Mangoes are the world’s most consumed fruit and were originally cultivated in India over 6,000 years ago. There are several varieties of mangoes available different times of the year. The most common is the Tommy Atkins (red) mango grown in Mexico. Mangoes can be peeled and eaten out of hand, make scintillating salsas for fish, and are great for smoothies, as they will start your morning on a high (vitamin C and A) note!
KumquatsThe name kumquat is Cantonese for "golden orange." Kumquats are "little gold gems of the citrus family" especially brightening the dreary winter months. They resemble miniature footballs in shape about 1 ½ inches long. Although the peels are golden orange like larger oranges, the entire fruit is edible. The skin tastes sweet and the pulp is tart. Kumquats make wonderful glazes for baked ham or ice cream toppings. I like to simply pop them in my mouth, enjoying the squirt of sweet-tart flavor and boost of vitamin C.
Japanese eggplant is darker, smaller, sweeter, and relatively seedless compared to the American eggplant. It is native to Southeast Asia from India through China and Japan where it still grows wild. They can be sautéed, deep-fried, grilled, and even make a great pickled item.
In Italian, it’s cardoni. Resembling a somewhat distorted stalk of celery with a soft suede feel, cardoni Italian artichoke, also known as cardoon, is silver-gray and produces long and wide stalks. When cooked, it becomes soft and meaty. The extraordinary flavor is complex, both bitter and sweet. It is commonly steamed and served with a dipping sauce made with olive oil, garlic, and anchovies. Available fall through spring, harvest peaks in December.
This football-shaped squash gets its name because after cooking, the flesh forms spaghetti-like stands when separated with a fork. It makes a perfect, low-calorie pasta substitute. There’s a convenient sticker right on it with easy preparation instructions. Top with tomato sauces, cheese, or a little butter and brown sugar. Bon appetite!