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Winter Fruit and Vegetables: Recipes and Tips

Give your cold-weather menus a kick with interesting winter fruits and veggies.


Storage Tip: The juiciest oranges will feel heavy for their size. Store at room temperature for about one week or refrigerate for up to three weeks.

Prep Tip: If you need the zest (outer peel) for a recipe, use the zester before you cut the orange. Oranges can be peeled first, then separated into segments. Or cut them into wedges and then cut the peel away.

Cooking Tip: Eat as a snack or use as an ingredient in salads or desserts or cooked into sauces or preserves.


Pear (Fall/winter months for most varieties)

Nutrition Tip: One pear (D'Anjou type) contains 5 grams of fiber (mostly insoluble), and 11% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

Storage Tip: If your pears are perfectly ripe and you aren't ready to serve them, keep them in the refrigerator to help suspend further ripening.

Prep Tip: Pears go from ripe to overripe very quickly at room temperature, so they are often sold hard. Let them ripen at room temperature for a couple of days before serving. They're ripe when they give in to gentle pressure at the neck. To serve, cut in quarters and remove the core and stem. The skin is usually tender, and can be included in most recipes.

Cooking Tip: They're great raw as a snack (try them with a delicate cheese). Some crisps and other dessert recipes call for pears. They work well in cooked dishes. They have a more delicate texture and sweeter taste than apples, and may require a bit less cooking time and sweetening.


Persimmon (October-December)

Nutrition Tip: One Japanese persimmon (2.5-inch diameter) contains 6 grams of fiber (mostly insoluble) and 13% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B6, 17% of vitamin C, and 52% of vitamin A.

Storage Tip: The heart-shaped persimmon (Hachiya variety) needs to be fully ripened with a jelly-like texture. But the tomato-shaped Fuyu variety can be eaten either when apple-like firm or softened slightly.

Prep Tip: For the Hachiya, the soft pulp can be scooped out once the fruit is cut in half. The Fuyu type can be eaten sliced or chopped.

Cooking Tip: Add the firmer-textured type chopped or sliced to salads and other cold dishes. Use a puree of the softer variety as a replacement for half of butter/margarine or as a featured ingredient to cookies, quick bread, muffins, or cakes.


Pomegranate (October-December)

Nutrition Tip: One pomegranate contains 1 gram fiber (mostly insoluble fiber) and 12% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium.

Storage Tip: Store the whole fruit at room temperature for up to one week, or refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Prep Tip: The challenge with pomegranates is getting to the seeds without splattering the bright red juice all over yourself. To remove the seeds with no splatter, partially fill a deep bowl with water. Underwater, cut the pomegranate into quarters, then gently nudge the seeds loose. The seeds will float, so you can easily lift them out of the bowl with a slotted spoon or your hands.

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