The return of the fruit bowl

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When we arrived at our new apartment in Sweden, we were welcomed by a houseplant and a bowl of fruit – oranges, apples, bananas and a pineapple in a simple, shallow wooden bowl. I would say that, of all the ways in which our time in Sweden has influenced us, that little bowl has impacted our everyday lives the most.

We used to keep fruit in the refrigerator – in that drawer (crisper) on the bottom. It was there but it was out of sight and when you did think to take some fresh fruit, it was cold.

When you keep fruit on the counter or table in a bowl, it looks tasty and you think to snack on it instead of grabbing some more processed and less healthy option. I think it actually tastes better, too, since the fruit is at room temperature and, thus more flavorful. It is also more likely to be ripe, sweet and juicy.

We’ve definitely upped our fruit consumption as the kids know that they are welcome to help themselves to a piece of fruit when they are hungry. They usually split a piece at breakfast, chose fruit to bring to school for morning snack, eat a piece when they get home in the afternoon, and take a piece of fruit as “dessert” after dinner. In other words, I don’t worry about them having enough fresh fruit. In fact, the challenge has been teaching them that they cannot start an apple just as I am putting dinner out and they cannot just grab a piece, take a couple of bites, and then put it in the compost.

I shop for food twice a week and each time I buy more than enough fruit to fill the bowl. I keep the extra in the fridge and move it to the bowl as needed. We haven’t had any trouble with fruit spoiling on the counter.

Organic fresh fruit is more expensive than many processed snack foods and I seek to keep the expense down by primarily buying local, seasonal produce. In other words, we are just coming off a 6 month apple and pear-eating stint. Sometimes, if kiwis, oranges, mangos or bananas are on sale, I will buy some to add some variety. This week semi-local (south-eastern US) peaches and nectarines became available so the fruit bowl is looking extra delicious.

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