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New peanut butters, lychees. . .freeze the ginger

Jif peanut butter is now coming in spiffy flavors, like Berry Blend

By July, Procter & Gamble's Jif peanut butter should be available in three new varieties. Jif Smooth Sensations include Chocolate Silk, Apple Cinnamon and Berry Blend.Enjoy any and all with toasted bagels, waffles, rolled up in microwaved flour tortillas, as a dip for pretzels or animal crackers. Celery sticks are delightful with the Berry Blend. Apple slices are a natural dipper for Apple Cinnamon, not to mention graham crackers.

This national rollout follows successful test marketing in Grand Junction, Colo., and Midland, Texas.

The flavored nut butter is packaged in 14-ounce, wide-mouth jars, all the better for dipping. Retail prices for each are expected to be about $2.30. (Regular Jif is the No. 1-selling brand of peanut butter in America.)

Fresh lychee fruit

Canned lychee fruits have been peeled, so they resemble large, white, peeled grapes. But fresh lychee is covered with a tough, bumpy skin that's red to brown. It hides the tender, milky white flesh inside. A favorite of Asians, lychee fruit is very sweet, but rather an acquired taste.

Your chance to have fresh lychee should last from the end of May through August. According to Frieda's, an importer of tropical and exotic produce in Los Angeles, the fruit is available from Mexico until mid-July, then from Israel until September.

Botanical detail

Fresh ginger is a lovely seasoning to keep on hand in the freezer. Buy a "hand," which is what they call a many-branched piece, wrap in plastic wrap or a bag, then foil and freeze.

Whenever you want to add some ginger, take the large piece from the freezer and grate some off. Peel the light brown thin skin from the zone you're grating, as necessary. Return the larger piece to the freezer.

Joyce Rosencrans is living editor of the Cincinnati Post.)