Diabetes Corner: Costco Fruits Working for You! Learn How To Choose, Ripen, Store, and Use 8 Nutritious Fruits

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 at 6:12 pm.

 

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Summer and early fall are the perfect time of year to indulge in sweet, juicy fresh fruit loaded  with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Farmer’s markets are a wonderful place to buy locally grown produce, but Costco’s boxes and containers of fresh fruits are also a great option. Some folks often wonder how to keep and use that much fruit – we’ve got the answers for you!

For our Diabetes Corner this month, we thought a useful and fun post would be to highlight 8 fresh fruits available at Costco. We’ll give you tips on how to choose, clean and store the fruit to make it last as long as possible while staying as fresh as possible, PLUS we’ll give you the Glycemic Index, Carb Choice, and nutrition highlights of each fruit. Recipe links included for all of you fruit lovers and cooks out there.

Fresh fruit is ideal for people with diabetes as it has no added sugars or processed ingredients. Adjust the serving sizes to fit these 8 “super fruits” into your meal plan. CDiabetes is an excellent resource for tips for diabetes, exercise, healthy recipes, and heart health. Check out their magazine and website. More info below.

8 Costco Fruits Working for You!

 Plums

Nutrition 1 medium plum (66g) Vitamin C

  • Low GI
  • Calories 30
  • Carb Choices 1
  • Carbohydrate 8 g
  • Fiber 1 g
  • Sugar 7 g
  • Vitamin C 10%

Choosing & Ripening Look for unblemished plums that are free of soft spots. They are usually sold under-ripe and will need about 3 days to ripen at room temperature. Remove the plums from the container. Be careful not to over-ripen plums as they can turn mushy and mealy. Once ripe, if not eating promptly, store in the refrigerator. Wash the outside before slicing or eating.

Uses Eat as a snack, add to smoothies, fruit salads, salsas, and green salads. Grill to go with grilled meats such as pork or lamb chops. Bake in cobblers, crisps, and plum cake – go easy on the sugar – you can often cut what the recipe calls for by half. If the fruit is past its prime, make a compote by boiling it with a little bit of sugar (and other fruits if you wish), which helps to preserve the fruit. This compote can be used in place of maple syrup or honey. Freeze cleaned sliced plums in resealable bags.

Plums

 Nectarines

Nutrition 1 medium nectarine (118g) Vitamins C, A, and B-6

  • Low GI
  • Calories 63
  • Carb Choices 1
  • Carbohydrate 15 g
  • Fiber 3 g
  • Sugar 11 g
  • Vitamin C 37%
  • Vitamin A 9%
  • Vitamin B-6 20%

Choosing & Ripening Look for unblemished nectarines that are free of soft spots. They are usually sold under-ripe and will need about 3 to 4 days to ripen at room temperature. Be careful not to over-ripen them as they can turn mushy and mealy. Once ripe, if not eating promptly, store in the refrigerator. Wash the outside before slicing or eating.

Uses Eat as a snack, use in smoothies, fruit salads, or as a sweet boost in green salads, grilled with chicken, or as a chutney or salsa. They are lovely in crisps, cobblers or pies. If the fruit is a little past its prime make a compote by boiling it (include other fruits if you wish) with a little bit of sugar, which helps to preserve the fruit. This compote can be used in place of maple syrup or honey on pancakes or waffles. Freeze cleaned sliced nectarines in resealable bags.

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Strawberries

Nutrition 1 cup halved strawberries (152 g) Vitamin C and Folate

  • Low GI
  • Calories 49
  • Carb Choices 1
  • Carbohydrate 12 g
  • Fiber 3 g
  • Sugar 7 g
  • Vitamin C 149%
  • Folate 9%

Choosing & Ripening When choosing strawberries, examine all sides of the plastic container. Avoid any containers with mold, mushy berries, or berries that show discoloration or black spots. Store in the refrigerator. Wash well just before eating. Strawberries will get mushy if they are wet.

Uses Eat as a snack, with yogurt, dessert, or cereals. Strawberries make a wonderful addition to any fruit salad or smoothie. They can also be added to green drinks or juiced. Freeze cleaned sliced or whole fruit in resealable bags.

Featured Recipe: Strawberry Whole Wheat Shortcake 

Strawberries

Bananas

Nutrition 1 banana (7” to 7-7/8”long) (118g) Vitamins C and B-6

  • Medium GI
  • Calories 105
  • Carb Choices 2
  • Carbohydrate 27 g
  • Fiber 3  g
  • Sugar 14 g
  • Vitamin C 17%
  • Vitamin B-6 22%

Choosing & Ripening Look for bananas that are not brown or bruised. They are sold in colors ranging from yellow to green. The green ones will take a few days to ripen. Remove the bananas from any plastic wrapping and ripen at room temperature. To speed up the ripening process, place them in a brown paper bag.

Uses Eat as a snack, or place sliced bananas on top of cold or hot cereals. If bananas are past their prime, use them in baked goods, such as banana bread, muffins, or pancake and waffle batter. Bananas will add a natural sweetness, so feel free to reduce the sugar called for in baking recipes. Freeze peeled sliced bananas in resealable bags (great for smoothies).

Featured Recipe from our blog: Mango-Banana Fat Free Frozen Fruit Yumminess 

Bananas

Mangoes 

Nutrition 1 cup sliced mango (165 g) Vitamins A and C

  • Medium GI
  • Calories 107
  • Carb Choices 2
  • Carbohydrate 28 g
  • Fiber 3 g
  • Sugar 24 g
  • Vitamin A 25%
  • Vitamin C 76%

Choosing & Ripening Look for unblemished mangoes that have a fragrance. Depending on the type of mango, the skin color can range from bright yellow or orange to green or red. Color is not an indication of ripeness. They are usually sold under-ripe and will need about 3 to 5 days to ripen at room temperature. Be careful not to over-ripen as they can turn mushy. Once ripe, if not eating promptly, store in the refrigerator. Wash the outside before slicing or peeling.

Uses As a snack, in smoothies, in rice pudding, fruit salads, as a sweet boost in green salads, add to rice salads, or as part of a salsa (particularly good with salmon and/or shrimp). Freeze cleaned sliced fruit in resealable bags (great for smoothies and Nice Cream, which we have a recipe for on our blog called Mango-Banana Fat-Free Frozen Fruit Yumminess).

*Check out our blog post on Spotlight on Super Foods Mangoes for more info.

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Papaya

Nutrition 1 cup cubed papaya (140 g) Vitamins A and C

  • Medium GI
  • Calories 55
  • Carb Choices 1
  • Carbohydrate 14 g
  • Fiber 3 g
  • Sugar 8 g
  • Vitamin A 31 %
  • Vitamin C 144 %

Choosing & Ripening Papayas are usually sold mostly green and require about 4 to 5 days to fully ripen. Store cut papaya in a plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Here are some cleaning instructions from our blog post: “To prepare papaya, wash it, then cut it in half lengthwise. Using a spoon to scoop out the round, gelatinous-encased black seeds that resemble black caviar. You can cut the papaya into strips to be served like a slices of melon with the skin on. Or, you can remove the skin from the papaya with a paring knife, then cut the fruit into smaller strips, and from there into small cubes. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out the fruit of a halved papaya. If you are adding papaya to a fruit salad, you should do so just before serving as it tends to cause the other fruits to become very soft.” Do not freeze.

Uses Papaya is best eaten raw – with a drizzle of lime. It can also be used in juicing and smoothies.

* Check out our blog post Spotlight on Super Foods Papaya for more info.

Papaya

Pineapple

Nutrition 1 cup chunks pineapple (165 g) Vitamin C

  • Medium GI
  • Calories 82
  • Carb Choices 1
  • Carbohydrate 22 g
  • Fiber 2 g
  • Sugar 16 g
  • Vitamin C 131%

Choosing & Ripening Pineapple are usually sold green. Choose those with as much yellow as possible, and check for any mold at the base. The leaves at the top should be green and firm.  Color is not an indication of ripeness. Sometimes pineapples smell but often they don’t. As a rule of thumb, allow a green pineapple to ripen at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.

Uses Pineapple is wonderful eaten fresh. It can also be grilled with meats or veggies, added to salads, smoothies, and fruit salads. It is wonderful juiced.

Featured Recipe from The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook: Chicken Mushroom Red Bell Pepper and Pineapple Kebabs

Pineapple

Watermelon

Nutrition 1 cup chunks watermelon (154 g) Vitamins A and C

  • High GI
  • Calories 85
  • Carb Choices 1
  • Carbohydrate 12 g
  • Fiber 1 g
  • Sugar 10 g
  • Vitamin A 31%
  • Vitamin C 37%

Choosing & Ripening Here are some tips right from a blog post on how to choose a juicy watermelon.

Color and Surface Test The color should be on the dull side versus a shiny, bright green which can suggest a young, unripe melon. It’s ok for the melon to be a bit tiny bit bumpy on the fruit’s outer surface, but it should be absolutely firm all over. Soft spots suggest rotting. Every watermelon has a field spot, the side that was laying on the field. It should be a yellowish, creamy color, not white which suggests it was picked too early, and little bit of organic dirt is just fine, too. (Important Note: Always The darker the color of the creamy spot, the longer it was left on the vine to sweeten up.

Weight Test: Watermelons are mostly water, so they should feel heavy. The best test is to pick up a few of the same-sized melons to see which ones are the heaviest; choose those.

Sound Test: Tap or thump your melon. If it sounds hollow, it is a good indication of ripeness. It should sound like someone knocking on a real wooden door.

Uses The best way to eat watermelon is chilled and sliced! It is also delicious in salads – both savory and fruit. It’s great juiced as well. if you’ve got more ideas, please share!

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Enjoy the bounty of the summer. And, be sure to check out these fruits the next time

you’re at Costco.

Special Note About CDiabetes: CDiabetes.com is dedicated to helping people with pre-diabetes and diabetes. Their magazine offers a range of well-researched articles from diabetes experts along with information about some of their premier products in their diabetes line, including Weider Red Yeast Rice, Cosamin, NatureMade, Optifiber, Glucerna, CinSulin, Kirkland Quit, Colgate Total Toothpaste, TrueResult, Lifescan OneTouch, Bayer Contour and Roche AccuChek. For more info, please visit their website.

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