The sub-acid and sweet fruits - mulberries, huckleberries, guavas, bananas, cantaloupes, watermelons, peaches, pears, apples and grapes, should be served quite cold. The acid fruits - oranges, grape fruit, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and currants, should be only moderately chilled; overchilling makes them sour and unpalatable.
All fruits should be thoroughly washed in cold water. Grapes at serving time should be washed and served on finely chopped ice.
To wash small fruits, put them in a colander, and lift the colander down and up several times in a pan of cold water. Wash strawberries before they are hulled.
To serve fruit, use an appropriate dish, both in shape and color, and after the fruit is arranged garnish the dish with a fern or other appropriate green. A fresh rose at the side of a dish of strawberries is most attractive. A peach, apple or pear may be served on a dainty doily, on a pretty plate.
The French, those wonderful people who know just how to cook and serve, use artificial leaves where fresh leaves cannot be obtained. To me, this is not attractive, but the beautiful is always to be considered when feeding the sick.
Strawberries are dainty served with the hulls on. Arrange them around a little mound of powdered sugar, on a pretty dish.
Serve all fruits without sugar, if possible. If they are too acid to be palatable, I should say they were too acid to be served. This is Nature's way of warning us against unwholesome foods. Moreover, sugar does not correct an acid; it only disguises it so that it may pass the palate. The fruit and sugar enter the stomach in their original condition, the acid as an acid, and the sugar as sugar. A simple food has been complicated.
Canned fruits are far better than no fruits at all, but are inferior to fresh fruits, not because they are cooked, but because they frequently contain a goodly quantity of added sugar. If fruits are too sour to be stewed without sugar, combine the sweet and the sour fruits in cooking. Good combinations are cranberries and raisins, cranberries and figs, cranberries and dates, currants and raspberries. Fruits, ripe and fresh, or simply stewed, should form a part of the daily food of persons in health; in sickness they are a necessity.
Fresh fruit juices in this country take the place of the old-fashioned German fruit soups, and are certainly much more palatable. In cases of biliousness, sick headache and fevers, all acid fruit juices, carefully strained, are admissible. In pupura hemorrhagica, fresh grape juice is indispensable - not the grape juice that one buys in a bottle that has been sterilized, but fresh pressed grapes; the juice must be alive, not dead. In fevers, orange, lemon, lime, apple, currant and grape juice are to be preferred.
A scraped apple, a fig, carefully masticated, or a half dozen raisins, seeded and masticated at bed time, will frequently cure obstinate constipation.
Raw pineapple juice contains a digestive enzyme known as bromelin, which aids in the digestion of the albuminoids.
The papaya (Carica papaya) is a large tropical fruit of Central and South America. Like the pineapple, it contains an enzyme, which aids in the digestion of the albuminoids. In hot countries where meat must be eaten a few hours after it is killed, the piece to be used is wrapped in a bruised papaya leaf and put aside for two hours; it is then tender and eatable; in other words, the enzyme has partly digested the tough fiber.