Adding fresh fruit to your plate — with a little spice from around the world — is a great way to celebrate spring’s warmer weather and boost your health.
Intermountain Healthcare dietitians and chefs in March are “Celebrating a World of Flavors” for National Nutrition Month, supporting Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics goals to help people informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.
“This month, we urge people to enjoy fruit sprinkled with exotic spices – or even easy-to-find grocery store substitutes – to celebrate a world of flavors,” said Intermountain Healthcare Chef Alex Govern. “It takes 60 seconds to give your fruit a makeover for home meals, barbeques, or entertaining. It’s a delicious and attractive addition to your plate, and a great way to boost your intake of fresh, vitamin-packed plant-based foods and overall health.”
Here are a four, easy fruit makeovers using spices from around the world:
Sliced oranges with saffron. Found in the spice aisle of many grocery stores, saffron looks like small, deep red threads. Slice an orange and save its juice in a bowl. Break up a few threads of saffron with your fingers and sprinkle into the juice. Wait a few minutes for the juice to brighten in color, then add the sliced oranges to the juice and toss. Let the oranges sit a few minutes before serving.
Hint: The orange-saffron juice is a delicious addition to chicken, duck, or pork, or tossed with parsnips or carrots. Simply mix honey into the juice to create a glaze consistency, then pour over the desired dish.
Pineapple or cantaloupe with Turkish Aleppo pepper: Aleppo is similar to crushed red pepper, but with a softer texture and earthier, more complex flavor. Turkish Aleppo is found in the spice aisle of many grocery stores. Sprinkle on pineapple or cantaloupe for a colorful, flavorful bite. Or, use cayenne pepper or paprika as an Aleppo substitute
Fresh berries with Thai galangal: Somewhat like ginger, Thai galangal can be found fresh in the produce section, most often in an Asian market. Grate or mince the galangal, or substitute fresh ginger root (or ground ginger found on the spice aisle). Add to a bowl of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or a berry mix, toss and enjoy.
Honeydew with vanilla-infused oil: The oil takes a couple days to marinate, but is well worth the wait! Use a neutral oil like grapeseed oil, found at grocery stores. Purchase a vanilla pod, and slice it lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds. Place seeds and the sliced pod in a small bowl containing about 1/4 cup oil. Cover and let sit for 2 days. Drizzle the vanilla oil on honeydew, or use it as a rub on the fruit until shiny and the vanilla specs are evenly distributed. Serve alone or as a side with crab or lobster, or any other dish.
“Spiced-up fruits and be served for a holiday meal, to spice up a weekday dinner, or even to entice reluctant family members to add more fruits to their diets,” Govern said. “These spices can be used to make the old new, and to inspire us to eat more fruit without added sugar or salt.”
More recipes and information: Intermountainhealthcare.org