Fruits can be an interesting facet of food that many of us tend to generalize the terminology but if you care to plunge into this topic, you’ll be amazed by the diversity. The book, ‘The Complete Illustrated Guide to Fruit‘ by Kate Whiteman provides a coverage of this area.
Fruits are nature’s most bountiful and versatile creation. No other foods offer such a variety of colours, textures, scents and flavours. This accessible book is a comprehensive, authoritative guide to the fruits of the world and how to use them in the kitchen.
It begins with an illuminating introduction, including an illustrated step-by-step guide to preparing, juicing, preserving and cooking with fruit, as well as a pictorial guide to equipment and useful techniques.
The full-colour reference guide and identifier then provides information about all the common, less well-known and exotic fruits. Facts are given about how and where the fruit is grown alongside essential tips on buying, storing, preparing, cooking with and preserving each one.
With over 400 glorious photographs and accessible, informative text, this is a classic reference guide – the only book on identifying, preparing, preserving and cooking with fruit that you will ever need.
It’s a wonderful reference material on fruits from the four-seasoned countries but with limited range of tropical fruits. The book also offers recommendations on methods of preparation, cooking and storing that centers around the Western preference.
The content is structured into 10 chapters – (1) introduction, (2) equipment – listing out the kitchen equipment for handling fruits involving peeling and coring, grating and zesting, juicing, stoning and preparing, preserving, (3) purchasing, preparing and cooking – is about getting the terminology right and providing tips and guides in this area; while the following chapters focus on the categories of fruits – (4) apples, pears, quinces and medlars, (5) stone fruits, (6) berries and currants, (7) citrus fruits, (8) exotic fruits, (9) melons, grapes, figs and rhubarb, and (10) index.
I enjoyed the read and appreciate the author for her easy to follow through presentation style. The book’s approach is systematic and information is arranged in a fixed format throughout – Fruit ‘A’: brief introduction, history, varieties, nutrition, buying and storing, preparing and cooking, and with plenty of pictures to guide the readers.
Just giving you a peek of the book, an example of a fruit highlighted in the book – the ‘apple’ in which there’s a tendency of the locals here to gloss over the terminology by generalizing it as only ‘red or green’ apple.
It’s said to be the most popular of all fruits due to its nature of being convenient, known as nutritious snack and ideal ingredient for hot and cold puddings and desserts. The book touches briefly on the historical aspect of apples mentioning a few key figures – the Romans, Pilgrim Fathers, Johnny Appleseed, Granny Smith, Thomas Laxton and his son who hybridized hundreds of varieties of apples in which is still exist today. There are 7,000 named varieties of apples with variation of shapes, sizes, colours, tastes and textures; naming a few are Ashmead’s Kernel, Beauty of Bath, Blenheim Orange, Gala (Royal Gala is similar, but red all over), McIntosh, and more. A check on the nutrition, it says apples “have fewer vitamins than many other fruits (although they contain some vitamins C and A), but are high in pectin, a good source of dietary fibre and provide 52 kilocalories per 100g/4oz” . The rest of the coverage is about recommendation on how to choose, store and cook apples while highlighting a few apple drinks – cider, apple brandy (Calvados and Applejack).
As shown here, just by confining on topic of ‘apple’, you’ve gained a great deal of insight; don’t you think so? Honestly I can’t find the exact book cover in the web, the closest I gathered is this one.
Kate Whiteman. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Fruit – A Comprehensive Visual Identifier to the Fruits of the World, with Advice on Selecting, Preparing and Cooking. (London: Anness Publishing Ltd, 1999, 2010), 25.