Those fabulous fruits of summer — part 2

Last week, I let the Golden Girls of summer shine (peaches, nectarines, apricots and mangoes) while this week’s picks are the hardy fruits that REAL men like to eat.

A plum job

Plums are actually first cousins to peaches and cherries, coming in designer shades ranging from sapphire blue and purple to amber and red.

Loaded with dietary fiber, vitamins A, B, C and E (along with a host of minerals from calcium to selenium), plums are a powerhouse of anti-

oxidants that cleanse the blood and have been linked to such marvels as preventing macular degeneration, cancerous growths, and improving blood circulation.

Whip up a plum compote with tart apples and ginger, a chilled plum soup, lamb roast in a plum and herb sauce, almond chicken with a plum and orange drizzle, plum dumplings, rum-poached plums with a dollop of crème fresh — or eat them straight-up, crunchy, cold out of the fridge.

Asian ambrosia

The lychee named “King of the Fruits” in its native China is a subtropical beauty with a short growing season from May to mid-July. Better grab ‘em when you see them.

When its reddish, thorny skin is peeled away, the lychee’s sweet, opalescent flesh exudes a heady perfume. High in antioxidant vitamin C and potassium, lychees are as healthful as they are delicious and versatile.

For starters munch on veggie spring rolls with tangy lychee ginger sauce; whet your whistle with a cinnamon lychee martini or a lychee margarita; impress your dinner guests with baked chicken smothered in lychee chili sauce or a lychee tea smoked lobster tail.

For sweet endings, try lychee cheesecake or coconut lychee rice pudding. Or simply pop these little gems into your mouth for an energy-boosting snack.

Melon madness

Nothing says summer more than juicy, thirst-quenching watermelons. A cousin to the cucumber, Hubbard squash and pumpkin, the watermelon is now considered both a fruit and a veggie.

Its sweet flesh makes it more adaptable to fruity dishes, although in China the whole melon including the rind is stir-fried, stewed and pickled for savory appetizers and main course dishes.

There are more than 1,200 varieties of watermelons grown globally — all fat and cholesterol free, packed with fiber and vitamins A, C and B for energy production. Ninety-two percent water, these melons are naturally high in potassium and electrolytes, a great hydrating and balancing food.

The watermelon’s beautiful pink hue endows it with the highest concentration of lycopene of all fresh fruits or veggies, helping ward off the risks of prostate cancer. Recent studies have also shown watermelons to be nature’s Viagra — it contains a phytonutrient citrulline that relaxes blood vessels, much like the little blue pill. The benefits needless-to-say are lengthy.

Knock-your-socks-off Watermelon Salsa

  • 2 cups watermelon, diced, seeded
  • 1 cup honeydew or cantaloupe melon, diced
  • 1 roasted Anaheim chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
  • Sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste
In a large glass bowl, mix all the ingredients, cover and chill for one hour. Serve with dad’s favorite chips and a remote control.

Share your favorite fruity recipe with me at kitchenshrink@san.rr.com or our healthy food blog,

www.FreeRangeClub.com

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