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The holidays are here with celebrations in full swing.  While sugar plums and candy canes may symbolize this special time of year, the winter holidays wouldn’t be as festive without the fruits of the season.

Pear

While summer brings a bounty of berries and an abundance of apples is harvested in the fall, nothing compares to a juicy ripe pear or a refreshing tart grapefruit.  Not only do these natural beauties taste good but they pack a powerhouse of nutrients as well. A half of a grapefruit has only 52 calories, 2 grams of fiber and has 64% daily value of vitamin C.    One cup of whole cranberries has 46 calories and 4.6 grams of fiber while a half-cup of pomegranate arils (seed/juice sacs) weighs in with 72 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber.  A medium-sized pear has only 102 calories but is an excellent source of fiber with 6 grams and is also a good source of vitamin C.

Winter fruit also adds color and pizzazz to any holiday dish.  Here are some ideas for bringing out the star quality in fruit:

  • Winter jewel salad – combine colorful fruits such as blood orange sections, pear slices, and seeded kumquats in a clear glass bowl and sprinkle with sliced pomegranate arils.
  • Cake topping – cook 2 parts fresh cranberries in a pan with 1 part water, a little sugar and a touch of cinnamon until mixture boils and cranberries pop and soften. Pour over sliced pound cake.
  • Add a touch of elegance to brunch with pink grapefruit. Sprinkle light brown sugar on pink grapefruit halves and broil until they are a light golden color.
  • Winter fruit compote – combine cubed pear, rhubarb and apples with cinnamon, grated orange peel and a little orange juice in a pan and simmer until softened. Serve hot or cold.
  • Sprinkle pomegranate arils on a tossed greens or spinach salad to add color and crunch.
  • Don’t forget dried fruits! They can be added to a cheese platter or be mixed with nuts for a healthy snack.
  • Add some sparkle to your holiday beverages with cranberry or pomegranate juice.
  • A simple basket or bowl of fruit is festive and adds color to any table.

Since these fruits are in season, they will be more affordable at the grocery store.  However, don’t hesitate to substitute canned fruit for fresh if necessary.  Look for fruits that are packed in water or light syrup to reduce added sugar.  Canned fruits can also be rinsed in cold water to dilute the packing liquid.

Written by:  Jenny Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewed by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.

Source(s):  Fruits and Veggies: More Matters; Entertaining and Healthy Cooking with Fruits and Veggies:  Holidays 2015.

American Institute for Cancer Research, Holiday Recipes from AICR.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits.

 

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