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Nutritionally Speaking

Summer Fruits Add Color, Taste and Vitamins to Variety of Recipes

July 20, 1989|TONI TIPTON

Many of the summer's most prolific fruits, typically eaten out of hand or used to flavor and color recipes, also are superb sources of vitamins. This nutritional benefit makes them a wise choice to boost vitamin and mineral intake without having to resort to commercial vitamin supplements.

Apricots, peaches, cantaloupes and nectarines are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, iron and fiber, while strawberries and oranges supply substantial amounts of Vitamin C. Honeydew and watermelon are noted primarily for their potassium content, which is modest: about 559 milligrams per 4x8-inch wedge of watermelon and 825 milligrams for a 1/10 slice of a five-pound honeydew.

On their own, cherries and plums have a marginal value too--10 cherries or one plum provides only a fraction of the RDA for any vitamin or mineral. But combine them with other summer fruits or wholesome ingredients, such as Vitamin C-rich red peppers or high-iron spinach, and they make delicious summer salads.

Here are some nutritional values from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Home and Garden Bulletin No. 72, "Nutritive Value of Foods," which may be helpful for those seeking to improve their vitamin intake without supplementation.

--One half cantaloupe provides about 1,000 international units (IU) more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin A and satisfies the RDA for ascorbic acid at the same time.

--One whole medium nectarine supplies about one-quarter of the day's requirement for Vitamin A.

--The entire day's need for Vitamin C can be met with just one cup of whole strawberries or one whole orange.

--Three raw apricots provide more than half the RDA for Vitamin A.

PLUM PASTA SALAD

8 ounces bow tie, wagon wheel or small shell pasta

Boiling water

6 medium plums, sliced

1 small red pepper, cut into slivers

1/2 cup walnut or pecan halves

1/4 cup plain yogurt

Basil Dressing

Drop pasta into large pot of water and cook over medium heat 8 minutes or until cooked as desired. Drain pasta. Cool. Combine pasta with plums, red pepper, walnuts and yogurt in large bowl. Add Basil Dressing and toss. Chill before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Basil Dressing

3/4 cup oil

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, basil and salt in jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well to combine.

CHERRY-MELON SALAD

1 cantaloupe, peeled

Lettuce

2 cups cherries, pitted

1 small honeydew melon, cut into small chunks

2 peaches, peeled and sliced

Grapes

Celery Seed Dressing

Slice cantaloupe crosswise into 6 rings. Remove seeds. Place on lettuce-lined salad plates. Arrange cherries, honeydew, peaches and grapes in cantaloupe rings. Serve with Celery Seed Dressing. Makes 6 servings.

Celery Seed Dressing

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup oil

1 tablespoon celery seeds

Combine sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar, mustard and salt in small bowl of electric mixer. Slowly beat in oil. Add remaining vinegar and continue beating until thick. Stir in celery seeds.

PLUM PASTA

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

8 ounces bow tie pasta or other small macaroni-type pasta, cooked

9 medium plums, quartered vertically

1 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

4 ounces well-chilled feta cheese, crumbled

Combine vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt and peppers. Beat in oil. Toss with hot, cooked pasta. Cool to room temperature. Slice plum quarters 1/4-inch thick and fold into mixture along with green onions, almonds and cheese. Makes 10 servings.

WARM APRICOT-PORK SALAD

3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup olive oil

3/4 pound boneless pork chops

4 cups torn assorted lettuce

3/4 pound apricots

Place walnuts on baking sheet and toast in oven at 375 degrees until golden. Set aside.

Combine vinegar, sugar, tarragon, marjoram and thyme. Gradually beat in oil to emulsify. Set aside half of mixture. Pour remaining dressing over pork chops. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour.

Broil or grill chops about 6 minutes per side, or until flesh turns white. Cut chops into 1/4-inch julienne pieces. Place lettuce in salad bowl. Cut apricots into sixths. Add to salad bowl along with walnuts and pork. Toss with dressing. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

SPINACH SALAD WITH FRUIT AND BEEF

1 pound beef top round steak

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 teaspoon sugar

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

3 tablespoons oil

1 bunch fresh spinach leaves, stems removed

2 medium oranges, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cups sliced strawberries

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