(POSTED: May 26, 2008)
Buying & Cooking Berries
In general, many fresh commodities must necessarily be shipped in firm condition, such as pears, avocados and tomatoes. Better retailers are conditioning these products to just the stage of ripeness the consumer likes - by the time they arrive at the point of sale.
In general, never cut a fruit or vegetable until it is ready to eat. Another general rule-off-thumb; never attempt to cause the ripening of a product while under refrigeration. Ripen first, then refrigerate.
Buy mature fruit. A green peach or nectarine, for example, will not ripen but merely soften some and wither. A cantaloupe picked too green will soften but will not be sweet and juicy. Some commodities do not gain sugar after harvest, because they have no reserve starch for conversion to sugar. Strawberries
On the other hand, bananas and pears gain sugar as well as tenderness after harvest.
Handle with care. Fresh fruit and vegetables, because of their perishability, require constant attention to keep their fresh appearance. The less you handle them when purchasing, or in the home, the longer their life. Don't pinch, squeeze or poke them, for bruising leads to damage and damage results in more spoilage for you or your retailer.
Whether you pick your own or buy at a local market, plump berries are a real treat. Most are available year round, fresh or frozen. Use them for jams, jellies, desserts, salads or as part of a main course.
Storage & Safety
Choose firm, ripe, dry berries. Lightly inspect berries for foreign matter or blemishes. Refrigerate immediately in shallow containers.
Strawberries: No sugar . .Rinse, hull, and drain berries. Place in a single layer on tray. Freeze until hard (about 30 min). Pack quickly into freezer bags or containers (leave 1 cm or 1/4 inch headspace). Sugar Pack--add 175ml (3/4 cup) sugar to each 1 litre (4 cups) berries.
Raspberries, saskatoon berries and chokecherries: Freeze unwashed on trays in a single layer until hard (about 30 Blueberries
min). Pack quickly into freezer bags removing as much air as possible or freezer containers leaving 1 cm (1/4 inch) headspace. Rinse and drain just before use.
What fruits are high in sugar content? Which ones should I avoid?
Sugar occurs naturally in fruit in the form of fructose, glucose (monosaccharides) and sucrose (disaccharide). In fresh fruits, the sugar content may range from about 6 to 25 percent, while bananas contain about 20 percent sugar. Cantaloupes and watermelons contain 3 to 7 percent.
The degree of ripeness influences the sugar content of fruits. The riper the fruit, the sweeter it is and the higher its sugar content. Dried fruits are much higher in sugar content, such as figs, raisins, apricots, which contain 50 to 90 percent, due to their low water content. The calories in a given fruit largely determine the sugar content, since fruits are mostly carbohydrate and water.
Fruits offer us not only an abundance of fiber, water, vitamins and minerals, but also bioflavonoids, which protect our blood vessels, and offer antioxidant benefits. Most people do not eat enough fruit -- so I am concerned that you would be trying to avoid it. Even people with diabetes eat 3 to 5 servings of fruit a day. The sugar content of plain sugar, honey, candy, sweets, sodas, etc. provide empty (poor nutritive value) calories. These items would be the
first to go, before fruit.
Sugar Content of Raw Fruit
Fruit (100gm) sugar