Shanghai Spring

I love fruit. I eat vegetables and I like vegetables but I love fruit. Fruit in the morning is (almost) as essential to me as my morning cuppa joe  for a good day.

As such I am fairly sensitive to the change of seasons when it comes to fruit. I enjoy oranges and strawberries but lately they have not been as sweet as a few months ago. That makes sense as here in Shanghai May is not traditionally orange and strawberry season. These days it is difficult to tell what fruit is truly in season but there are clues. Check out what piles of fruit are being sold from the hand carts and big trucks  that dot the corners of the city. those are the fruits in season.

Spring/summer is the most bountiful season for fruits in  China and although many of these fruits can be found in the market all year round for the best taste and arguably the best nutrition, eat these lovelies in season.

Lychees will start appearing at the end of this month. This sweet Asian staple is actually the fruit of an evergreen tree. The pebbly brownish-pink skin ( is that really a color??) hides a delicate white flesh that peels easily from the single  center seed.  Lychees ( aka Litchi) are a super source of Vitamin C and B vitamins, perfect to rev up that immune system  for the day. Five lychees will provide 50% of your daily Vitamin C needs at only 6 calories per lychee !

Not a lychee fan, then how about a mango? Who doesn’t like mango? I remember thinking that way and I took a delicious mango upside down cake to a party only to find out that the hostess was allergic to mangoes!

Mangoes are farmed all over SE Asia and we can debate which country has the sweetest but at this time of year Hainan produces some great fruit and being in China it has a shorter trip to your table. You can imagine that this dark yellow fruit is rich in plenty of vitamins and minerals and you would be right. Top of the list is our friend Vitamin C, one mango providing 100% of your daily needs, quickly followed by Vitamins A and E. All three are known anti-oxidants, the substances that help reduce your risk of chronic disease.

 Yangmei, aka Waxberry, aka Chinese Bayberry is a regional delicacy that is hardly found anywhere else. These cute fuzzy berries have a sweet and short shelf life so eat as many as you can when the season hits. The dark red berries contain the same healthy anti-oxidants found in red wine and provide far more fiber when you eat the whole berry. These pretty berries add a unique twist to lemonade and your favorite tropical cocktail.

As I said this time of year offers up such a variety of fruit that there is no excuse not to have at least 3 fruits a day in your diet. Besides the fruit listed here keep your eyes open for mangosteens ( my favorite) blueberries and a whole jumble of different melons.

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!