IN serving fresh fruit, it should always be that which is perfectly ripe and sound, and should be thoroughly washed and wiped dry. Fruit with decayed spots upon it, is diseased, and should not be eaten. It has a circulation similar to that of the human body; and when one part becomes diseased, the germs are transmitted to all parts, and it quickly decays.
Fruit is especially desirable in the summer, as it has a cooling effect, and supplies the extra demand for water; the acids in the fruit are disinfectants, and destroy all the germs in the stomach and intestinal canal. Indeed, if fresh fruit were more generally eaten during the spring months, there would be less sickness, and a much less demand for spring medicines.
There is no food that adds more beauty to the table than a nicely arranged dish of fresh fruit. Some bright oranges heaped upon a fruit dish which has been trimmed with some well-washed orange leaves (other kinds of leaves will do), make a very pretty dish. Another very artistic, unique, and appetizing way to serve oranges is to cut them in halves, placing them on a plate with the cut side up, and decorating the plate with leaves and orange blossoms. When served in this way, they are to be eaten with a spoon, eating only the juice. The woody tissue is indigestible, and should never be eaten.
Cherries also make an inviting dish, if washed and dried well, and heaped upon a plate, with a few clean cherry leaves around the edge of the plate.
These may be served in the following manner : Select good, ripe strawberries that are a bright red color; wash well, but very carefully, so as not to mash the berries. Remove the hulls, and if the berries are the least sandy, wash again. Put into individual dishes, and pour over them a nut cream made from the cocoanut (see index for cocoanut cream), and serve without sugar, leaving each individual to sweeten to taste.
These may be served with the cocoanut cream the same as the strawberries. Any kind of nuts may be used, however, for the cream; such as the hickory-nut, peanut, or almond. They may be served, too, without any dressing.
The white currant is the sweeter, but does not make as pretty a dish as the red currant. This fruit is quite acid, and makes a more palatable sauce, if part of them are mashed and sweetened for an hour before serving. Take | of a cup of sugar to 1 quart of currants which have been picked from the stems and have been well washed. Mash with a wooden potato masher or with the bottom of a tumbler. Let the fruit stand, to allow the sugar to dissolve and permeate the fruit. Currants may also be served without mashing and without sugar.
Select good, ripe plums that are large in size and capable of being easily peeled. The peach plum, egg plum, and lum-bard are good varieties to choose. With a very sharp, thinbladed knife, remove the skin. The pit can be removed from some varieties quite easily, by cutting the plum into halves. If they can be removed, do so; if not, serve whole, sprinkling with a very little sugar.