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Winter Fruits and Vegetables Guide

Find our what’s best in the produce section this season.

WebMD Feature from "EatingWell"

Winter Fruits and Vegetables GuideColorful grapefruit, oranges, sweet potatoes and winter squash add flavor and nutrients to winter dishes. Round out a meal with a side of vitamin-rich winter squash or sweet potatoes. For an immune-boosting snack or dessert, grab a juicy orange or grapefruit. This handy guide offers information on picking the best winter produce and what it offers nutritionally.

Grapefruit

Sweet, tart and tangy, grapefruit are in their prime during the winter. White grapefruit, yellow-skinned with pale buff to yellow flesh, are bittersweet with a pleasant acidity, but may not be suited to all tastes. Red blush or ruby varieties, with light pink to deep red flesh, are naturally sweeter and juicier.

What You Get: Grapefruit are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. They also have some fiber and folate. Pink and red varieties also contain some of the antioxidant lycopene.

Shopping Tips: Look for richly colored grapefruit with smooth, firm skin free of blemishes. Choose fruit that yield only slightly to firm hand pressure.

Storage Tip: Grapefruit can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 4 weeks or in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks.

Oranges

Most varieties of oranges are available year-round, but they’re at their best in the winter. To get the most out of your orange, grate the zest to add a splash of flavor and color to your dishes.

What You Get: Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as a good source of fiber, folate, thiamin and calcium.

Shopping Tips: Look for richly colored oranges with smooth, firm skin free of blemishes and scars. A little bit of green is OK and does not necessarily indicate an immature fruit. Choose fruit that yield only slightly to firm hand pressure.

Storage Tip: Oranges can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Sweet Potatoes

A nutritional powerhouse, the sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato. And don’t call it a yam—it’s not even the same species!

What you get: A 4-ounce serving of sweet potato (about 1/2 cup) provides 390% daily value (DV) of vitamin A, 40% DV of vitamin C, 18% DV of fiber and 13% DV of potassium, plus vitamin E, iron, magnesium and phytochemicals, such as beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Shopping Tips: Choose sweet potatoes with taut, papery skins and tapered ends. The intensity of the orange color varies in different cultivars of sweet potato—darker colors are higher in beneficial carotenoids.

Storage Tips: Sweet potatoes should never be refrigerated. Store them in a cool, dark place with good air circulation, to discourage softening, sprouting and spoiling. If potatoes begin to sprout during storage but are still firm, remove the sprouts and any eyes that are beginning to sprout before eating. Properly stored, sweet potatoes will keep 10 to 12 weeks.

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