It is said that the famous Chinese pilgrim and explorer Huen Tsang, while documenting his 15 years of stay in India, observed that Indians were very intelligent, healthy and took a lot of care of their diet. He mentions that Indians are healthier and possess better intellect due to their usage of fruits in their diet which is much more in comparison to other societies. Whereas that might be contested, there is no getting away from the fact that fruits, both fresh and dried have been eaten since mankind’s earliest days and have been held in extremely high esteem. India has always prided itself as being among the few countries where there are a variety of fruits available throughout the year. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfCulinary Uses of Fruits Since time immemorial, fruits have formed an important part of the culinary development of cuisines all across the world. In India, fruits and food items containing fruits have been traditionally eaten for fasting and at festivals. Apart from that, the fact that most fruits are perishable, many of those were used at various stages of ripening such as a mango for mango pickle, jam, mango leather, mango juice etc. These days there is a trend of using fruits for many savoury dishes to primarily provide the dish with a contrasting flavour, texture, and lightness. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveWhereas it is normally perceived that consuming fresh fruit is best but the cooking of certain fruits such as oranges, apples and pineapple etc dramatically intensify the inherent flavours and create interesting textures. Different methods Although most fruits can be cooked in one way or the other, most ripe fruits should be cooked quickly and at high heat to preserve and intensify flavour while at the same time retain the texture and firmness. Apples, apricots, cherries, plums, and pears are great fruits to roast, grill or broil and serve as a part of a salad or a main course. To make jams, sauces, and compotes, the fruits have to be cooked on a lower heat for a far longer time. It is true that most fruits and vegetables lose some part of their nutritional components when cooked, but indeed cooked fruits have a charm of their own and also is a great way to increase their shelf life. Some Tips Most fruits pair really well with spices such as cinnamon, star anise, and nutmeg etc. It is a good idea to include these while cooking fruits. Try and use a minimum quantity of added sugar, most ripe fruits are sweet enough and any added sugar takes away their health benefits. Rum, wine, various fruit liquors, and brandies are also excellent flavour enhancers for fresh fruits, especially the fruits that are served in a semi-liquid form such as compotes and stewed fruits. A recipe This is the season of abundant fresh fruits in the markets and there is nothing more romantic than preparations made out of fresh juicy fruits to share with your loved one. Here’s one: Grilled Fruit Kebab with White Chocolate and Sesame Mousse Ingredients: For the mousse: Melted white chocolate: 100 gm Fresh whipped cream: 100 ml Egg yolk: 2 Castor sugar: 25 gm Roasted sesame powder: 25 gm For fruit kebab: Kiwi:1 Strawberry:1 Peach:1 Black Grapes: Few Banana: 1 Brown Sugar: 25 gm Maple syrup: 20 ml Cinnamon powder: A pinch Lime juice: 2 ml Method: For the mousse – Whip the egg yolk and the sugar till pale, add the melted white chocolate and fold in the whipped cream lightly, finally add the roasted sesame powder and fold again. Chill for at least four hours. For the kebab – Cut all fruit in equal sized chunky pieces. Make a marinade of maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and lime juice, marinate it for 2 hours. Quickly grill on a hot grill or pan with some unsalted butter. Scoop out white chocolate mousse and serve with warm kebab, sprinkled and toasted sesame seeds.