What is Fruits?

ILL: Plate 8, Nos. 1, 4, 5, 6

The acidity of fruit is due to various organic acids, and the sweetness to sugars, mainly fructose and glucose. (See Sugars.) Unripe fruit contains quite a lot of starch which changes to sugar as the fruit ripens. The relationship between sweetness (q.v.) and sourness (q.v.) is critical in determining a well-flavoured fruit.

Fruits of many kinds – unripe, ripe or dried – are used all over the world as both souring agents and sweetening agents in sweet and savoury dishes.

Fruits have also their own, often strongly individual, flavour. Flavour as well as acidity may differ sharply between the ripe and unripe fruit (e.g. in mangoes), or between the rind, pulp and seeds, (e.g. lemons and peaches). It may also change completely on cooking or drying (e.g. blackcurrants and figs). Fruits vary greatly in the way they change with canning, deep freezing, storage and transportation. Sometimes essential oils or synthetic flavours are added to commercial fruit products to bolster or imitate flavours lost in preparation. In the kitchen a liqueur or eau-de-vie may be used for a similar purpose, or small quantities of other fruit, such as quince or lemon, added to improve flavour.

Fruit flavours with meat and vegetables, while common in parts of the Middle and Far East, are less so in English cooking though, in a limited way, popular in America. Often the fruit is served as an accompaniment to be eaten with the meat or fish at table, but it is difficult to draw the line between garnish, sauce and flavouring. Some examples follow:

What is Fruits? Photo Gallery

Apples: with goose and pork (many European countries), but in the Middle East baked apples stuffed

With chicken; with sauerkraut or red cabbage (Germany and Poland); with fish mixed with

Horseradish or cooked in a pie with herrings (Yorkshire).

Apricots: with pork and in sauces (Europe, the East and South Africa).

Cherries: with duck; and crystallized cherries with chicken (Middle East),

Cranberries: as a sauce with turkey.

Red currant: jelly with mutton, hare, oxtail soup.

Gooseberries: for sour sauces; and with mutton (Middle East).

Grapes: with sole and partridge.

Orange: with duck.

Pears: braised with meat (South Africa).

Pineapple: with pork, ham and veal (Danish).

Plums: sour and sweet with meat (Middle East).

Pomegranate: juice with meat (Middle East).

Prunes: with pork and bacon (Europe); and in mutton stews (Arab).

Quinces: with pork and goose or with other meat (Persia).

There are also a number of wild fruits – often very astringent – such as sloes, rowan berries and crab apples, which have their uses. As the use of fruit with meat, fowl and fish can create very interesting combinations and, as this aspect of flavouring is often neglected, I commend it to your attention and creative genius.

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