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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.

Cooking Tip: It's "in" to use colorful pomegranate seeds as a garnish for salads, meat dishes, and desserts. Use the juice to make sorbets, sauces, smoothies, and fruit juice blends.

Quince (September-December

Nutrition Tip: One quince contains 2 grams of fiber (mostly insoluble), and 18% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

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