Fruit: before a meal, after, or during?

When I was growing up, fruit was always something my family ate after dinner: apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, asian pears.  My dad is partial to bananas, my mom to grapefruit, and I can’t recall my brother taking the initiative to eat a piece of fruit.  But I never really thought of eating fruit before a main course, or incorporating it into a tapas-like dish or appetizer.  It is a sensible idea, though– varied, nutritious, delicious, fruit doesn’t fill you up but abates the appetite.  This salad, or a salad of mixed greens dressed with strawberries and feta, or pear and goat cheese, or maybe a chilled cantaloupe soup, or for a main course, pairing fruit with your meat dishes to lighten and liven them up (chicken and mango, pork chops and citrus)– can boost and add some spark to your daily fruit consumption.  A ripened fruit in its raw, natural state can be a sublime culinary experience, and what I will always come back to at the end of the day.  But with the dawn of spring, I’m starting to think how to take better advantage of the season’s bounty, and novelty is key.  Plus, finding other ways of eating fruit gives you a chance to more fully appreciate it in its raw form — how texture changes as it’s cooked, how its flavor enhances other ingredients.  I also spotted this simple strawberry fro yo recipe that I’m itching to try, especially now that the weather is warming up. Happy Easter weekend!

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