Monday, March 23, 2009

Thirteen weird fruits and veggies

If one believes that any publicity is good publicity, then being called a weird fruit or vegetable is fantastic publicity.

The following is an excerpt from an ABC news report, originally broadcasted Wednesday, March 18, 2009.

Consumers might think of these fruits and vegetables as unusual, uncommon or simply strange.

The interest in exotic fruits and vegetables has increased due to the existence of The Food Network and the fact that North Americans have traveled far and wide in the last ten years with the tropics being a popular destination.
Wanting to replicate a particular taste tried on a cruise ship or in a great restaurant in distant locale are reasons why shoppers gravitate toward less conventional forms of produce.

The next time you're in the supermarket, give these produce items a closer look.

Chayote Squash
Pronounced chi-yo-tay, this squash is also known as a vegetable pear in some parts of the world, a christophine in the Caribbean or a mirliton to Louisianians. No matter what name you call it, the chayote squash has a pear shape and smooth apple-green skin that you peel off.
When you cut open a chayote squash, there's a pit inside that is edible. The vegetable has a mild taste similar to a cross between a zucchini and a cucumber. Used raw or cooked, the gourd is available year-round and can be grated over a salad or roasted, steamed, grilled, baked or stuffed.
Chayote squash is a mainstay in Hispanic cuisines and familiar in Asian cooking.

Resembling a shrunken orange but more oval than round, kumquats came to us from China, where they were named for the Cantonese words meaning yellow-orange. These cute fruits have a bright-orange color and are the size of large grapes.
What makes the bite-sized kumquat unique among the citrus family is that you can eat the whole thing from the sweet-tasting rind to the tart pulp interior.
Consumed whole or sliced, kumquats can be added to salads, used to thicken sauces or dressings or made into a jelly or jam. You can eat or remove their tiny seeds and they're more prominent in supermarkets during the winter months. Kumquats are a delicious way to sneak in some vitamin C.

The starfruit has a waxy, yellow-green skin and lots of interesting angles -- five of them actually. Lovers of warm climates, these tropical wonders have long been cultivated throughout Southeast Asia and are now grown in south Florida and Hawaii. When you cut the fruit crosswise, the slices are shaped like stars.

Wonderfully sweet and crunchy at the same time, they even have a little tang. The vitamin-C laden starfruit is very full of water and is juicy like a watermelon with a crunchy texture similar to cucumber. You can eat the skin and the juicy flesh, just skip the seeds.

Ugli Fruit
You should not judge this fruit by its cover. Beneath its mottled greenish-yellow skin and strange shape lies a surprisingly sweet and juicy orangey flesh with few seeds. The outside skin is thick as are the membranes inside the fruit. But you can extract the fruit by cutting the sections with a knife, and then including them in a fruit salad, eating them as you would a grapefruit, or adding them to a chicken dish.

Sometimes called a Uniq fruit, ugli fruit comes from Jamaica and lacks the tartness of a grapefruit. It's very sweet like a tangerine and easy to peel. Whoever thought of the name did a really good job.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Selecting ‘superfoods’

Excerpts from an article in the Los Altos Town Crier 3/18/09 by Kim Verity, registered dietician.

The following are my “superfood” picks. These foods are packed with protective substances that guard the heart, reduce cancer risk, boost bone strength, preserve eyesight and perhaps even spur weight loss

Avocados. This fruit is loaded with a variety of antioxidants, including lutein, beta-carotene and vitamin E. The fat found in avocados may help your body better absorb antioxidant vitamins from other foods as well. So, add a slice or two on top of your salad to grab the beneficial nutrients. Ounce for ounce, avocados contain more blood-pressure-lowering potassium than bananas. They also protect your heart with a cholesterol-lowering beta-sterol. In addition, they are loaded with more heart-friendly nutrients, folate, B6 and fiber

Other picks include:

  • Berries
  • Peanut butter
  • Quinoa
  • Butternut squash
  • Yogurt

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Papaya - Avocado Salad

Recipe from EatingWell Magazine April/May 2006

From Sarah Fletcher, a great healthy salad that highlights our two specialties, papaya and avocado, in a light dressing. Looks easy to fix and good to eat.

Makes 4 servings, about 2/3 cup each

  • 1 Caribbean Red papaya, diced
  • 1 SlimCado avocado, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced jicama
  • 2 tbs chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 tbs low-fat raspberry vinaigrette

    Toss papaya, avocado, jicama, walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette in a medium bowl.

NUTRITION PROFILE:Low Calorie High Fiber Low Sodium Low Cholesterol Low Sat Fat Heart Healthy

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 116 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 5 g fiber; 23 mg sodium; 325 mg potassium.What you get: Vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium.1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Roasted Papaya with Brown Sugar

You don’t often see a recipe for baked papaya. What’s interesting about this recipe is that’s it’s touted as a good remedy for colds and flu.

The information and recipe is from posted 3/19/09.

Papaya is an excellent antioxidant along with other necessary nutrients like- folate, vitamin B, magnesium, potassium & minerals. It has potential to resist colon cancer & improve the cardiovascular system. Papaya also contains papain, a digestive enzyme. This outstanding source of vitamin A & C can promote your immune system. Papaya is also a good remedy for flu & colds. Consumption of papaya is effective for intestines & stomach.


  • 3 tbsp brown sugar (light)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Caribbean Sunrise papayas
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Combine the ginger & sugar.
  • Slice open 2 solo papayas and scoop out the seeds.
  • In a 10 by 13 inch baking dish place the papaya, chopped side up.
  • Sprinkle the ginger and sugar over the papayas.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the edges of the papaya browns. Every 10 minutes brush the now -liquid ginger and sugar mixture over the papaya meat.
  • Remove from the oven. Sprinkle pepper over the papayas and serve with lime wedges.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fruta Bomba receives not one but two awards

Not to be left out of the picture, Fruta Bomba was also given an award from the Social Security Corozal Branch for being a leading entity that excels in showing ongoing commitment, investment and work in ensuring a safe and healthy environment for workers and their community.

The award ceremony was held with the Labor Department, Social Security, Pesticides Control Board, the Department of Environment and Belize Agriculture Health Authority. The meeting also discussed all the progress the company has made over the years, as well as making some recommendations for some improvement in various aspects of the company.

A certificate of appreciation was also awarded Fruta Bomba by the Corozal Police Formation and the Belize Police Department for the company's continued support and outstanding contributions to the community. FB had donated a house valued at over $10,000.00 and in addition some money which was used to purchase auto parts for two of the police vehicles that needed urgent repairs.

Congratulations Fruta Bomba!

March is National Nutrition Month

“Eat Right,” the American Dietetic Association’s 2009 campaign theme, focuses on the importance of choosing nutrient-rich foods – those containing the most vitamins, minerals and other nutrients per calorie – over higher-calorie alternatives with little or no nutritional value.

High on the nutrient-rich list are fruit.

The association recommends 2 cups a fruit a day for all men and women 19 to 30. Women over 30 should eat 1.5 cups a day.

Facts to know about fruit

  1. Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. None have cholesterol.

  2. Fruits are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).

  3. Dietary fiber from fruits, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease.

  4. Whole or cut-up fruits are sources of dietary fiber; fruit juices contain little or no fiber.

  5. Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.

Look for upcoming emails that will highlight the powerful nutritional impact that our specialty products deliver.

Friday, March 6, 2009

PMA Fresh Summit tradeshow marketing featuring Brooks Tropicals again

The marketing material has just started coming out, and Brooks Tropicals is being featured yet again.

Last year it was Sam’s photograph that was plastered across the convention hall, this year it will be a part of our booth, with an attendee checking out our papaya display.

Belize Fruit Packers given award

On February 29, 2009 Belize Fruit Packers was given an award for being a leading entity that excels in showing ongoing commitment, investment and work in ensuring a safe and healthy environment for workers and their community.

The award was bestowed by a local task force comprised of Social Security, Belize Agricultural Health Authority(BAHA), Labour Department, Health Department and other local entities.

Accepting the award for Belize Fruit Packers was Santiago Victorin, Packing House Manager of BFP.

Congratulations BFP!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Your favorite fruit reveals your future

Fruit astrology becomes the latest buzzword.
Excerpts from an article

Whoa! Fruits are no longer limited to your palate. Fruit astrology is the latest thing in India. Answer this question and see if you can see yourself in the stars, umm I mean fruit.

What is your favorite fruit?

Mango? – you are a person with strong likes and dislikes. You enjoy getting involved in something that is mentally challenging. And forceful as you may be, you are a kitten in your sweetheart’s company.

Are oranges your favorite fruit? - you tend to be shy. You are a reliable and trustworthy friend and have a strong aesthetic sense.

If pineapple is your fruit - you are mercurial in temperament.

Apples - you’ll make a good team leader.

If papaya works for you - you have a good sense of humor.

So, the next time you pick up a papaya or a mango, remember it’ll not just satiate your craving but also speak volumes about your personality.

Ten superfoods to get into your diet

Excerpts from an article from the NY Diet Examiner 2/27/09 by Lorinda Chamberlain

Water is the greatest source of nature's bounty. You can't go wrong with it unless you turn it into a sugary drink. Nature also provides a plethora of goodies that give you everything you need to keep your body working well, your hormones in check and a smile on your face. Here is a selection of those great foods that you will want to incorporate into your daily eating:

  1. Walnuts
  2. Celery
  3. Star fruit - They are a great source of vitamin C, a vital antioxidant that supports the immune system in wound healing and the fight against infection. Anyone with gum disease, toxicity or cardiovascular disease can benefit from increasing their vitamin C intake using this tasty change of fruit in your diet. The antioxidant beta-carotene is also present in star fruit. Beta-carotene has protective effects for the skin, eyes and lungs.
  4. Pumpkin seeds
  5. Cacao beans
  6. Goji berries
  7. Kale
  8. Beets
  9. Whole-wheat pasta
  10. Quinao