Posted by: A Part of the Solution | November 11, 2010

Vegan Pantry, Part Nine: Fruit

This is the last segment in the vegan pantry series. Why is fruit last?  And despite the insinuations of commercials on the TV this is where even the semi-conscientious can make their minimum allotted values without undue stress or effort. Because fruit is easy to eat and naturally tasty.

In modern times, we’ve gotten over the wonder of citrus. Bananas, mangoes, pineapples and other tropicals are commonplace. Seasonality no longer applies to most of these formerly super-perishable, briefly available foodstuffs.

But if you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint as you eat ethically, you may wish to source those fruits which are from your region and focus on them during their ‘season’. They have more vitamins when they travel less far and are picked closer to full ripeness. They also have more flavor and better texture.


Bananas and Plantains: These relatives of the orchid are high in B1, potassium and fiber. Plus they come in their own carrying case.

Bramble fruits: Raspberries, Blackberries, Wineberries, Marionberries are all in this group. They are all high in fiber and vitamin C, without having a lot of calories. They are all high in manganese, and vitamin K and/or E. These are also easy to grow and love partial shade. If you have a little space in your yard, you might want to put some of these in. They freeze beautifully–just spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. When they’re frozen, empty them into a zipper-locking bag and you’ll have them anytime you like without worrying about losing them to mold.

Citrus: Oranges, Grapefruits, Tangerines, Lemons and Limes, Kumquats–even Buddha hands, Pomegranates and Ugli fruit are all citrus. They’re all spiked full of vitamin C. They all provide fiber. They all have folate. And the pomegranates and blood oranges are collaterally blessed with proanthocyanides to boot.

Dates and Figs: These two aren’t closely related botanically, but they’re both widely available dried and they’re both so full of fiber they ought to come with a warning.

Grapes: The black and red grapes contain all the fancy cancer fighting phytonutrients you could wish. And the taste of table grapes is not just appealing, but suitable to both savory and sweet preparations. Get these organic, since they’re very heavily sprayed otherwise.

Melons: These members of the Curcurbitaceae family (squash, cucumbers, pumpkins &tc) are high in vitamins C and A. They contain significant quantities of folate, B6, potassium and fiber. When they’re vine ripened, their complex, refreshing flavors are some of the most persuasive ambassadors for the seasonal eating movement.

Pomes: Apples, Pears, Quince, Asian Pears, and Japonica Quince are all in the same fruiting family. These fruits have moderate quantities of vitamin C and fiber, but their hardiness in a variety of climates has embedded their consumption in nearly every human culture across the planet.

Shrub fruits: Blueberries, Cranberries, and Currants all grow on low to medium height bushes. All three of these fruits are high in anthocyanides. This is due to their deep pigmentation. Anthocyanides are the most powerful class of phyto-antioxidants; the more of them we include in our diets, the healthier we will be. They’re also high in vitamins C and A as well as containing significant volumes of fiber.

Stone fruits: Cherries, Apricots, Peaches, Plums, and Nectarines are all included here. They are all vitamin C carriers. They all contain useful quantities of fiber, and they are all delicious–whether eaten out of hand, cooked, baked or preserved.

Strawberries: The most popular berry in the world, these New World superstars are delicious and nutritious in equal parts. They’re full of cancer-fighting agents, vitamin C, fiber, iodine and manganese. These taste best when they haven’t been shipped half way round the world, so they’re definitely worth a trip to a U-Pick field.

Tropicals: Papayas, Mangoes, Pineapples, Rambutans, Dragonfruits, Kiwis, Litchis and Mangosteens (to name only the obvious) all grow best in tropical climates. They aren’t closely related to one another, but they’re all high in fiber and vitamin C as well as diverse health supporting phytonutrients. Enjoy them when you’re travelling, or when your carbon footprint is small enough to afford yourself a treat.


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