Sensational Shanghai Summer Fruits

 When I go to the wet market at this time of year, I feel just like a kid in a candy shop! The bounty of China’s summer fruit harvest is overflowing in the markets right now. All of it sweet and exotic, natural and nutritious!

Last weekend I filled up the bike basket with all my favorites.  Finally found my mangosteen fruits, the dark purple ones with the green leafy hats, and they are as luscious as ever. Not only do these magical fruits taste citrus sweet but the white segments on the inside are a terrific source of vitamin C and fiber. The hard rind of the mangosteen has been in use in Ayruvedic Medicine ( India’s traditional medicine) for hundreds of years. Today the rind is ground and often sold as a powder or juice. The only proven use of the rind is as a treatment for dysentery but because of the rind’s high antioxidant content it is toted as a cure for just about all that ails us, from heart disease to cancer. I just love the thirst quenching taste!

The lychees are still out in force and will be for awhile. See the blog post of May 14 for all the nutritional details. Lychees make a lovely addition to a fruit salad and lychee sorbet is a light way to end a good meal.

If you are a fan of raspberries then you will enjoy yangmei.  The season is shorter for these deep red, sweet and tart treats so don’t delay in getting them home from the market. Yangmei , an ancient fruit that has been grown in Zhejiang Province for thousands of years, is also know as waxberry, Chinese bayberry and yumberry ( which must be referring to what was exclaimed after they were first eaten!). Yangmei are another fruit high in vitamin C and E, both powerful antioxidants and they have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat stomach distress and sweaty feet ( not sure how that works…).  Just wash and eat and be careful of the small pit inside.

Lastly on the shopping list this week are fresh apricots.  Not exotic but wonderfully  sweet this time of year. If you find the dried apricot a bit too sweet, try it fresh as I find that fresh apricots have a lovely, more subtle flavor than the dried version.  Fresh apricots , are lower in calories than the dried ones and can be easily put into a school lunch bag,  sliced on cereal and added to any pork recipe. Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is important for good vision and a strong immune system.

The fruits I have listed here are by no means the end of the summer fruits. There are at least three kinds of melons in the market now and more fruits, including blueberries from Shandong, will be popping up in the market all summer long, so check back frequently for your favorites and be sure to try something new too.

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!