Food

Decorate with fruits

12:45 PM

The weather is playing a strange game of yo yo over here. We had some less humid days that pointed at a gentle fall into "Fall" and the promise of cooler days, then for some odd reason it started to get humid again, and a few thunderstorms and drizzles later were are back into Summer. This is draining, and everybody around here have dreams of long sleeved tops, socks, and sleeping in sweat pants (aren't we a crazy bunch over here?)
One of the joy of Winter to come, is that it means oranges season. Ishita and I can't get enough of them. The Indian one that is not yet available taste far more like the tangerines I was getting in Switzerland. Which is not to disappoint me as I have never been a super huge fan of the ones that are impossible to peel and taste bitter (the one called Navel oranges). The good new is that since last year, or local fruit vendors and the supermarket took on stocking baby mandarins to make us patient until the big ones arrive.

Baby mandarins in a bowl

We first saw them last year when we were spending our vacation in Thailand and the day after we came back they were for sale at my local supermarket, at a decent price. They usually disappear quickly in our home, Ishita will eat them between meals, and ask to have them in her tiffin daily. And I do the same ( well not the tiffin bit obviously, since I work from home).
What oranges, any type of them are also great for, is decorate your home. Forget the flowers, the expensive candles, and cute figurines. Just put a big bowl of oranges on your table or on top of a shelf, or chest of drawer and you have an instant eye catcher. One that you get to enjoy with more than just your eyes. And by the time you get bored of them, chances are they will be in your stomach already.

You can of course use any fruit you like, I did similar things with cherries, lychees and apples. But in India, be mindful of the climate, a lot of fruits that would be fruit bowl material in more temperate climate hardly survive more than a few days outside the fridge in the hot and humid climate of Mumbai. Fall and Winter are the ideal season in this city to take advantage of them as a piece of temporary home decor.

Oranges and candles for a holiday feel

Beside, what fruit spells Christmas better than oranges? In our home this is often the first piece of holiday decor we have up, or rather out. Add some candles around and you have an instant festive glow, not to mention there are ways to put these peels to good use once you ate the fruit and infuse your home with its warm smell...but I degress.

Growing up, my parents had a big fruit bowl sitting in the living room, between meals, this was the only thing my sister and I had the right to dig in freely, and placing it where the TV was meant we always ended up munching on healthy stuff while in front of the idiot box. My mom made sure to keep it loaded with seasonal stuff. I obviously repeated that pattern with Ishita, with one fruit bowl in the kitchen, the decorative fruits in the living room, and all the ones that really can't survive at room temperature in the fridge...at her eye level. Fruits are often the only snack option you will find in my home.

7 comments

  1. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Fruits are the best snacks. Ever. And I see more obese kids these days whose parents think those juice cartons pretty much provide the same nutrients as fruits. Refined flour and aerated drinks are going to do them so much harm they don't realise. Even I was not brought up with such a hard diet. I remember those jam sandwiches and sweet buns, cookies but with kids who want to just hang out with their playstations, iPads all day, I really think a restricted diet is necessary. Tuna and peanut butter sandwiches too make excellent snacks. Many kids these days indulge only in potato crisps, candy and pizzas which makes me really worried. There are more than 1 or 2 obese kids in each class and so many start wearing glasses too soon.! Why don't kids play board games, hide and seek, or ride bikes like we used to! Sigh. If it were only that easy. And we think we are saved by not buying them PlayStation or Xbox!? Nope they want to hang around at those friend's homes who have them. Parenting sure is hard.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly why I insist Ishita plays outdoor every evening and why screen time is limited. Last June when we picked up Ishita's school uniform at the shop, they had a number of t-shirts that were large enough to fit me, and we are talking uniforms that aren't worn beyond Sr Kg level, what kind of 6 years old is big enough to wear that I ask you. The guy told me that there were a few kids that were obese and these had been ordered for them. And sadly he is right, there are quite a few overweight and obese kids in her school. At every PT meeting the teachers have to urge parents to stop putting chips and chocolate in their kids tiffin, and started a 2 pieces of fruit a day thing, asking every parents to comply. I'd rather have the real fruits than the packaged juice thing, these are lacking many of the nutrients real fruits have and even in the no added sugar version, a glass has more natural sugar than a serving of the same fruit whole.

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  2. Anonymous3:20 PM

    In winters, in north india, one of the greatest joys is eating pea nuts, gur patti (slices of jaggery mixed with peanuts) and oranges in the sun. These days people hardly have time to sit in the sun unless it is a holiday.

    I noticed that fruits are plentiful in Maharashtra at cheaper rates. Nagpur is the orange capital of the country. Bananas were so good and cheap not like the big pale bananas that we have in Delhi, which are chemically treated. They were about Rs.20/-, the same thing costs anywhere between Rs.40/0- and Rs.60/- in Delhi. Oranges, pomegranates, sugarcane were plenty as they are grown locally. I drank sugarcane juice after thirty years. By the times vegetables and fruits reach Delhi, there are atleast four times more expensive.

    Over some years I have noticed something. Apples are getting bitter, bananas bitter and hard. Oranges which arecexcruciatingly sour, Peanuts which are not crisp anymore, chicken which tastes like rubber after sometime. My childhood memories are different. There used to be some taste in eatables. Is the chemicals being used. In India often chemicals are used for ripening which may be the culprit.

    Apple

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    Replies
    1. We are spoilt for choice in Maharashtra, right now the Strawberry season has started, they are grown in Mahabaleshwar and around. The best snack for small kids as it is a fruit easy to handle, and is packed with nutrient. I found out this year that Mahabaleshwar also grows raspberries and I manage to get my hands on some this week through a. Friend who knows a wholesaler, a shame they aren't more widely available. A lot of fruits have a short season, but because of the growing demand and the shortage of supply, fruits are plucked too early, or ripen artificially and this leads to far less tasty goods

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  3. I don't think Nepalis know how lucky they are.
    Because Nepal has so many different microclimates due to the various altitudes we have so many delicious seasonal local fruits.
    In the fall they bring down alpine strawberries, apples, pears, & persimmons from the cold valleys up high.
    From the lower & warmer valleys throughout the winter we also have oranges (that taste & look more like clementines), sweet little finger bananas, & avocados.
    I've noticed that a lot of the fruits & vegetables they ship to Nepal from China & India are breeds that are more suited to shipping & visual appeal than taste- i.e. the huge rock hard tasteless tomatoes, huge 'perfect' looking apples that don't have any flavor, we even get these Chinese giant (fist sized) heads of garlic & enormous knobs of fresh ginger that are bland (but they store well).

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    Replies
    1. The oranges we have in India in December January do taste like clementines a lot, but are much bigger. Just last night DH and I were talking about fruit after I came home with my Mahabaleshwar raspberries, which can only really be found in Crawford market and whole sale area in South Mumbai while all supermarkets in the suburb sell the imported from Europe type at 6 times the price! I paid 100 rupees per 100g for my local ones, the one supermarkets across town want you to buy cost 600 rupees just because they are from Portugal. I am really against that kind of practice, especially when there is a local variant, and farmers that need to be encouraged to grow a diversity of crops. Until this year I didn't even know raspberries were even cultivated in India. Shame because they are the small, packed with flavour type, nothing to compare with these big, plump visually super attractive loaded with water but tasteless imported ones. I got mine from the end of the season batch, so they are already not at their super optimum taste, but still tasting great. Next year I'll have to remember to enquire about them in October and buy in bulk, so I can freeze some for smoothies and baked goods.
      Another thing Inpointed to DH was that berries in general are super fruits that protects your arteries and heart against cardiovascular diseases, and are quite low in sugar, so that diabetics can enjoy them, the serving size is satisfying without spiking one blood sugar, with this country being the diabetes capital of the world, mulberries, strawberries, and raspberries should be popularised way more.

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  4. Anonymous3:14 PM

    Famous the world over, oranges produced in Nagpur, popularly known as Nagpuri Santra, are likely to be in short supply this year. Due to scant rainfall, the rising heat and fungal diseases, have led to the damage of 30 per cent of the fruit crop in a couple of months. If the diseases are not controlled now, it might affect 70 per cent of the crop. Experts from the State Agriculture department have pegged estimated losses at Rs 2.34 billion

    for more information contact sami@q8living.com

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