient in a recipe or as an addition that complements a recipe's
other ingredients. The tomato features in an endless number of dishes
from almost every national cuisine. The best-tasting specimens are those
allowed to ripen on the vine. Once ripe, tomatoes should be stored at
room temperature for no more than a day, then kept in the refrigerator.
Eggplants have mildly sweet, pale flesh
and skin that ranges from mauve and purple to nearly black. Some have
skins that are white or green. Asian eggplants are elongated; globe
eggplants are more rotund. Store eggplants in the vegetable crisper of
the refrigerator for up to five days.
Store sweet bell peppers in the vegetable
crisper of the refrigerator for up to five days. Chili peppers are best
wrapped in a paper towel and stored in the vegetable crisper for up to
The avocado, like the tomato, is a fruit
that for centuries has been consumed as a vegetable. For many avocado
aficionados, the classic way to eat this fruit is to pit and peel it and
brush the cut surfaces with fresh lime or lemon juice and serve it with
salad or make it into guacamole. Purchase an avocado just before it is
completely ripe, as the mature fruit has a short shelf life. Once ripe,
an avocado may be held for one or two days in the refrigerator. To ripen
a firm avocado, place in a paper bag and let stand at room temperature.
Eggplant (aubergine) comes in many shapes
and sizes and is indeed a versatile vegetable. Look for shiny,
unblemished, firm, dark purple specimens with fresh looking stalks.
Delicious marinated in antipasto, as a dip, stuffed or deep-fried.
If you need to peel soft fruits such as
peaches, nectarines, or apples, drop them in boiling water for less than a
minute. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and run under cold water. The skins
split and lift right off.