I've got much better at eating fruit recently. I barely used to eat any, not because I didn't like it, but just because I could never really see where it fitted in the schedule of food in the day.
Let me explain. If a person wasn't eating enough vegetables, it would be quite easy to think of ways to include it in their diet. Add some cabbage to your dinner, put carrot in your sandwich for lunch, that kind of thing. But fruit has always confused me a bit, because it's like it's halfway between being savoury and being a dessert. Because it's (almost always) sweet and juicy, meaning it doesn't have a huge amount of substance, and isn't that filling. At the same time, though, it's not quite sweet enough to be a pudding all on it's own, because it doesn't feel like enough of a treat. I always find it gets squeezed out between the main course and dessert, and ends up nowhere at all.
Maybe I'm the only person with this problem. I guess that's quite likely, it's a bit of a strange problem to have when I think about it. Anyway, recently I've been dealing with it a bit better. I've started adding in fruit to my lunch, in between whatever savoury and sweet things make up my lunch that day. Some people are so healthy that their lunches can't even be described in that format, but I suppose it would be a bit rude to say you're not welcome here.
But I'm still very conscious of the fact that really, that's one piece of fruit a day. Give or take. If I make an effort, I might get two in somehow, but the average is definitely closer to 1.
So I started thinking about ways I could get myself to eat more fruit. And I realised that, to do so, I needed to find a niche in my diet, that I could fill with fruit instead of whatever else had been there before. And to do that, I needed to turn fruit into something else first.
I decided to turn my fruit into a snack. I know some people eat fruit as a snack all the time, but I have difficulty understanding these people. To me, fruit alone is too sweet and not substantial enough to constitute a true Snack. For it to be a real snack, it needs something else, some added element to give it a more filling appeal.
So I made my fruit into a muffin.
I'm nervous now about this turning into a recipe. Because that is something I don't want to happen. It's based entirely on the plain muffin ratio/method, with just a few simple tweaks. So I'll list those tweaks here, and if you want more info on the basic method, look at the original Essence of Muffins post. Otherwise, let's get started:
- To give you an idea of quantities, I made a batch with 200g of flour, and it made twelve medium-sized muffins. If you want massive, overflowing-the-case style muffins, you could squeeze the same amount of mixture into about nine. The only thing I altered from the ratio was that I reduced the sugar to half the original amount (so only 50g in my batch). You could probably remove the sugar altogether if you wanted to, the fruit adds plenty of sweetness.
- I also used brown (muscovado) sugar instead of white caster. This is purely optional, it just seemed like brown sugar made more sense to go with fruit. You don't have to switch the sugar, and like I said you could leave it out completely.
- Then the additions I made. I used one small apple, and one pear, grated. This was actually quite a lot, and I think if I did it again I might reduce the amount slightly, but it's up to you. Also, having them grated meant that all of the juice that ran out, also went into the mixture, and the muffins were extremely wet. They took longer to cook, and even after they had been cooking for ages, they still seemed very soft and moist. So next time, I think I'd probably separate out a third or maybe half of the fruit, and chop it into small cubes rather than grating it, which would also give a bit more variation in texture.
- I also added a teaspoon of cinnamon, because it goes perfectly with apple too. It gave it a really nice extra edge to the flavour. You could experiment with adding other spices if you wanted, or leave it out.
- To see if they're cooked, you can try the toothpick trick, but it might not be as effective because the wet fruit will probably leave it with crumbs even when the muffin-y part is cooked. Try pressing down on top of the muffin and see if the sides squidge outwards a lot. It's probably going to be trial and error the first time (like it was for me), but don't overly stress yourself about it. They're probably fine.
- It's quite important that you leave them to cool completely before you try to eat them. I think it's because of the fruit, but they stayed really soft and wet for a long time after I took them out of the oven, and they were only properly solid and muffin-y in texture when they were definitely at room temperature.
And that's it! Tell me about your alterations and how they went, if you like - I'm interested to know.