Fruits of Winter

Usually when you think of winter foods, fresh fruit isn’t exactly the first thing to pop into your mind. Cold weather tends to put the kibosh on a lot of the fresh, seasonal fruits that grace our tables and restaurant menus when the weather is warmer, and fruit out of season doesn’t tend to be particularly yummy. Fortunately for all you fresh food lovers out there, wintertime has its own crop of delicious fruits for the picking…if you know what to look for! Here are a few of the more unique fruits out there that thrive in the winter season!

Kumquats

Image courtesy chefkelly.com

These tasty little fruits are chockablock full of antioxidants, which are contained mainly in their edible, tasty skin. The season for this sweet and sour treat peaks between November and March, and popular uses include using them in preserves, slicing them and adding them to salads, and using them as an increasingly popular cocktail garnish! When you head to the store to grab a few, look for kumquats that are firm and bright orange in color — ripe kumquats will last 2-3 days at room temperature and up to 2 weeks in the fridge. And for those of you who might not be sure where to begin, this kumquat marmalade jam recipe from whiteonricecouple.com looks completely delicious, especially when it’s paired with some crackers and brie!

Persimmons

Image courtesy horseandbuggyproduce.com

At first glance, persimmons look remarkably like slightly unripe vine tomatoes, but if you slice into a fully ripe fruit, you’ll find a very sweet, mild pulp with a soft texture. In season between November and March, fully ripe persimmons will often have a texture akin to pudding, so one of the better ways to eat them if they’re ripe is to slide off their tops and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Persimmons can be used in a wide variety of ways aside from eating them plain, including pies, cookies, cakes, puddings, and even curries, so feel free to be a bit adventurous when you’re thinking of ways to use this winter fruit! As for me, this persimmon pudding recipe from allrecipes.com is calling my name…

Blood Oranges

Image courtesy blog.golbsalt.com

Blood oranges are one of my favorite winter fruits not only for their striking appearance, but for their delicious citrus/raspberry-like taste. Blood orange season runs from December to March in the United States, and some favorite uses for this wintertime fruit include putting them atop fresh salads, using them in salsas, incorporating them into vinaigrettes, and using their juice for a fun twist on a mimosa! This delicious blood orange cheesecake recipe from marthastewart.com is looking like it’ll be added to my favorites collection soon as well. Yummy!

Satsumas

Image courtesy cashmereandroses.com

Continuing the citrus train, satsumas are one of the most popular winter fruits, and with good reason! I’ve seen this sweet, juicy fruit used in recipes ranging from citrus vinaigrettes to tapenades to cakes to cocktails, but I have to say my favorite way to eat them is to just peel and eat them straight-up (although this satsuma mojito recipe from chow.com also looks pretty darn tasty). The milder winters in California, and coastal Louisiana and Alabama allow this fruit to flourish in the colder months of the year, and be sure to eat them fast once you buy them — they’re at their best within 4-5 days of purchase.

Hope you’ve all been inspired to head out and try one (or more) of these fresh winter fruits!