For the health of it

0 comments, Monday, January 14th, 2013, by Melissa Lindsey, in Life
There are slim pickings in the fresh fruit aisle this time of year. Yes, you can still find berries and melons just like in the summer, but now in winter these summer-season fruits are a drab representation of what they were in the warmer months. Knowing which fruits are in season is important so you can avoid eating fruit that has been shipped around the world by the time it reaches your local grocery store.

Kumquats are a great winter fruit. They are most commonly grown in California and Florida and peak between November and March. These olive-sized citrus fruits are full of disease-fighting antioxidants, which are contained in their sweet, edible skin. A serving of five kumquats contains one-fifth of your daily fiber needs and a healthy dose of potassium. This versatile fruit can be diced and tossed into a salad or used as a fun replacement for orange zest.

orangesOranges are another citrus fruit abundant this time of year. They are loaded with vitamin C, which helps fight off illness and skin dehydration. The best oranges are plump and free of blemishes or bruises. As the season wears on, there will more varieties of oranges available, such as cara cara and blood oranges. Both of these varieties are sweet and great on their own or added to a scrumptious dessert.

Another popular antioxidant-rich fruit time of year is the pomegranate. The juice contains more antioxidants than the seeds, but the seeds are a great source of fiber and polyunsaturated heart-healthy oil. They are in season from September to February and are most commonly found in California and Arizona.

Similar to oranges, grapefruits are a great source of vitamin C and fiber. They also boost metabolism and aid in weight loss due to high levels of fat-burning enzymes, high water content and low sodium. A medium-sized grapefruit contains only 120 calories. Grapefruits coming from Arizona and California are in season between January and June, but in Florida and Texas, the peak season is between October and June.

These fruits are delicious snacks by themselves and are great additions to sweet desserts and savory dishes.

Orange Dream Fruit Salad

3 cups seeded, peeled and chopped mangos

4 cups seeded, peeled and chopped navel oranges

3 cups seedless grapes

2 eight-ounce, orange-flavored yogurts

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

2 cups fresh pomegranate seeds

In a large bowl, combine the mangos, oranges and grapes. In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt and poppy seeds. Gently stir yogurt mixture into the fruit mixture until combined. Cover and chill up to six hours. Stir in the pomegranate seeds just before serving. Makes 25 servings.

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