Who doesn't like a great piece of juicy ripe fruit; like when you bite into that perfectly ripe pear and the juice starts running down your chin? Or, that Clementine that is oh so sweet that you grab another and another. There is a bounty of colorful winter fruits for snacking on or to perk up your smoothies, salads, and recipes. What Fruits Are In Season, I bet you can guess.
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While these fruits do overlap with other seasons, their main season is winter. Winter fruits are bright, colorful, and super nutritious.
Why eat seasonal produce?
- Eating fruit that is in season offers you the best selection of fresh and naturally ripened produce that is at its peak for eating.
- Most fruit is available all year long but eating seasonally guarantees you get the best the fruit has to offer in flavor, texture, and nutrition.
- Buying fruit that is in season is less expensive because there is more of it.
- Buying fruit from your local farmer allows you to buy or pick fruit at its peak of ripeness. Plus buying local supports farmers in your area.
December and January are the months for citrus fruits
- Grapefruit - red, pink, and white and Pomelos - this super nutritious fruit has the most water of any fruit. Pick the heaviest of these fruits for the best tasting since there will be more sugar to get a sweeter fruit.
- Lemons - did you know lemons originated from limes? There are 25 varieties of lemons but the Eureka, Lisbon, and the sweeter Meyer lemons with their floral flavor, are the most popular and are all highly nutritious.
- Look for thin-skinned lemons for a juicier fruit.
- Even though you can buy lemons all year long they are at their best in the winter months.
- Make sure to check out this helpful post on how to freeze lemons.
- Limes - limes have the most acid of any fruit and are valued for their flavoring from the juice and the zest. Try adding lime juice to drinks and the juice and zest to Asian, Mexican, and Indian dishes.
- Oranges - Cara Cara, Blood Oranges, and Navel Oranges are all prized for Vitamin C and minerals. Eat all types of oranges during their peak season from December to April for the sweetest and juiciest fruits. Oranges have so many uses.
- Oranges make the best snack ever. Just peel and eat!
- Make orange juice to brighten your morning.
- Zest the peel and add to all kinds of baked goods and recipes.
- Make candied orange peel for a sweet dessert.
- Homemade orange marmalade is easy to make.
- Mandarins - Sumo, Satsuma, Clementines, Tangelos, Tangerines - Think Snack!!!! These easy-to-peel citruses are perfect as a take-along snack, tuck a couple in your lunch box. These super-sweet Mandarins are kid-friendly too!
- Kumquats - I know you are asking what is a kumquat? These tiny orange-colored fruits are about the size of an olive and are slightly sour. You can even eat the whole kumquat, or we love to slice them and add them to salads.
The Colors of Citrus
These beautiful tart ruby red fruits are always a favorite in winter baking for both sweet and savory recipes, or adding to salads. Cranberries are harvested in late September and are conveniently available for holiday baking. This Cranberry Spice Bread is full of fresh berries and is always a favorite for the holidays, and this Orange Cranberry Sauce makes a great side with your turkey.
Make sure to buy extra bags and freeze them for later.
When are pears in season?
You can start buying seasonal pears in late September through January. And true, pears can be bought all year long, but when bought in season they are the best.
- Red D'Anjou Pears - these sweet dark red pears are delicious eaten either firm or soft, try them in salads or on a cheeseboard.
- Bosc Pears - have that beautiful long neck and bronzy cinnamon color with a crisp texture. These pears are great poached and baked and offer a spicey honey flavor.
- D'Anjou Pears - a true winter pear with the familiar green skin that does not change color as it ripens. This is one of the best snacking pears for its wonderful citrus flavor and juiciness.
Make sure to bake these Pear Appetizers for your next get-together. They are so easy to make with puff pastry for a delicious bite-sized nibble.
This unique orange-colored or yellow fruit is round with a pointy end and is available from October through January. The Fuyu and Hachiya are two common varieties and are a prized fruit since you can only get them during the winter.
The hachiya persimmon is orangish-red in color. This fruit starts out being very hard and then ripens to an almost jelly-like texture that is deliciously juicy and tastes similar to an apricot or peach. Just make sure they are very ripe when you eat them.
The fuyu persimmon has more of yellowish color and is a bit smaller. Eat this persimmon when it is firm and crisp, you will enjoy that pear-like flavor, and this variety of best for cooking and baking.
Late Season Apples in December and January
These types of apples are picked in the fall but will stay fresh by keeping them at very cool temperatures all through the winter. These apples are perfect for baking and we love them in this Apple Pecan Tart Recipe, and for breakfast too when we make this creamy Apple Cranberry Oatmeal.
- Braeburn Apples - This is an all-around great apple for eating, baking, or making applesauce. Look for the red, yellow and orange splotched skins in this medium-sized slightly sweet, and slightly tart fragrant apple.
- Cortland Apples - These bright red apples from New York are a variety of Macintosh apples that are great baking apples and also delicious for salads and cheese boards. Cortlands have dense flesh and do not turn brown when cut, however, they should be eaten or used soon after picking as they do not keep well.
- Fuji Apples - This is one of the largest apple varieties originating in Japan and was brought to the stores in 1962. This sweet and very crispy apple has a dense flesh that stores for a long time and is one of the most popular varieties of apples worldwide.
- Honeycrisp Apples - this fairly new apple variety was developed in Minnesota and hit the stores in 1991 and has gained popularity. Honeycrisps have a firm texture and are both sweet and tart which makes them a perfect eating apple. This apple retains its beautiful golden/red color and stores well.
- Pink Lady Apples - the first apple called by its branded name and its variety name is Cripps Pink. This Australian apple was developed in the 1970s. In order to obtain the classic Pink Lady Apple coloring, these apples need to grow in a warm climate with a long growing season.
- Rome Beauty Apples - these large round apples have a tough red skin that makes great baking apples since they hold their shape well. Bite into this crisp apple that has a whitish-green flesh and a juicy and slightly tart flavor for some wonderful flavor. Rome Beauty apples are also known as Rome Reds
- York Apples - This long-time favorite lopsided apple from Pennsylvania is crispy and sweet. York apples make great-tasting pies or applesauce.
These heavily seeded fruits are available from October through January and are perfect for adding to all kinds of desserts and savory dishes. We love this Pomegranate Fruit Salad all through the winter for a colorful and healthy salad. The pomegranate arils (the seeds) can also be crushed into a very nutritious juice.
Winter Fruit Bowl
Cranberries, Oranges and Pomegranates
Displaying fruit on the counter adds a colorful statement and plus makes it easy to grab. Here's a great 2-tiered fruit basket that will show off your beautiful fruit.
Try these One Hot Oven recipes using winter fruits
- Mandarin Orange Creme Caramel
- Mandarin Orange Bundt Cake
- Lemon Ricotta Muffins
- Lemon Lime Pie
- Apple Cranberry Galette
Need some helpful fruit kitchen gadgets?
To get the juice out of citrus there are three types of reamers, a handheld citrus reamer, this tool is perfect for quickly adding citrus juice to a recipe. A tabletop reamer works well when juicing a couple of pieces of fruit, and an electric citrus juicer is perfect for those batches of lemonade.
Living in California offers us an amazing variety of fruit. The lemons and grapefruit shown are from my backyard trees. It is so nice to just walk out my door and pick fruit. The apples and pears came from local orchards in Apple Hill in Camino, California.
There are so many amazing fruits grown worldwide with different growing seasons. Make sure to check what fruits are seasonally available where you live and visit your local orchard or farmer's markets.
Great recipes to make
First Published: Jan. 26, 2018... Last Updated: January 3, 2023
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory family-friendly recipes for your cooking and baking inspiration.