Mixed Fruits is exactly what it appears to be – a mix of assorted fruits! While a blend of sliced peaches, strawberries, pineapple, mangoes, dates, apricots and grapes is absolutely heavenly, you can opt for a different selection of fruits depending on the recipe requirement, individual taste and seasonal availability. Each fruit must be at its perfect level of ripeness. Each fruit must also be washed, peeled and cut as required. Thereafter, the fruits may be mixed together in equal or varying proportions. Mixed Fruit is also available commercially in frozen, canned and stewed forms. Mixed fruits can be used in cakes, puddings, slices, breads and pastries. It can also be enjoyed as such or used to make salads, or toppings for desserts.
Chopped mixed fruits
This refers to a finely-chopped or roughly-chopped mix of fruits. They may be chopped with or without the peels, as per recipe requirements. Another interesting way of chopping fruits would be to chop into big chunks or quarters.
Mixed fruit cubes
These are cubes of a variety of fruits mixed together as per the recipe requirement. To make cubes, combine some fruits of your choice, clean and peel, if required. Cut each fruit into half and make vertical cuts to make thick strips. Place these strips together and cut into small pieces or equal sized cubes. Use these cubes as per the recipe.
Sliced mixed fruits
Slice a selection of fruits into thick (1/2-inch) or thin slices (¼-inch), with or without the skin. The seeds are usually removed. They taste best in fruit salads.
Stewed mixed fruits
The process of stewing mixed fruits helps to lengthen their shelf life, so they can be used in various recipes at a later date. Part of the charm of stewed fruits is that they can be prepared using several different spices. This helps to accentuate the natural taste of the fruits while locking in all the nutrients that are released during the cooking process.
How to select
• To make mixed fruits, you need to select the best of each fruit. While each fruit has a different method of selection, the general suggestion is that you should look for firm fruits without dark spots or blemishes.
• While buying canned fruits, avoid picking cans that are bulged, dented, rusted or leaking. This may cause food poisoning.
• Check the expiry date, and have a good look at the ingredients to avoid brands that have artificial colours or flavours added.
• Mixed fruits make a tasty and healthy snack, which can be relished just plain.
• You can top it with yoghurt and mint to make it even tastier.
• Enjoy chopped or cubed mixed fruits in a salad, or topped with fresh cream or ice-cream.
• Mixed fruits may also be used to make other desserts like puddings and pastries.
How to store
• Fresh fruits should be refrigerated and consumed within 3-4 days.
• Canned or frozen ones can be stored for a longer duration in a deep freezer with the syrup and in an air-tight container.
• Mixed fruits are a good source of fibre, which helps to keep the digestive tract healthy and aids in weight loss, diabetes and cholesterol levels.
• A combination of fruits offers you a horde of vitamins and minerals.
• Fruits are rich in antioxidants, which keep our skin and heart healthy, by preventing the harmful damage of free radicals.