Fruit Composition Of Fruits
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
EXPERIMENT I. Hold a thin slice of apple in the light and examine.. its structure carefully. Compare with structure of vegetables.
EXPERIMENT II. Pare and weigh an apple. Cut in thin slices, and dry well in the sun or on back of range. Weigh again and note the loss of weight; of what did the lost weight consist? Note amount of water absorbed when cooking dried fruit.
Fresh fruits are among the most valuable articles in the diet. Except in the case of the banana and some of the very sweet fruits they are not rich in any of the three main food elements but are valuable for the acids and salts they supply. These elements keep the blood in a good condition. Fruits also stimulate the activity of the bowels because of the presence of cellulose. In green fruit, the carbohydrate is in an indigestible form and the cellulose is very hard. When the fruit ripens, the cellulose is softened and the carbohydrate is largely changed to sugar. Cooking fruit brings about the same changes.
No menu is well planned that does not contain fruit. The selection will depend upon the season, location, and price of fruit.
Selecting Fresh Fruit. Buy smooth, clean, well-ripened fruit that is not molded, bruised, or wilted.
Do not buy fruit that has been exposed to flies or dust. If there is a place for storage and a quantity can be used, it is much cheaper to buy such fruits as oranges and apples by the box. Keep in a cool place.
Serving Fresh Fruit. Use a fruit plate and silver knives when serving such fruit as peaches, bananas, pears, and apples. Finger bowls are often used after the fruit course, and paper napkins may be provided in order that the linen may not be stained. Be sure the fruit has been carefully inspected and that all decayed portions have been removed. Always wash fruit before serving. Serve it well cooled unless fresh from the orchard. Garnish with peach or grape leaves.
Apples. Serve only mellow apples raw. Wipe fresh apples with a damp cloth and polish them with a soft, dry one. If apples are hard, they should be baked, steamed, or stewed.
Berries. Discard all imperfect berries. Place those to be served in a sieve and immerse for a moment in a bowl of cold water. If washed before the hulls are removed less juice will be lost. Strawberries may require several waters.
Grapes. If, after washing, they still seem dusty, or if they have been exposed to flies, plunge for a moment into boiling water, then into very cold water. Separate the bunches with scissors.
Peaches. Rub off the down. If they are to be sliced, remove skin and cut just before serving and sprinkle at once with sugar.
Oranges. Cut in half at right angles to the stem end and place a half on each plate. Lay an orange spoon on the plate at the side of the half orange. If served in sections oranges should be peeled. All the tough white fiber should then be removed. With a sharp knife remove each section, discarding the skin between the sections. (Never slice oranges horizontally as the inner skin is not digestible.) . Sprinkle with sugar, cool for one hour, then serve.
Grape Fruit. Cut the fruit in half with a pointed knife, separate the pulp from the tough skin around the side; then loosen the tough skin in the center and with very pointed scissors cut it loose at the bottom and lift it out. Place the grape fruit in a large cocktail glass or on a fruit plate. Sprinkle with sugar, and put in a cool place for at least ten minutes before serving.
Bananas. Select soft, ripe bananas with unbroken skins and cut them from the stem. It is well to scrape the banana after peeling it to remove the white fiber of which there is very little in well ripened fruit. Bananas are not easy to digest, and so should be well chewed.
Lemons. Scrub lemons well with a brush and dry carefully. Never put the skin into the mouth as lemons and oranges carry many bacteria in the pores of their skins. Slice or cut into sections.
Pineapple. Pare the fruit and take out the eyes with a pointed knife. Pull from the core with a silver fork, then arrange in a glass dish and sprinkle with sugar. Set in a cold place for an hour.
Cantaloupes. Cantaloupes should be thoroughly cooled, washed, and dried; then cut and the seeds carefully removed just before serving. Serve small ones in halves; large ones in pieces of suitable size. Use a plate larger than a fruit plate. Never put ice in the cantaloupe as it spoils the flavor. Serve with a silver spoon and pass salt with it.
A Fruit Cocktail. A mixture of fruits that blend well together is often used for a first course at luncheons.
Combine equal parts of sliced peaches, strawberries cut in half, and pineapple; or banana, orange pulp, and grapes, with the seeds removed, cut in half (orange juice may be added if desired) ; or fresh cherries (stoned), grape fruit, orange pulp, and pineapple. Sweeten to taste, but do not make too sweet, for a first course .should stimulate the appetite and therefore should be tart rather than sweet. Serve in small glasses placed in larger ones containing ice, or in sherbet cups set on a doily on a fruit plate.