More and more, the winter sun (or lack of it) increases and brightens, rising a little bit earlier and lingering a little bit longer. With Daylight Saving Time on the horizon, the cold, dark days of winter will soon yield to a more user-friendly climate where the outdoors are no longer a deterrent, but a destination.
Until the long rays of summer saturate our cells, however, and even after, our need for vitamin D — sometimes called the sun’s vitamin — from the foods we eat (fish, eggs, dairy) remains high. Other key vitamins and antioxidants our bodies require, such as B, C, E, and K, can be obtained from fresh produce, and one way to fulfill the daily requirement and pique our palates is through a hearty helping of winter fruit.
Though popular summer produce like melons and berries readily come to mind when creating healthful salads, there’s no need to open cans just because the snow is falling. Winter fruit, including kiwi, grapefruit, oranges and clementines (the latter of which is less acidic), bananas, pineapples, pomegranates, cranberries, pears, and crisp apples, make juicy, fiber-filled and spectacular salads, limited only by one’s imagination. Add ingredients such as fresh mint leaves, lime juice, shredded coconut, honey, and nuts, and a green light shines on your road to healthy eating.
Try these sparkling winter fruit medleys for healthful and tasty variety:
Winter Mint Fruit Salad
1 large or 2 small grapefruits
1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup shredded coconut
lime juice to taste
honey to taste
1/2 cup whole or halved walnuts or pecans
Cube fruit and toss with mint leaves and shredded coconut. Add lime juice and honey to taste. Reserve walnuts or pecans until serving time to maintain crunch, sprinkling on salad at serving time.
Chopped Winter Fruit ‘n Spice Salad
1 red apple, chopped
1 green apple, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1/2 pineapple, chopped
2 bananas, sliced
1 pomegranate, seeds removed and chopped
1 cup red or green grapes, if in season, chopped
honey to taste
cinnamon to taste
nutmeg to taste
plain or vanilla yogurt
Combine and chill well. Serve with plain or vanilla yogurt, if desired.