12 Festive Fruit Tips continued...
6. For a super-easy way to add flavor and color to any dish, be it stuffing, muffins, salads, or entrées, try dried cranberries in bags (usually near the raisins in your market). Or, choose dried cherries, which are also available at many supermarkets.
7. Although fresh cranberries are sour and hard when raw, they become wonderfully tart and chewy when simmered in juice or water with a touch of sugar or honey, says Rouslin. "Cranberries can be added to starch dishes, such as rice or couscous, for added color and flavor," Rouslin says.
8. Avocados add a splash of color and creamy texture to holiday salads, soups, appetizers, or casseroles. A decorative way of serving them is to cut avocados lengthwise into slices, then fan out the slices. Shrimp or crab salad is wonderful served in a pitted avocado half.
9. Kiwi fruit, while a bit pricey in winter months, are available in some supermarkets. They add a beautiful green color and fabulous flavor to any fruit salad or platter.
10. Thread bite-size pieces of colorful fruit onto a kabob or short bamboo skewer, and suddenly it's a party! Some fresh fruits that work well on skewers are kumquats, sliced kiwi, orange wedges, and imported grapes and strawberries. Pineapple chunks packed in juice and bottled cherries also work well.
11. Fruit with nuts is a match made in holiday heaven. Just adding a handful of nuts to fruit salads or desserts makes them more festive.
12. According to Cardoz, adding spices gives fruit complexity and complements its natural flavors. "Spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg are great warming spices that have healthful benefits in winter," he says.
Festive Fruit Recipes
Holiday Pear Pecan Salad
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 portion of fresh fruit plus 1 tablespoon nuts
This salad is crunchy thanks to the pears, apples, and celery. The dried fruit and nuts make it festive.
1/2 cup pecan pieces (or substitute walnut pieces)
3 diced pears (such as red Bartlett or Anjou), ripe but still crisp
1 large crisp apple, like Granny Smith or Fuji, diced
1 1/2 cups celery, sliced on a diagonal
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
1/3 cup Apple Cider Dressing (instructions below)