Fruity Goodness…

While perusing the exotic fruit and vegetable section of the grocery one day, I came across this tiny, fragrant green article of what I assumed was a fruit.  My gosh, it smelled so good.  The tag said feijoa.  I’d never heard of it, but of course, being feijoaadventurous, I popped it into the cart and went on my way.

They aren’t necessarily cheap, but when I can find them at our local market, I buy them.  They are loved here by every single glider, and frankly, I love cutting them up because they just smell so darned good!

Similar to so many others, the prep work is simple.  Cut and feed.  No need to peel, no need to scoop (though you can if you’d like), just pop a few pieces in each of their feeding dishes, along with the rest of their fruits and veggies for the evening.

TIP:  Don’t forget to keep a few bites for yourself.  You’ll thank me, and you’re welcome.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Watermelons!

These beautiful, sweet, watery melons of goodness are a huge favorite in our home and are fed as often as we are able to find them.  Of course, you’ll find them already chopped in your produce section, year-round.  But, beginning in the Spring, you’ll be able to find whole watermelons.  This is where the fun begins.

Let’s talk about choosing the right watermelon:

Field Spot.  Have you noticed that every watermelon has a spot on it watermelon field spot 2that doesn’t quite look like the rest?  This is the field spot, the side of the watermelon that sat on the ground before it was picked.  You want to look for a creamy yellow colored field spot.  This is key to the best watermelon!

 

You’ll also see some watermelons that are Watermelonoblong, others that are round.  Are you aware that watermelons have genders?  For real!  The oblong melons are males, the round ones are females.  I know this will be a huge surprise, but the male melons will be more watery, but the round ones…the females…are sweeter!

watermelon webbignHow many times have you picked over a watermelon with scars on it?  You know the ones I’m talking about…see that picture?  That scar is a good thing and something you want to see!  The scarring on a watermelon indicates the number of times the bees touched the flower!  The more times touched, the sweeter the watermelon.

 

The stem – though you don’t often see them at the stores, if you do, look for the dwatermelon stemried and curly stems.  This means that the watermelon was picked when it was ready.  Melons with green and still pliable stems, mean that the fruit was picked too early and will likely not be as sweet.

By the way…size matters.  Don’t assume that the biggest fruit is the best fruit.  Look for an average-sized melon when choosing.

Prepping is simple – chop & feed.  Though your gliders will toss the seeds aside, you needn’t remove them before feeding.  You also do not need to remove the rind.  In fact, your gliders will enjoy large chunks of melon, placed on a plate, so they can gather ’round!  Feeling more creative?  Hang a slice from the top of the cage, cutting out a bit of the middle so your gliders can climb on, hang and eat!  Oh, the fun!

Going Bananas!

Often called “one of the world’s healthiest foods”, the banana should be a staple in your home if you have sugar gliders.  Bananas are rich with potassium, which leads to healthy kidney function in humans.  Certainly can’t hurt for our gliders, right?

When looking for bananas to feed, I have found that our gliders like them just a little less ripe.  Not necessarily green, but just a light to moderate yellow, still firm but with a little give.  When they get too mushy inside, I find that our gliders will turn up their noses and go for the other goods.  It can also help to chop and then place them in the refrigerator or even freezer, prior to serving.  Bananas

Whether you’re feeding yourself or your gliders, always look for fruit with few blemishes and bruising.  Bananas will ripen quickly on the counter so I generally purchase green and let them ripen so I can have them on hand for a number of days.  If you wish to ripen them faster, simply toss them in a brown bag and they’ll actually ripen overnight!

It’s The Star!

Star Fruit, otherwise known as Carambola, is indigenous to Southeast Asia, but is imported and can be found in US groceries across the country.  You’ll likely find them from December to March in the US, though some markets will carry them year round.Star Fruit

High in antioxidants and low in calories, these fruits are known for their dietary fiber.  You’ll notice that the outside of the fruit looks waxy, while the inside is soft and juicy. When shopping for Star Fruit, be sure to look for those that are yellow-orange, have little to no dark spots or bruises, and are uniform in size.  If you wish to feed right away, avoid the green fruits.  However, if you are willing to wait a few days, purchase the green ones and simply keep them on the counter or in a fruit basket for a few days, while they ripen. Once ripe, use immediately, as they over-ripen quickly.

Inside, you will notice small seeds.  These seeds are edible and do not need to be removed, though your gliders will likely not eat them.  The skin and flesh are both fine to feed, as well, so simply chop and feed and let your littles enjoy!

Plum Crazy…For Plums!

Though an ordinary fruit, it’s important to know that plums are good and healthy for your gliders.  Plums come in several different variations and colors, and are related to peaches, nectarines and almonds.  Why?  Well, because all of them have hard pits that surround their seeds.Plums

Plums are best from May through September, but you can definitely find them year round in most grocery stores.

Good, ripe fruits should be dark in color and some will even have a small whitish “bloom”, which signifies that it was recently picked.  Avoid plums that are overly soft of even squishy, as these have over-ripened.  Try to find those with good, dark color and have just slight give when squeezed.  Purchasing a plum that is hard is just fine, too.  Simply place on the counter for a day or two, to allow the plum to ripen, then place in the refrigerator.  Plum pits and seeds are inedible and should not be fed.

Cheers For Cherimoya!

Produce sections never cease to amaze me.  We are fortunate in our area to have wide varieties and selections at our groceries and specialty markets.  One of the yummiest but hard to find items is Cherimoya.  It’s a sweet and delicate fruit, sometimes known as a “custard apple” or “Ice Cream Fruit” because of its creamy texture.

Look for fruit that is green, some brown spots are okay, which means that the fruit is ripening.  It should give just slightly when squeezed.  I generally recommend staying away from an entirely brown fruit because it has likely over-ripened and will be messy and just plain mushy.  Fair warning – cherimoya fruits are not cheap, so only purchase what you will use in a couple of days (they ripen quickly).

cherimoyaThere are medium-sized, black seeds inside.  Discard these seeds as they are inedible and can be toxic if broken or crushed.  

Once the seeds are removed, simply scoop out the flesh in dollops or just cut the fruit into chunks and let your gliders do the rest.

These are GRAPE!

Grapes, grapes….the controversial fruit.

You’ll hear people in the glider community say that you should never, ever feed grapes!  You’ll get varying degrees of “why”, but there’s really no clear and definitive reason why they cannot be fed.  We have fed them here for years, as have countless others, without issue.

So…I’m going with “feed them”.  Why?  Cause they’re GOOD!  grapes

Look for grapes that are firm and a bright green.  Stay away from those with blemishes, or those that are soft and brown.  Grapes also freeze well, so when you get them home, portion them out and pop them in freezer ziplocs.

Sometimes, I leave the grapes whole, other times I cut them in half or even into quarters.  I have some gliders who absolutely LOVE to grab a whole grape and dive in.  Others won’t touch them unless they are cut, so they can grab and run into a corner to eat.  You decide what’s best for your glider, but these will be a GRAPE addition to your nightly dinners!  🙂