Fruits and Nuts

Apples

Before there was the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, there was the original apple: a rotund, crispy fruit, borne by the apple tree. There are over 7,500 cultivars of apples, most of which are harvested for eating while some are specifically cultivated for cooking and making into cider. (more…)

Apricots

The apricot is native to a continental climate region with cold winters, though it can grow in Mediterranean climates very well. Apricot trees are slightly more cold-hardy than peach trees, but they tend to flower very early, meaning spring frost often kills the flowers. (more…)

Apriums

The aprium is a hybrid fruit whose complex heritage is more apricot than plum. In appearance, it resembles an apricot with its orange skin and flesh and slight fuzziness. In flavor, the aprium is very sweet (due to its higher sugar content) with a hint of plum. (more…)

Asian pears

Asian pears are native to China, Japan and Korea. Expect to see bright green, pale yellow and russet brown varieties. Known for being quite juicy and crisp, Asian pears are mildly sweet and delicate in flavor. Their crispiness makes for a refreshingly simple dessert when chilled, then peeled and sliced, or add them to a salad for a sweet crunch. (more…)

Avocados

Avocados are thought to have originated in Mexico, though their exact genesis is unknown. Like corn, figs, sugar cane and other ancient crops, the avocado is a cultigen: a species domesticated so long ago (around 7,000 years in the case of avocados) that has undergone such dramatic changes that its wild ancestor cannot be determined. (more…)

Blackberries

Jam, pie, tea, and preserves: most people have noshed on some form of this summer fruit before. But did you know the blackberry, botanically speaking, is not actually a berry? It is technically an “aggregate fruit,” which means it forms from one flower, but is made up of multiple smaller fruits called drupes. (more…)

Blueberries

Blueberries are chameleons while they grow. They begin with a pale green flesh, then turn reddish-purple, and finally take on their famous purple-blue hue once they are ripe. Blueberries are equally adaptable after they are harvested and are found fresh or frozen, in whole form or as purees, jellies, and jams. (more…)

Boysenberries

Ever wonder which berry is prominently displayed on the famous Knott’s Berry Farm sign? It’s a boysenberry. This purple-red fruit is a cross between a blackberry and raspberry and was first developed by a farmer named Rudolph Boysen in 1932. (more…)

Cactus Pears

The cactus pear, also known as prickly pear (or by its Spanish name, tuna) is the fruit of the Opuntia cactus native to the southwestern US and Mexico. (The same succulent gives us cactus pads or nopales.) In the 16th century, the Opuntia cactus spread to the southern Mediterranean and Middle East, where the fruit acquired the name “Indian fig.” (more…)

Cherimoyas

Cherimoyas originated in South America; the name comes from Quechua (a native language of the Andes region). These green and yellow-green fruit have an unusual appearance, akin to dragon scales. The pale flesh inside is soft, sweet and low in acid. (more…)

Cherries

A bowl of jolly, shiny cherries is such a visual delight that they feed the spirit before they ever hit your mouth. That said, cherries don’t wait for much gazing. With their relatively brief season and short shelf-life, they demand prompt and concentrated consumption. That’s no hardship, of course, given how irresistible they are. (more…)

Chestnuts

While most people associate chestnuts with a cracking fire and the warmth of the holiday season, they are highly nutritious and versatile nuts that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes throughout the late winter and early spring. (more…)

Citron

Citron is a citrus fruit that resembles a lumpy lemon. Unlike lemons and oranges, however, citron is used primarily for its zest, since its pulp is dry and contains little juice. It is prized for the essential oils in the outer rind (flavedo), which are especially fragrant and believed to have antibiotic properties, as well as its pith (albedo), which is often candied for succade and used in baking, particularly around the winter holidays. (more…)

Dates

Of all the sweets that autumn brings, none are as sugary as the fruits of Phoenix dactylifera, the date palm. Spanish missionaries introduced dates to California in the 1700s, followed by other introductions in the 1800s. In the United States, they are cultivated in the Coachella Valley and in some parts of Arizona – the only places where climate conditions will support fruiting. (more…)

Feijoas

These small green fruits, which are native to South America, are also called pineapple guava. They have a sweet tropical flavor that is somewhere between a pineapple and a strawberry. The inside is generally scooped out and eaten with a spoon. The first of the year’s crop is generally the sweetest. (more…)

Figs

The genus Ficus encompasses over 800 plant species, the most well-known of which is Ficus carica, which creates the edible fruits found at the farmers market. While most people in this country have tried Fig Newtons, and some know figs for their place in literature and mythology, many have never bitten into a fresh, ripe fig. (more…)

Grapefruit

The grapefruit was discovered in Barbados in the late 18th century. It is a cross between the Jamaican sweet orange and the Indonesian pomelo, and up until the 19th century it was grown as decoration rather than as an edible treat. The fruit comes in a variety of colors, and flavors can range from highly acidic to bitter sweet and tart. (more…)

Grapes

Grapes may be one of the earliest cultivated fruits on Earth. The Greeks harvested the berry for wine-making and the Romans later perfected the practice, understanding the importance of pruning, climate, and proper storage. (more…)

Guavas

The meaty, gritty guava fruit is known for its aromatic, “tutti-frutti” flavor. The approximately 100 guava species, originating from the tropical Americas, are responsible for the wide variety of guava fruit available. They can be yellow, maroon or green outside and off-white or deep pink inside. (more…)