Showing posts with label tangelo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tangelo. Show all posts

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Boost Your Health With Fruits in Season

Whenever possible, choose the freshest fruit you can get. Studies suggest that, for many kinds of fruits and vegetables, the more time passes from when they were picked until you eat them, the less nutritional value they retain. While refrigeration will slow the nutrition decay for some fruits and vegetables, it cannot be stopped. One good example is green beans. Studies show that their nutritional value wanes considerably after five days from the vine. And kale’s decay rate is even more startling.  In a 2007 study, The Effect of Cold Storage on Bioactive Compounds in Curly Kale, scientists discovered that the nutritional vitamin C content of refrigerated kale after six weeks was 600 percent less than freshly-picked kale.

fruit recipes
Kumquats are a tasty winter fruit.
Freshness is one of the best reasons for selecting local foods; a locally grown fruit or vegetable is much more likely to have been recently picked. Buying your fruits and vegetables locally increases the likelihood that they have been ripened while still attached to the plant. Such vine-ripened foods are often much higher in nutritional content than foods that were picked earlier, as is often the case when foods are grown far from your market, because ripe fruits and vegetables are too fragile to make the long trip. 
In a perfect world, you would pick the fruit and use it immediately. That’s possible for very few of us, unfortunately, as most Americans no longer grow their own foods and more of us than ever are city dwellers, where even our neighbors may not grow food during warmer seasons.

And then comes winter – is it possible to enjoy vitamin-rich healthy fruits in winter? Fortunately, yes, if you make a few strategic adjustments to your buying habits and fruit selection.

Winter fruits

Many citrus fruits naturally ripen
in winter.
Taking advantage of local resources for fresh fruits and veggies is trickier in winter, but absolutely possible, if you choose wisely. Some foods are known as cold weather crops, – those which naturally ripen in winter. Plus, farmers these days use such things as hoop houses or other ways to extend the natural growing season far beyond what the local weather would allow otherwise. Finally, consider choosing a tried-and-true way of enjoying vegetables beyond the Fall by selecting storage vegetables – those which store well without going bad. This includes root vegetables such as cabbage or potato.
Winter time fruits are available locally, depending on where you live. Here are some that may be available to you locally:
  • CLEMENTINES – a small, sweet orange available fresh in many areas of the U.S. from December until Spring.
  • GRAPEFRUIT – if you live in the state of Texas, California, Florida, or Arizona, it comes into season in the heart of winter.
  • KIWIS – in temperate areas, they can be fresh-harvested winter through Spring.
  • KUMQUATS - often eaten raw and whole, they have a sweet rind and sour center throughout winter.
  • LEMONS – often tastiest when harvested in winter or spring.
  • MANDARINS small citrus fruit also known as the Christmas orange, peak season is December.
  • ORANGES different varieties ripen at different times, but as a winter fruit, you can't go wrong with this vitamin C packed citrus.
  • PEARS different varieties are in season from late summer through early spring.
  • PERSIMMONS – catch ‘em quick – they ripen between Autumn and early winter.
  • TANGERINES in season from October through April.

Where to find in-season fresh fruits

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting the freshest of fresh picks is to buy from local sources. And unless you've got a fruit or vegetable farmer living next door, your best resource is your nearest farmers market.
If you’re not sure where your local farmer’s markets are, you’re in luck, thanks to the Internet. Here are two great resources for locating farmers’ markets in your area, or anywhere you may be traveling to in the U.S.


The Local Harvest site focuses on helping you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainable grown food in your area.  Local harvest provides two ways to search: either by clicking on their interactive map of the U.S. to zoom into your area, or a more traditional search engine. The latter option allows you to zero in on just farmers’ markets and even on a specific fruit or vegetable, using the product search box:
Farmers' market search options available at Local Harvest

The USDA National Farmers Market Directory 

This federal site is designed to provide members of the public with convenient access to information about U.S. farmers markets. Its listing includes locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, their website address, if any, and accepted forms of payment. You can search by zip code.  To hone your search even better, go to the Products Available tab and select Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:
lime fruits
USDA Farmers' Market database, with the option to filter search by fruit

In-season fruit recipes

Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may be able to enjoy one of the following in-season fresh fruit recipes, from Food Fit (From the HealthCentral Network), incorporating fun options, such as tangelo, blood orange, pomelo, and lime fruits:

For a full list of fruits by season, see the seasonal fruits charts at Fruits InfoFood Fit  provides a detailed list of winter fruits and vegetables. And remember: fresher is better!

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer