Fruit of the Week: Banana pt. 5

Preparation and Serving:
– Bananas are cooked in ways that are similar to potatoes (fried, boiled, baked, or chipped and have similar taste and texture when served)
– Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin in a split bamboo, or steamed in glutinous rice wrapped in a banana leaf
– Bananas can be made into jam
Banana pancakes are popular amongst backpackers and other travelers in South Asia and Southeast Asia
– Banana chips are a snack produced from sliced dehydrated or fried banana or plantain, which have a dark brown color and an intense banana taste
– Dried bananas are also ground to make banana flour
– Extracting juice is difficult, because when a banana is compressed, it turns to pulp
– Pisang goreng, bananas fried with batter, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia
– A similar dish is known in the United Kingdom and United States as banana fritters
– Plantains are used in various stews and curries or cooked, baked or mashed in much the same way as potatoes
– Banana hearts (flower of the banana plant) are used as a vegetable in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups, curries and fried foods
– In Indonesian cuisine, banana leaf is employed in cooking method called pepes and botok; the banana leaf packages containing food ingredients and spices are cooked on steam, in boiled water or grilled on charcoal
– The tender core of the banana plant’s trunk is also used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine

Homemade Banana Pudding Pie

Homemade Banana Pudding Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie

2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
3 bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/4 cup white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate with a layer of alternating vanilla wafer crumbs and banana slices.
3. To Make Pudding: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with flour.
4. Mix well, then stir in half the milk.
5. Beat egg yolks and whisk into sugar mixture.
6. Add remaining milk and butter or margarine.
7. Place mixture over low heat and cook until thickened, stirring frequently.
8. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
9. Pour half of pudding over vanilla wafer and banana layer while still hot.
10. Make another layer of alternating vanilla wafers and banana slices on top of pudding layer.
11. Pour remaining pudding over second wafer and banana layer.
12. To Make Meringue: In a large glass or metal bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.
13. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, continuing to beat until whites are stiff.
14. Spread meringue into pie pan, making sure to completely cover pudding layer.
15. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, just until meringue is browned.
16. Chill before serving.
17. Enjoy!

Fruit of the Week: Blackberry

– Blackberries are related to rasberries, the main difference between the two is that raspberries have a hollow centre and blackberries do not
– Despite it’s name, the blackberry is not technically a berry, it is a fruit.
– Blackberries have been eaten by humans over thousands of years
– There are over 375 species of blackberry
– Native throughout Europe, northwestern Africa, western and central Asia and North and South America
– Blackberry shrubs can grow up to nine meters tall
– The shrubs have thorns that can easily tear through denim (so be careful when picking!)
– Blackberries grow very fast in woods, scrub, hillsides, hedgerows, wasteland, ditches, and vacant lots as they can tolerate very poor soil
– Certain caterpillars, as well as deer, eat blackberry leaves
– The actual fruit is eaten and seeds dispersed by foxes, badgers, and small birds
– In the United Kingdom and Ireland, harvesting the berries is a popular pastime
– However, in Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and the Pacific Northwest of North America, some blackberry species are considered an invasive species and a serious weed
– In some parts of the United States, wild blackberries are sometimes called “Black-caps”
– Blackberry shrubs bearing flowers yield a medium to dark, fruity honey

Blackberry Pie

Blackberry Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie

4 cups blackberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and flour.
3. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell.
4. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust.
5. Seal and crimp the edges, and cut vents in the top crust for steam to escape.
6. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
8. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
9. Cool on wire rack.
10. Enjoy!

Fruit of the Week: Grapefruit pt. 4

Prep and Serving:
– Wash under cool water
– Cut the fruit horizontally into two halves and scoop out its sections using a spoon. Feel free to sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon!
– Can also be sliced into a fruit salad or used as a garnish with chicken

Grapefruit Pie

Grapefruit Pie
Makes 8 servings

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
1 (3-ounce) box strawberry gelatin (Jello)
2 large red grapefruits, sectioned
1 prebaked pie shell
Whipped cream, for serving

1. In medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch, add water and cook over medium heat until thick and clear.
2. Add strawberry gelatin and stir to dissolve.
3. Let cool, and add grapefruit sections.
4. Pour mixture into baked pie shell and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
5. Top with whipped cream and serve.
6. Enjoy alone or with your favourite ice cream!