Category Archives: Fruit Tips

Strawberry Planting Tips

When to Plant Strawberries:

The best time to plant strawberries depends on the climate where you live. In warm and tropical climates the best time to plant strawberry plants is in the fall. Planting in the fall in these climates allows the plant to establish itself in order to produce a good crop in the spring. If you live in a cooler climate where the ground freezes in the winter, early spring is the best time to plant strawberries.

Where to Plant Strawberries:

Strawberries require 6-10 hours of direct sunlight each day and should be planted in a well-drained area. Raised garden beds tend to be a good option for strawberries. A site that has not had tomatoes, peppers or eggplant grown in the soil for at least 3 years is important.

strawberriesPreparing the Soil for Strawberry Plants:

Strawberries like slightly acidic soil with a pH of between 5.5 and 7. If your soil is clay-like then generously add composted leaves, sawdust, or organic matter into the soil before planting strawberries. If your soil is sandy mix a 1 inch layer of rich compost into the soil before planting strawberries. If your soil is alkaline, then it will be best to plant the strawberries in containers with potting soil, rather than planting them in the ground. Prepare the soil a few months before planting the strawberries.

How to Plant Strawberries:

When planting strawberries do not bury the crown, which is the central growing bud. If you bury the crown it could cause the plant to rot. The plant should be placed in a hole so the crown is just above the level of the soil.

Strawberry plants need plenty of space to grow. Leave 4 feet between rows and at least 20 inches between plants.

Caring for Strawberry Plants:

Strawberry plants have shallow root systems so they need moisture throughout the growing season. Drip irrigation systems are recommended to keep the soil moist but not too soggy to cause rot.

Straw, mulch, black plastic or even leaves should be used for ground cover surrounding the strawberries. The covering will help prevent weeds, will help prevent the soil from drying out so quickly and will protect the berries from sitting in mud.

Strawberry Growing Tips:

The first year you plant your strawberries, remove all the flowers from the plants so they can spend their energy on establishing a good root system.

Once the growing season ends, cut down or mow the plants to 4 inches, removing all the clippings and weeds. Lightly fertilize the plants with an organic blend and then cover them with 4 inches of mulch.

To keep the berry quality high plant new strawberry plants each year.

Also read about When to Plant Fruit Trees.

Avocados as a Weight Loss Aid?

Avocados are known as a fatty food that is usually avoided by those hoping to lose weight. However, the type of fat contained in avocados has been found to be beneficial in enhancing metabolism levels.

An avocado contains about 4 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbohydrates and 31 grams of fat. The fat in avocados is primarily monounsaturated which can help to lower blood cholesterol levels according to the American Heart Association. avocadoThis type of fat is more likely to be used by your body as a slow burning energy source. The fats as well as fiber found in an avocado, has been linked with feeling fuller longer. This decrease in desire to eat might just be a key for some people to lose weight. Click here to read about a study which found that avocados can help curb hunger cravings.

So, are avocados the new magic diet drug? No, however, when used in moderation, avocados may be one part of a diet plan that will help you lose weight.

 

Thanksgiving Dinner: Easy Recipes With the Fresh Fruit Bouquet

A party platter sized fresh fruit bouquet makes a spectacular centerpiece for the Thanksgiving Day Dinner, at least until it’s time to carve the turkey. Before the big meal, allow guests to snack on the fresh fruit platter. It shouldn’t ruin anyone’s appetite.

After dinner, instead of allowing the last skewers to go to waste, consider these easy Thanksgiving Day Dinner recipes with the fresh fruit bouquet remnants:

Fruit Bouquet Parfait Recipe

The remaining pieces of the fruit are ripe for an ice cream parfait.

Ingredients:

  • Pieces of the fruit bouquet
  • Ice cream
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)
  • Whipped cream

Cut the remaining pieces of fresh fruit bouquet into smaller cubes, discarding any brown pieces. In a parfait glass, spoon in a heaping tablespoon of fruit. Next, top the fruit with a layer of ice cream, alternating layers of fruit and ice cream until the parfait glass is full. Finally add whipped cream on top.

Fresh Fruit Bouquet Smoothie Recipe

The remnants of the fruit bouquet are juicy and healthy in a smoothie.

Ingredients

  • Pieces of the fresh fruit bouquet
  • 1/4 cup of chopped ice (use 1/3 cup of chopped ice for every cup of fruit
  • ½ cup of vanilla ice cream

smoothieToss the remaining cubes of edible fruit into the blender. Add chopped ice and a spoon of vanilla ice cream. Then, press the puree button for 20 seconds. Change the blender’s setting to ‘whip’ for 30 seconds. Pour the edible fruit bouquet contents into several high ball glasses. Place a straw in the center of each glass and place in the freezer until ready to serve – 1- 2-hours. (Don’t allow the smoothie to freeze.)

Frozen Fresh Fruit Bouquet Cup

The same idea is applicable to creating frozen snacks for children. Instead of using a glass, divvy up the contents of the soon to be frozen, fresh fruit bouquet into several plastic cups. Then freeze for four hours and – ENJOY!

Fruit for Thanksgiving?

When you think of Thanksgiving dinner, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green bean casserole, corn and rolls usually come to mind, but what about fruit? We all know that fruit is an important part of any healthy diet and should be offered at every meal, but for some reason it’s frequently missing from the Thanksgiving table. What can we do about that? How can we add fruit to the Thanksgiving menu?

Turkey

Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Cranberry Relish – combine fresh cranberries, an orange, an apple and a carrot, grind them all together and mix in a little sugar or sweetner to taste.

If you offer a salad bar, be sure to include fruit such as pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries and Mandarin orange slices.

Many families enjoy a fruit salad at summer reunions, why not add one to the Thanksgiving menu? Here are a few links to recipes you might want to try:

For dessert or an appetizer offer a fruit tray with sliced pineapple, banana, apple, Clementines, kiwi, pears and something more exotic like maybe papaya or star fruit.

For dessert consider an angel food cake or cheesecake with a variety of fresh fruits to add as toppings.

When setting the table consider using fruit as the centerpiece. You can order a fresh fruit bouquet or you can simply use beautiful fresh fruits from the market. Martha Stewart recommends fruit as a Thanksgiving centerpiece here.

 

Is a Pumpkin a Vegetable or a Fruit?

With Halloween and pumpkin carving fun upon us, many kids are asking if a pumpkin is a fruit or a vegetable. This question sometimes leaves parents stumped and wondering the same thing themselves. It grows on a vine so does that make it a vegetable? It has seeds, does that make it a fruit?

Botanists, the scientists who study plants, say that pumpkins are in fact not a vegetable but a fruit, interestingly a berry. They belong to the Cucurbitaceae family along with cucumbers, melons, squash and guards. The Cucurbita genus includes gourds, winter and summer squash and all the different varieties of pumpkin.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins are native to North America and are grown commercially for food consumption as well as decoration and carving. They are a good source of nutrition. Pumpkins are low in calories, fat and sodium while being high in fiber and Vitamins A & B. Pumpkin seeds are nutritious as well being high in protein, iron and Vitamin B.