Mini fruit fit for bento boxes
I am not sure if it's because I'm always on the lookout for things to go into bento boxes, or just a coincidence, but I have been seing more mini-fruits that are just right to tuck into the corner of a bento box lately. The photo above shows a couple of these: small yet still sweet figs, about 1 inch / 2 cm in diameter at their fattest point, and something that was being sold as mini kiwis (Debra of hapa bento saw them being sold as kiwi berries). They look like tiny kiwis when cut open, and taste like kiwis, but lack the hairy skins; they have smooth, totally edible skins. I've seen two kinds - ones that are a reddish-green on the outside and about the shape of an American football or rugby ball, and ones that are elongated, about the length of my thumb. They are very cute, though a bit expensive - but then you only need a few for a bento box.
Another fruit, not exactly mini, that I like to put into the fruit section of a bento is pomegranate seeds (you see a couple in the photo). They are sweet-sour and make great little nibbles. They are so pretty too. You can shake some out of a cut open pomegranate by turning it cut side down over a bowl or plate, and whacking it hard with a wooden spoon, handy open beer bottle, your fist, etc.
Tips for fruit in bento boxes
- Soft fruit in particular should be kept cool, so be sure that any warm/cooked items sharing space in the same bento box are cooled down completely. Otherwise, pack your fruit in a separate container and consider packing an ice pack with it.
- Cut fruit should be dunked into salted water or acidulated water (water with some lemon juice squeezed in) to prevent browning.
- Go for fruit in season!
- This is a bit of a prejudice of mine perhaps, but an all-fruit bento is not too balanced nutritionally. While fruit is healthy for you, remember that it's mostly sugar and water with some vitamins. Depending on the type of fruit, they can be rather high in calories (dried fruit especially). Try to keep the amount of fruit to a half or less of your total bento lunch. If you have a very fruity bento, consider cutting down a bit on other carbs and adding more vegetables and protein.
What are your favorite fruits for bentos or lunchboxes?
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